Now, more than ever, propositions to legalize the drug have risen, which is causing a stir between people who want it to be regulated just as tobacco and alcohol is, and people who want it to be a crime with severe punishments. With this paper, I will show you the true facts behind marijuana; the facts that are misconstrued and altered by older generations of people who want nothing more than to abolish the drug. In the first section of my paper, I will explain the science of the drug and how it actually affects a persons mind as well as debunking many of the popular myths among people.
In the second section I will look into the current laws and policies about the drug and explain how it is a flawed system and how it harms the user more than the drug does. In my third and final section, I will explain my proposed policy about the drug and explain how it should be regulated in our country. The Science Behind the Drug Background First and foremost, what is marijuana? Marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world; various forms of the drug have been used for thousands of years for their medicinal, social, and aesthetic effects (Marijuana Legalization 3).
For those who dont know, cannabis, or marijuana, is an annual flowering plant of the botanical order Rosales, which today occurs across large parts of the world, thriving in a wide range of soils types in countries from the temperate regions to those in the tropics (Emmett 9). It can be grown outside almost anywhere where temperatures reach above 70 degrees and have at least a 4-month summer season.
There are 3 kinds varieties of cannabis: Cannabis Sativa, a ast-growing species that grows up to four meters tall, and two very similar species Cannabis Indica and Cannabis Ruderalis, which both grow slower and only reach about 2 meters (Emmett 10). These plants all contain a multitude of complex chemicals called cannabinoids. The most Psychoactive of these, and the most important as far as its affect goes, is called delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol, commonly known as THC (Emmett 10). Marijuana, when smoked, is in its most natural state, with nothing added to the plant. Most smoked marijuana come from the dried leaves and flowers.
According to one article, Marijuana is far safer than many of the foods we commonly consume¦Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances ever known to man (Fox 33). Many people believe smoking weed is only a recreational activity but there are many people out there who rely on the drug to ease a variety of ailments that they may be going through. Unbeknownst by many, the process for treating cancer is excruciatingly painful and has many side effects such as nausea, sleeping disorders, eating disorders, and anxiety (Emmett 32).
Many patients who go through this procedure turn to marijuana because it has been shown to ease these symptoms without having to fill your body with other synthetic drugs that may contain even more side effects. In a recent study, Marijuana may also alleviate symptoms associated with certain neurologic disorders. For instance, marijuana has been used to treat muscle spasticity in patients with multiple sclerosis and spinal cord injuries (Seamon 1040). Why any human being would want to deny these opportunities to people who live in pain on a daily basis is beyond me. Myths
There are many people out there who will believe nearly anything they hear without confirming said fact. This is how many of the myths about marijuana began. One misconception that people have is that you can overdose on the drug. Though it is true that you can overdose on the drug, to accomplish this you would need to eat around 675 grams of the drug in a matter of a few hours for it to be potent enough to actually kill you (Bronlee 104). To put this in perspective, one Big Mac is about 60 grams, meaning you would have to eat 11 Big Macs worth of marijuana for it to kill you: a very unlikely situation.
To date, there has never been a death by marijuana recorded (Bronlee 104). Many people believe that marijuana is a highly addictive drug and that each year millions of Americans seek treatment every year because they become dependent on the drug. This is, in fact, untrue as marijuana lacks the physical and psychological dependence associated with other intoxicants, especially tobacco and alcohol. Very few cannabis users voluntarily seek to go to a rehabilitation facility, but instead they are ordered to go to rehab or pay fees or risk jail time, so people choose the easiest of the three (Fox 64).
One last myth about the drug, and probably the most common of them is that marijuana causes permanent brain damage to the subject and basically makes you unintelligent. There is a slight fact in this myth. Marijuana is bad for you until your brain is finished developing around the age of eighteen to nineteen, and even used before that age it is only shown to cause nearly negligible impacts on your cognition and memory skills (Fox 69). This is all not to say that the drug is entirely perfect and there are no bad side effects, because there are just as there are with anything you smoke.
In saying that, there are other means of getting the THC into your body with no harm done to the lungs such as vaporizing it or eating edibles. The drug is not for everyone and some people may have a bad experience with it, but that is no reason for the drug to be outlawed. Current Laws and Policies Until recently, people never thought twice about the possibility of marijuana becoming legalized and regulated in the United States. Lately there have been many propositions made to legalize marijuana on both the federal and state level.
Just in last years election, both Washington state and Colorado legalized the drug to allow the recreation and medicinal use of it. So why was marijuana made illegal in the first place? Well basically back in the 1920s and 1930s, the most powerful newspaper owner in America began printing falsified and exaggerated stories about the evils of marijuana. He was a blatant racist who stated that pushers, who were mainly ethnic minority classes, would deal marijuana to high school kids.
He claimed that the drug would turn the kids into addicts that would quit school and commit violent crimes such as murder and rape (Reefer Madness). This created a public hysteria over smoking which lead to the laws and policies that are still in effect today. Looking at todays statistics, murder and rape are indeed not a side effect from marijuana. Making the drug legal isnt a simple of a task as people would like. The challenge of legalizing the drug concerns whether to change the laws to make it legal to produce, sell, and possess marijuana, and, if so, what rules should apply (Marijuana Legalization 3).
The greatest harm caused by the drug comes from the collateral damage of its illegality (Bourgois 582). Current penalties for the drug are quite extreme and end up causing severe repercussions for both the user and their family. Lives are ruined as large sectors of poorly educated youth serve prison terms for selling small amounts of marijuana. Its criminalization has dramatically increased the profitability of marijuana and the violence surrounding its trafficking (Bourgois 582).
These laws are only hurting people and should definitely be changed in some way. What Should Be Done It is quite evident that the current laws and policies are not fixing a problem, but instead creating a larger, more expensive and damaging problem. From what I have gathered it is clear that marijuana, in any form, is not dangerous to the user nor the people around said user. Its legalization would not only help the people who face unfair trials with costly court fees and unwanted rehabilitation, but it would also pour more money into the United States economy.
Just two days ago, Colorado has stated, If marijuana is legalized and properly regulated, it could generate millions of dollars in state tax revenue (Marijuana Taxes). Instead of taking the money from those taxes and spending it on useless things, they plan to spend the first forty billion dollars on building public schools throughout the state (Marijuana Taxes). There is no question as to whether the drug should be legalized or not, but how should it? I believe that the drug should be available to those twenty-one and older and they should only be able to have a limit of one hundred grams at one time.
Anyone selling the drug should also have to receive a background check and a permit, as well as adding a 12. 5% tax on all sales. Anyone breaking these laws should be charged a fine instead of being coerced into rehab or serving jail time. This seems like the best way to regulate this drug with minor ill effects on the family, the user, and the seller. We live in a time where what we do and decide to put into our bodies should be our own personal choice, so long as we arent killing ourselves. It is our freedom, and our choice.