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Marijuana has been illegal for almost sixty years and at no time have we successfully
rid the country of this drug. Right know marijuana is the third most popular recreational
drug, the first two being cigarettes and alcohol ( Working 1). This proves that
prohibition doesn t work and people know the difference between drugs that are really bad
for them and drugs that aren t that bad if used in moderation Our government is spending
millions a year on a fight that will never be won, maybe it is time for a change.
Marijuana was first used as an intoxicant in Central Asia around 3000 B.C. Marijuana
had a place in almost every countries culture. Greeks and Romans gave marijuana to
their guests to promote hilarity and enjoyment. In ancient India marijuana was considered
to be a gift from the gods. It was also believed to quicken the mind, prolong life, improve
judgment, lower fevers, induce sleep and cure dysentery (Fougeres 2).
Marijuana was introduced to the United States sixty years ago when Mexican laborers
came to America. It spread through the south and by the early 1920 s its use was
established in New Orleans. primarily amongst the poor and minority groups. Marijuana
was officially added to the United States pharmacopoeia in 1937. Its use was
recommended for a wide variety of disorders, especially as a mild sedative. About twenty
years after that it was made illegal, the last legal crop of marijuana was grown in
In recent years the use of marijuana has gone up in the United States which has
apparently created some social and health problems. But there is little agreement on
whether or not there is any magnitude to these problems, or any solutions to them. Right
now in the United States there are two general opinions about marijuana. One is that the
use of cannabis poses some extreme social, moral, and health dangers that must be
stamped out. The other opinion is that marijuana is not as bad as everyone thought it was
because there are some new studies that show its effects can be compared to alcohol and
cigarette use with favorable findings therefore it should be legalized.
The argument for keeping marijuana illegal is based on the premise that it is socially
and physically damaging. Some of the short term effects of its use are sleepiness,
impaired or reduced short term memory and the reduced ability to concentrate and
perform tasks like driving. It can also cause decreased social inhibitions, paranoia and
hallucinations (Facts Appendix I).
Drug are a life style with no redeeming values, they chip away at self esteem,
productivity and character. A person using any drug leads a life of deceit. They inevitably
hide their drug use from employers, family and friends lying to cover up their horrible
secret. It has nothing to do with whether or not marijuana is legal because drug use is a
The previous statements are marijuana propaganda. The behavior of drug users, that this
statement refers to, is addiction. People addicted to alcohol have the same problems, just
because someone uses a drug doesn t mean they are addicted to it. It is all a matter of
personality. Some people enjoy the effects of marijuana while others don t. Some people
like it too much, but it is like that for any drug. The fact is people who withdraw from
society and only want to sit around and drink or smoke pot all day are losers and they
were probably lazy and didn t have much motivation before they started with drugs. This
type of behavior is bad for society but what about people who, for instance. come home
from work and drink a couple of beers or smoke a joint. Are these people living a life of
deceit? Should they be considered a threat to society? Actually they already are. If a
police officer saw a person smoking marijuana in their home he/she would break the door
down and arrest that person. But they are not hurting anybody except maybe themselves.
They are simply enjoying themselves. The pursuit of happiness, is that so wrong? Some
studies show that marijuana causes paranoia. In the United States someone is busted for
marijuana every forty five seconds, isn t it obvious why they are paranoid (Working 2).
They don t want to get arrested and sent to jail. They could lose their job which could
ruin their life. Isn t it strange that the punishment for the crime is worse than the effects of
the drug itself.
The number one reason that marijuana should be legalized is that prohibition doesn t
work. It was proven with the prohibition of alcohol and it is being proven with marijuana
and all the other illegal drugs. Prohibition doesn t eliminate drug markets or drug use
instead it pushes them underground. This causes harsh consequences for society, such as
increased crime rates. That s right, the fact that marijuana is illegal actually increases
crime. It does this in several different ways. It prevents buyers and sellers of marijuana
from using the legal justice system to resolve disputes, so these people use violence
instead. Prohibition also diverts police from handling non-drug related crimes. Also
violent offenders are frequently released from prison early due to overcrowding because of
the drug war. Prohibition also means greater health risks for marijuana users because they
will consume it in the cheapest and most intoxicating way possible, which is smoking.
Smoking marijuana is worse for someone physically than when it is made into a drink or a
food. The physical effects are comparable to alcohol, so if marijuana was made legal it
would be as bad for people (Working 3).
Another down fall of prohibition is a lowered respect for the law. Under prohibition
millions of people sell and use marijuana with relatively little consequences. Right now
there are a lot of people getting high and selling marijuana, yet it is illegal. If marijuana is
illegal and people are breaking that law. why not break other laws when it is convenient.
Because they are already breaking a law and it is not hurting anything, this can cause
people to question other laws and the authority of government which is bad because our
government can t keep order without widespread compliance with the law (Miron 2).
Marijuana prohibition is also very costly to the United States because our country
spends billions of dollars a year to fight the drug war when they could be making billions
off the drug trade. Miron states if marijuana was legalized the United States government
could place a sin tax on marijuana and make money from people working in the drug trade
(2). Right now black market marijuana sales average a billion dollars a year which is all
tax free business. Isn t it time the country made these people give a little back to Uncle
Is marijuana really creating a problem for society, or is it the extremely dangerous and
highly addictive drugs like cocaine and heroin which are the problems. Clark comments
that many people feel that marijuana is a gateway drug which leads to further
experimentation and addiction (2). The majority of people who smoke marijuana started
smoking cigarettes before they smoked marijuana, does that make cigarettes a gateway
drug to marijuana. If marijuana is a gateway drug America needs to close the gate. Right
now people get their marijuana from drug dealers. What else can one obtain from drug
dealers, just about anything they want. If marijuana was legal people could purchase it at
a store. This would mean that people would no longer associate with the dealer to get
their marijuana (American 6). Out of sight, out of mind. Also people would associate the
fact that marijuana is legal and hard drugs are not, so hard drugs must be a lot worse for
It is obvious that marijuana is bad for you physically, but just how bad is it compared to
cigarettes and alcohol ?(see appendix I). After looking at these three tables ask yourself
which drug looks worse. Then try and figure out why drugs that are more damaging and
more addictive are legal. It doesn t seem right that it is legal to drink all you want in your
own home but you can t smoke marijuana if you choose to.
It has been proven that prohibition doesn t work and it actually makes marijuana worse
for people, it costs more and the penalties if you are caught with it are actually worse than
the effects of the drug itself (Stroup 11). Marijuana prohibition causes increased crime
rates, prison overcrowding, and unnecessary violence because drug dealers and buyers
can t use the court system to solve their differences. While it is obvious that marijuana is
bad for you when it is compared to other legal drugs it doesn t look that harmful. People
who can handle marijuana and know that there is a time and a place for everything, aren t
causing problems for the rest of society. Isn t it time that our government realizes the
error of its ways and changes this law for the benefit of society.
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