Should Marijuana Be Legalized? The controversy of legalizing marijuana has been raging for quite a while in America. From some people pushing it for medical purposes to pott-heads just wanting to get high legally. Marijuana has been used for years as a popular drug for people who want to get a high. All this time it has been illegal and now it looks as if the drug may become legal. There has been heated debate by many sides giving there opinion in the issue. These people are not only left wing liberals either.
Richard Brookhiser, a National Review Senior editor is openly supportive of medical marijuana yet extremely conservative in his writing for National Review (Brookhiser 27). He is for medical marijuana since he used it in his battle with testicular cancer. He says I turned to [marijuana] when I got cancer because marijuana gives healthy people an appetite, and prevents people who are nauseated from throwing up. (Brookhiser 27) Cancer patients are not the only benefactors from the appetite enhancer in marijuana, but so are any other nauseous people. Arizona and California have already passed a law allowing marijuana to be used as a medicinal drug. Fifty Six percent of the California voters voted for this law. We’ve sent a message to Washington, says Dennis Peron. They’ve had 25 years of this drug was, and they’ve only made things worse. (Simmons 111) The Arizona proposition garnished an even wider margin of separation between the fore’s an against in a sixty five percent support tally. Ethan Nadelmann insists that these propositions are not about legalization or decriminalization. They’re about initiating some non radical, commonsense approaches to drug policy.
General Barry McCaffery disagrees saying, I don’t think this was a medical issue from the start. (Simmons 111) He also calls the new laws, a tremendous tragedy. The federal government has a hard time letting the California/Arizona act stand. Marijuana is a schedule one drug, and has no medicinal purpose. Cocaine and morphine on the other hand are schedule two and do have medicinal value. Gen.
McCafferey says a physician who tries to prescribe a schedule one drug with or without the referendums in California or Arizona, is subject to prosecution under federal law. (Simmons112) This quote has come under great duress since the DEA is the only group which can arrest someone who uses pot and slap someone with a petty misdemeanor. People will not care if they run the risk of a misdemeanor and likely use the drug anyway. Dennis Peron, one of the leading activists of marijuana legalization, has devoted twenty years to the legalization of marijuana. He says that when friend Jonathan West, developed AIDS, Dennis saw the potential uses for medical marijuana when he saw Jonathan feel better after smoking weed. (Rist and Harrison 75-76) Peron fought wildly to pass a bill to legalize medicinal marijuana.
Any other drug that eased nausea, increased appetite, and reduced pain, would be prescribed everywhere. says Peron. (Rist and Harrison 75-76) A Harvard Medical psychiatrist calls the drug a wonder drug for pain, nausea, and appetite. However, there are many cons to the pros in prescribing marijuana for nausea and pain. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the active drug in marijuana used to help relieve nausea in cancer patients. This THC has been proven to lower testosterone in the blood stream for men.
(Angier 15) This is not a major concern to full grown men because the level of testosterone quickly rises back after the smoker is done smoking. However, it may be harmful to adolescent boys. In adolescence, a boy’s body is going through many changes–it grows taller, it gets hairier, the voice deepens–and these changes are controlled by testosterone. Marijuana could very well block the normal growth process. says Carol Smith, of the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethsheda Maryland.
Columbia university did a study on 16 men who smoked five to fifteen joints a day. After they finished smoking their sperm counts were counted. It was discovered that all of the men experienced a dip in sperm count for weeks after and had malformed sperm cells. This could cause some serious malformations in conceived children. Studies were done on female rhesus monkeys who have very similar body chemistry to human women.
The monkeys were injected with doses of THC. The menstrual cycles of the monkeys were greatly disrupted and some stopped ovulating altogether. Says Smith, Nothing we have ever tested including oral contraceptives, has as radical an effect on the menstrual cycle as marijuana does. The hormones in men and women are definitely thrown off by marijuana use. (Angier 15).
Another drug found in marijuana, is called cannabidiol, or CBD. This drug is used as an anti-epilepsy drug. It does not completely cure epilepsy, but in lab tests on rats, the frequency and severeness of the seizures were greatly reduced in all of the rats (Natalie Angier16). In studies done on humans at the Paulist School of medicine in Sao Paulo, Brazil, CBD greatly reduced the seizures in four out of eight people in the study. Even in large doses, CBD does not have psychoactive effect on the user. It is the most promising chemical yet discovered in marijuana.
says Mechoulam, If CBD works so well in epileptics, then it could work as well to cure chronic migraine–another neurological disorder. (Angier 16) If this drug is to be used, it is best to be used in pure form instead of in joint form so as not to risk lung cancer. With all of the controversy surrounding marijuana legalization, it will take quite a while to become legal in all fifty states for medicinal purposes. However with all of the supporters of marijuana it probably will become legal in a dozen or more states by 2005 says Rolling Stone. There are several pro’s and con’s to be weighed out over whether marijuana is a product which should be legal in a country that already has so many legal vices available to it. If the Food and Drug administration were to put some real tests up to show the value of marijuana it would be beneficial to people on both sides of the legalization lines.
Even though there have been people who could have benefited from the use of marijuana, there are several other people who would claim symptoms they did not have in order to purchase this drug in order to get a high. Legalization would also put a big chink in the DARE program and their say no to drugs campaign. It would tell kids, that it is all right to do some kind of drugs. Hope’s of legalizing the drug could be dashed if the Food an Drug Administration were able to prove that marijuana did have drastic side effects that drastically outweigh the advantages. The issue of the legalization of it will be a topic that will be argued over several times in the years to come. Outline I.
Thesis Statement A. What is Marijuana II. Different sides support A. Richard Brookhiser B. Tells some of the benefits of medical purposes III.Arizona and California passed medical bill A. Dennis Peron main supporter B.Gen.
McCaffey gives his views IV. Marijuana has no provable uses A. Gen. McCaffery threatens anyone who prescribes the drug B. DEA is the only group which can prosecute V. Dennis Peron is one of the leading activists A. Peron’s friend died of AIDS B.
Harvard psychiatrist cals it a wonder drug VI. Many cons to marijuana A. THC can cause problems in adolescent boys and any women 1. Could block the normal growth process B. Columbia University did a study of sperm count in dope smokers 2.
Possible malformations in children because of deformed sperm C. Womens bodies are seriously altered because of dope use VII. CBD is a good treatment for epilepsy A. Does not have psychoactive effect B. Best used in pill form VIII.
Ending Bibliography Works Cited The California Marijuana Vote. New Yorker 23 Dec 1996: 62+. Brookhiser, Richard. Pot Luck. National Review 11 Nov 1996: 27+ Simmons, Michael.
Give Pot a Chance. Rolling Stone 26 Dec 1996: 111+. Rist, Curtis and Harrison, Laird. Weed the People. People 21 Oct. 1996: 75+.
Funk and Wagnall’s Volume 23 Marijuana 1996 Baum, Dan. California’s Separate Peace. Rolling Stone 30 Oct. 1997: 43+ Brookhiser, Richard. Lost in the Weed. U.S.
News & World Report 3 Jan. 1997: 9 Buckley, William Legalization of Marijuana Long Overdue The Albuquerque Journal. Online. 8 June 1993. Government Essays.