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Ramifications Of Legalizing Recreational Marijuana In The Us

2907 words - 12 pages

Marijuana. The very word sparks a reaction in anyone who hears it. It is the most controversial and widely used illicit drug in America. Marijuana is a term used to describe the dried flowers and leaves of the cannabis plant. Smoking marijuana releases delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol, also known as THC, which is the primary mind-altering ingredient in marijuana that produces the feeling of being “high.” It has been used both recreationally and medicinally for centuries. There are numerous accounts of its medicinal qualities in multiple historical artifacts. Its use dates back to 2737 B.C. when the Chinese emperor, Shen Nung, used it for medicinal purposes including malaria, gout, poor memory, ...view middle of the document...

But in reality, America and its citizens would benefit greatly if recreational smoking of marijuana was legalized throughout all 50 states, including advances in the psychological and medical field, incredible economic profit, and the well-being of the penal system. This is an important issue to discuss as it is an extremely topical subject nowadays and many people already have preconceived notions one way or another and I hope, with this essay, to help readers make a more informed decision.
If one were to compare cannabis to alcohol or cigarettes, they would find that marijuana is much safer and healthier, both for the user and people around him. In 2012, approximately 3.3 million people died due to alcohol consumption (“Alcohol”). And yet, alcohol remains completely legal for anyone to buy as long as they are over 21. “Cigarette smoking is responsible for more than 480,000 deaths per year in the United States, including an estimated 41,000 deaths resulting from secondhand smoke exposure” (“Fast Facts”). And again, cigarettes are completely legal for anyone to buy as long as they are of age. According to a ruling made by Judge Francis Young, “Nearly all medicines have toxic, potentially lethal effects. But marijuana is not such a substance. There is no record in the extensive medical literature describing a proven, documented cannabis-induced fatality.” This holds true even today. In the entire internet, I could not find even one death in which the cause was confirmed or even suspected to be marijuana. Moreover, he states that a smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in a normal joint, or “A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.” This was based on many studies that he went though, leading him to his ultimate conclusion that “With respect to whether or not there is ‘a lack of accepted safety for use of [marijuana] under medical supervision’, the record shows the facts to be uncontroverted.” Nevertheless, it is possible for marijuana bought from a dealer to be tainted with mold, pesticides, or other chemicals that would make it unhealthy (CBS News). If cannabis that was sold was regulated by the government and FDA, it would ensure that users would only get uncontaminated material.
One major argument against the legalization is that although alcohol might be more dangerous overall, marijuana cannot be detected in a driver, while alcohol can. This means that if a person drives drunk, he may swerve, get pulled over, and get a major fine for driving while intoxicated. However, when one smokes marijuana, it cannot be detected, and therefore there is not nearly as much as a deterrent, since reckless driving is far less of a crime than driving under the influence. This was all true until mid-June of 2014, where former Canadian police officer Kal Mahli invented a breathalyzer that can detect if a person ingested...

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