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Marijuana Essay, Research Paper


Better Kept Illegal


Collier?s Encyclopedia defines marijuana as a crude drug composed of the leaves, stems, and flowering buds of the Indian hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. The flowering tops of the plant secrete a sticky resin that contains the psychoactive material for which marijuana is used. There are both male and female hemp plants; however, the female plants contain denser flowering clusters; therefore it is preferred. Hashish is also a crude drug produced from the hemp plant. It differs from marijuana in being made of only the flowering buds, whereas marijuana is made up of flowering tops and leaves (392).

The earliest known use of marijuana, is as an ingredient in a Chinese herbal tea dating from 2700 BC, Since then it has been used by many different cultures as a sedative or analgesic (Goetz 847). Collier?s Encyclopedia explains marijuana can be chewed or eaten, but is usually smoked in a hand-rolled cigarettes or in pipes. The main psychoactive ingredient in drugs from the hemp plant is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. The amount of THC in marijuana varies depending on many factors, including climate and soil conditions. Generally, plants from hot dry areas produce more THC (392).

Some people believe marijuana should be legalized in order to free up government money that is currently going towards the fight against marijuana. It would also free up prison space currently occupied by individuals with charges of marijuana possession. If marijuana were made legal, it would free up a large

amount of government money, approximately $700 million annually (Federal 74). This money would most likely go to pay for some of the damage that would occur through out the U.S. if marijuana were made legal. If marijuana were made legal it would also make a large amount of room in prisons though out the U.S., about 225,000 annually (Federal Bureau 95). This does not matter because shortly after marijuana became legal, those spots would become filled by many of the same people who moved to stronger illegal drugs. Currently marijuana is illegal in the United States, with exception to California, where it is available by prescription (Grinspoon 358). Marijuana most stay illegal because it is dangerous to society, is a ?gateway? drug, and is bad for user health.

Marijuana is extremely dangerous to society for many reasons. One reason marijuana is dangerous to society is because, like alcohol, it impairs its users motor skills. Jones and Lovinger state that marijuana effects an individual’s ability to operate a car in two ways. First, it alters the individual?s concept of time. This makes them fell as thou been driving for a long time when in actuality, they have been driving for a few minutes. More importantly, it alters the user?s ability to diagnose dangerous situations because the THC of the marijuana has put their mind in relaxed state.

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