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Marijuana Should Be Legal Essay, Research Paper

Seven Leaves Aren’t Bad:

Marijuana Should Be Legal

Thesis: Should marijuana be legalized and can it be used in positive ways? In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act prohibited the use, sale, and cultivation of hemp/marijuana in the United States. Marijuana is a drug that is highly used through out the world. It comes from the cannabis plant. THC which stands for delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is the major psychoactive ingredient. Over sixty five million Americans today use marijuana. Today it is a lot stronger than how it used to be in the 1970’s because of careful cultivation. It can be smoked threw a pipe, joint, or it can even be used as an ingredient in food. Although the effect it has as an ingredient isn’t as strong as it would be if you smoked it. It all depends on how long the person smoking it holds in it their lungs. The more you hold it in the more the drug gets into your bloodstream. Marijuana is not just a drug to be used as to get “high” with. It is a drug that needs to become legal so it can help heal people with certain diseases and it can be useful for industrial reasons as well.

There are different feelings a person can have when you use marijuana. In low to moderate doses, marijuana typically creates a mild sense of euphoria, a sense of slowed time, a dreamy sort of self-absorption, and some impairment in thinking and communicating (Hales 491). Usually the sense of being “high” happens within thirty minutes and usually lasts about three

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hours. Sometimes when someone is new at smoking marijuana they can experience an anxiety attack. The immediate physical effects of marijuana include increased pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, dry mouth and throat, slowed reaction times, impaired motor skills, increase appetite, and diminished short-term memory (Hales 492). Some of these effects can help someone as unbelievable as it seems. If marijuana is more harmful to society than the laws, then the laws should be retained. If the laws are more harmful than the substance, the laws should be changed (Rosenthal 1).

Marijuana can reduce suffering for some illnesses out there today. A cancer patient by the name of Richard Brookhiser responded to the contention that marijuana has not allowed the necessary testing. He also rejected the argument that allowing sick people to use the drug would encourage people to use take the drug. “In November 1996, the voters of California and Arizona make it legal to use marijuana as a medicine. The Clinton administration said these actions were too rash. But for me, they came in the wrong states and four years too late. In 1992, my doctor in New York told me that I had metastasized testicular cancer, which required chemotherapy. To deal with the resulting nausea, I took legal antiemetic drugs, but after a while they didn’t work. Then, I turned to pot” (qtd. In Bender 149). Brookhiser had used marijuana to help him have cravings for food. When someone goes threw chemotherapy you lose your

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appetite and you are really nauseated. Marijuana can increase your appetite and help you want to eat your food.

Cancer patients are not the only sick people who get relief from smoking pot. It has a wide variety of therapeutic applications, and is frequently beneficial in treating many conditions. Some are people who have the AIDS virus, it can help them reduce the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the ailment itself and by treatment with AZT and other medicines. It can help people with Asthma. Several studies have shown that THC reacts as a bronchodilator and reverses bronchial constriction. Although conventional bronchodilators work faster, THC has been shown to last longer and with considerable less risk (Rosenthal 68). New evidence has shown that marijuana is an autoimmune modulator in arthritis and other autoimmune diseases. Marijuana can alleviate the debilitating, chronic pain caused by myriad disorders and injuries. Marijuana has been shown to help gently and naturally for people with depression and other mood disorders. In contrast, conventional antidepressant drugs like lithium, tricyclics, and MAO inhibitors have serious health risks and side effects (Rosenthal 68). Marijuana is used to prevent both grande mal and other epileptic seizures in some patients. Other patients find that they can reduce dosage of other medications while using cannabis (Rosenthal 68). In Glaucoma marijuana can reduce intracular, alleviating pain and slowing (and sometimes stopping) the progress of the condition (Rosenthal

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69). Other things like labor pains, menstrual cramps, muscle spasms and migraine headaches are all things that marijuana can help alleviate the pain. Many paraplegics and quadriplegics have discovered that cannabis not only relieves their pain more safely than opiates, but also suppresses their muscle twitches and tremors. Insomnia is a disorder where you have serious trouble sleeping. Researches have shown that pot can help people sleep, with out side effects or tolerance problems of other hypnotics. Cannanbidiol is the active ingredient in pot, which induces sleep. In 1988, Judge Francis Young of the DEA found marijuana to be “the safest therapeutic substance know to man” and urged its reclassification and distribution for medical uses.

Marijuana prohibition depends on the drug’s demonization. In the name of sustaining the drug war, we are taught that marijuana is lethal, carcinogenic and addictive. While marijuana has its risks, especially for children, none of this is true. Neither is it most half the oncologists who answered a Harvard Medical school survey said they would prescribe marijuana for relief of chemotherapy side effects where it was legal, and most had already recommended it to their patients (Bender 161).

Cannabis and hemp are the same. “Marijuana” was the Mexican name given to cannabis. Cannabis was first cultivated in China around 4000 B.C. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp. Washington, our first president, declared, “Make the most of the hemp seed. Sow it everywhere.” Hemp seed is nature’s

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perfect food. The oil from hemp seeds has the highest percentage of essential fatty acids and the lowest percentage of saturated fats (Potter 29). Sterilized hemp seed is commonly sold as bird seed (Potter 95). It is really too bad that people didn’t take Washington’s wisdom of advice. Since hemp was made illegal, petrochemicals came to dominance. Instead of natural hemp, we turned plastics and polyester made from mostly foreign oil (Rosenthal 60). So many trees are cut down each year and used for paper. Hemp only takes about six months to reach maturity, is a fine substitute for wood pulp (Rosenthal 60). Industrial hemp is very clean and so easy to grow. It is one of the most environmentally sound sources of industrial fiber in the world (Rosenthal 61). Hemp fabrics are far stronger and more resistant to mold than any other natural fiber. Builders in France and Germany use hemp for construction material, replacing dry wall and plywood (Rosenthal 63). In 1991 the U.S. hemp industry grossed about five million. In 1995 it was a fifty million industry. There are already several clothing industries that are producing hemp clothing and shoes. There are so many other things that marijuana can be used for and help.

Marijuana would also be a huge help in the economy as well. “Despite the fact that there is no evidence that pot has ever caused a single death and that there is clear evidence that cannabis is actually useful in treating certain medical conditions, the federal government continues to spend millions of

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dollars each year to eradicate plants and harass users. In 1992, according to the FBI, 535,000 people were arrested for possession, sale, or manufacture of marijuana. In six cases, life sentences were imposed” (qtd. In Rosenthal 37). Marijuana prohibition is costing taxpayers billions each year in enforcement costs. It is also costing us billions of dollars in missed opportunities in taxes, profits, and wages. If marijuana were legalized, probably the first economic effect to be felt would be a significant drop in price because of elimination of the risk factor incidental to contraband substances (Rosenthal 38). Take the example of when alcohol prohibition was ended. The cost of liquor plummeted to about a third of its black market cost.

The second effect it would have on the economy would likely be greater availability of supply, and so increased usage. Using a conservative fifty percent reduction in marijuana prices to the consumer and a relatively small increase in amount bought, the marijuana industry could gross fifty to fifty-three billion year (Rosenthal 40). The third effect would be a new tax revenue stream for governments. Just take a look at the experience with the vice taxes on cigarettes, liquor, and other substances the government controls. There is no doubt that the marijuana industry is here to stay and is part of the nation’s economic life. This industry is unique in that is subject to no government regulation regarding consumer protection, quality of

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product, distribution, imports, and taxation (Rosenthal 46). If the industry remains illegal, it will continue to produce revenue, and profits, but United States society will lose out on the economic benefits.

Marijuana needs to stay illegal because it is a negative change. Yes, there are some negative sides to marijuana becoming legal but everything has a negative side effect to them. There will always be this argument. Some people say that marijuana provides no medical benefits (Randall 40). There are thoughts that all the “medical uses” for marijuana would just be excuses to get high. Some users may be under the delusion they are being helped, but pot users typically smoke for the THC while still taking the standard medication got their disease (Bender 155). Listing the negative effects that marijuana have is no different in any arguementive situation. There are always two sides to a matter. Some people say that “using marijuana for illness would be like a physician prescribing moldy bread (containing penicillin) for pneumonia or suggesting cigarette smoking for stress or weight loss (Bender 155). Some doctors are just na?ve about the damage that marijuana causes or perhaps are users themselves.

Yes, marijuana does have some side effects. These side effects are a negative downfall to making it legal. Individuals who smoke this drug heavily can feel a lessening or loss of pleasure in activities, and persistent attention and memory

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problems. Chronic marijuana use seems to impair thinking, reading comprehension, verbal and mathematical skills, coordination, and short-term memory. Some long-term regular users of marijuana may experience “burnout”, a dulling of their senses and responses termed “motivational syndrome” (Hales 492). You really have to look at these effects for people who are abusing the drug. The writer of this essay is not saying make marijuana legal so anyone can get it and just use it to get “high”. Marijuana needs to be legal for medication purposes and its use for the hemp seed. Almost any type of medication you get prescribed will have a side effect, so there is no difference in marijuana having a side effect compared to any other drug. Chronic use can also lead to bronchitis, emphysema and lung cancer. Smoking a single “joint” can be as damaging to the lungs as smoking five tobacco cigarettes (Hales 492). Cigarettes cause lung cancer and are one of the leading causes of heart attacks, yet cigarettes are legal. There are so many contradicting points that can be made with this issue.

Yes, there are several reasons why marijuana remains illegal. The most powerful of these is the combined law enforcement-judiciary-penal systems. This group sees the elimination of marijuana laws as a threat to their jobs. Add to this group defense lawyers, who stand to make millions of dollars defending marijuana offenders. Consciously or not, they support anti-marijuana laws (Rosenthal 2). Another reason is because the

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government funds marijuana research. If marijuana were legalized, they would lose millions of dollars in research grants intended to prove the deleterious effects of the herb. This is a perfect example though of how selfish the government is with their money. They only care about losing money. Just like how there are so many cures out there for different diseases like AIDS and other infectious diseases but because of how much money someone can lose, it doesn’t become legal or known to the public. Anti-legalization groups argue that if marijuana were legalized, there would be no way to regulate its use by or sales to minors. In addition, opponents cite marijuana is supposed threat to health. They postulate that if it is harmful, then it should remain illegal (Rosenthal 3). The damage marijuana does is outweighed by the documented damage that the marijuana laws cause society.

Today in society there are so many drugs out there that are being used to help people with diseases and other viruses. There are also many diseases out there that need cures for them. Marijuana is a drug that is overlooked and needs to become legal. It can be used in many positive ways and the hemp seed can be used as well. The damage marijuana does is outweighed by the documented damage that the marijuana laws cause society. Millions of arrests, tens of thousands of people incarcerated each year, thousands of lives ruined, polarized society and hypocrisy that extends from the cop on the beat to the highest

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levels of government. In the end, society has nothing positive to show for its efforts (Rosenthal 102).

Therefore, to stop people from using a natural herb is really looked over. Nearly everyone knows the government is lying about pot (Rosenthal 103). Even the DEA’s own judge agrees that is wrong to keep marijuana from sick people. Yet the government remains frozen on the issue of marijuana, perpetuating the same lies in a feeble effort to cover up the lies of the past. It is time for change. If society wants to have some control over marijuana, then it must be legalized and placed under a civil regulatory format (Rosenthal 104).


Bender, David L. The War On Drugs: Opposing Viewpoints. San


Hales, Dianne. Invitation to Health. 9th ed. Belmont:


Kuhn, Cynthia, Scott Swartzwelder, and Wilkie Wilson. Buzzed.

New York: Norton and Company,1998.

Potter, Beverly Dr. and Dan Joy. The Healing Magic of Cannabis.


Randall, Robert C., and Alice M. O’Leary. Marijuana Rx The

Patients’ Fight for Medicinal Pot. New York: Thunder’s Mouth,1998.

Rosenthal, Ed, and Steve Kubby. Why Marijuana Should Be Legal.

New York:Thunder’s Mouth,1996.

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