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Marijuana: an Examination of Arguments in Favor of and Opposed to Its Legalization Essay Sample

Marijuana: an Examination of Arguments in Favor of and Opposed to Its Legalization Pages
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Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a plant that can be ingested or smoked. This plant, or rather botanical, is illegal in most of the country with the exception of some states giving physicians authority to recommend the use to their patients. The purpose of this essay is to examine both the benefits and the risks of legalizing marijuana. Marijuana has many medicinal properties that have been proven to be therapeutically effective for various conditions. However, this drug also has carcinogenic properties and dangerous short- and long-term effects on the body. Although advocates may argue that the legalization of marijuana has many potential benefits, such as it would lessen our national debt and benefit our overall economic system, opponents may beg to differ. In this essay, the debate over the legalization of marijuana continues, with arguments over the therapeutic benefits versus the dangerous adverse effects of marijuana, the influence marijuana has on individuals, and whether or not the legalization of this drug could benefit our economy. Advocates for the Legalization of Marijuana

Effects of Marijuana on the Body
Imagine you are a cancer patient and just received a dose of radiation. You are violently ill and cannot stop vomiting. You hate these necessary treatments because you know how sick you become in response to them and you know the medications to counteract these side effects simply do not work. How would you react if the nurse came in with an order from the physician to smoke one marijuana cigarette, a treatment you know is effective, but instead tells you to take these pills that probably will not be effective? This is the case for many who are denied the right to use marijuana due to legislation prohibiting the prescribing of marijuana. You would probably be upset in the midst of all the pain and agony due to knowing that you cannot have an effective treatment because medical and legal professionals cannot agree. The use of marijuana has existed in many cultures for centuries. As far back as 2800 BC, historians traced the medicinal use of marijuana in Chinese cultures.

It is also noted that many religious groups have used marijuana including the Christians who mixed a medicinal preparation of marijuana “into the wine offered to Jesus at the time of his crucifixion” (Puglisi, 2003). Marijuana has many therapeutic effects for those suffering from a variety of over 150 conditions (Trossman, 2010). Marijuana benefits patients with glaucoma by decreasing the intraocular pressure associated with the symptoms of this condition. Those with cancer have found that with smoked marijuana nausea and vomiting can significantly be reduced. Marijuana has been known to relieve debilitating pain associated with arthritis, cancer, and AIDS treatments. In one account, a seventy-two year old retired school teacher suffering from nausea and vomiting in response to her chemotherapy was in debilitating pain. She often threw up all the medications to treat her symptoms. Because of her pain she could not sleep, because of her sleep deprivation she was depressed, and because of her vomiting she was malnourished.

She was told to try smoking marijuana in attempts to improve her symptoms but she whole-heartedly resisted explaining it would be unethical if she were to smoke marijuana after preaching to her students how it was so wrong (Puglisi, 2003). Individuals who are terminally ill suffer from what is known as the wasting syndrome. In this syndrome, the person is very malnourished and near starvation due to side effects that the “legal” drugs produce. Marijuana acts as a therapeutic mechanism in increasing appetite and weight in these patients. The legal drugs such as the antiretroviral drugs given to AIDS patients may help the disease from progressing but on the downside may hasten their death due to the reactions they have on the individual. If marijuana is the only effective treatment for this complication, then why must it be illegal for physicians to prescribe? Going back to the account of the retired school teacher, if only marijuana was legalized the quality of this woman’s life could have been improved significantly.

In another noteworthy account, a desperate mother of a very sick child who was scheduled for a chemotherapy treatment decided to do the unthinkable and feed her son marijuana cookies before his therapy. The mother noted that her son never got sick, never vomited, and never got into bed after his treatment. The fearless mother presented her testimony before the DEA and explained that the evidence was so obvious it should not be ignored (Puglisi, 2003). There is also evidence that marijuana has benefited people with muscle spasms related to cerebral palsy and convulsions related to seizure activity. Recently, researchers are finding more and more uses for marijuana, including healing bone fractures along with “pain relief associated with endometriosis and other women’s health issues as well as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to Mathre” ( Trossman, 2010). Patients with PTSD often have racing thoughts, nightmares, anger, and irritability all of which are improved with the use of marijuana because it reduces hyperactivity of the amygdala (Trossman, 2010). The FDA has approved a drug called Marinol which is a synthetic pill form of THC.

Marijuana consists of many different cannabinoids, flavonoids, and terpinoids which produce more therapeutic effects and fewer side effects when ingested together. Smoking marijuana versus ingesting it in a pill form has many benefits including allowing patients to self-titrate the dose, as with patient-controlled analgesia. The pill takes much longer for psychopharmacologic effects to present; it comes on slow and dissipates without a clear peak. This may not be helpful when thinking about marijuana’s appetite stimulating quality. The smoked route lets marijuana reach maximum blood concentrations within minutes and effects usually peak within the first hour. This rapid onset and dissipation property of smoking marijuana increases the probability of the individual receiving full therapeutic effects (Marmor, 1998). We need to stop depriving patients the opportunity of experiencing relief while forcing stress upon them by threatening arrest if they do indeed seek out other resources.

Marijuana is much safer compared to the products one could buy at their local supermarket. It is also known to be a safe alternative to traditional medicine. According to Cohen (2010), “There is considerable evidence in the peer-reviewed scientific literature that smoked marijuana has legitimate therapeutic and palliative uses that are not accompanied by dangerous side effects” (p. 657). In a study conducted by Eisen et al. (2002) regarding the long-term effects of marijuana on a healthy individual, they used monozygotic twins in their study. The criteria for these monozygotic twins were one twin had to have heavy marijuana in their early life and the other twin used marijuana no more than 5 times. Neither twin had used any other illicit drugs and no longer smoked marijuana. The researchers concluded that, “prior heavy marijuana use had no significant impact on current socio-demographic characteristics, nicotine or alcohol use or abuse/dependence, physical or mental health care utilization or health-related quality of life” (p. 1142).

This goes to show the safety of marijuana use for those who smoked recreationally. One can argue that smoking marijuana is not safe in that it produces damaging effects on the lungs. I argue the notion that smoking tobacco is notably harmful to one’s lungs, however somewhere in history a public policy authoritarian claimed that tobacco should be legal and marijuana not be, probably because he and all his politician friends smoked tobacco and deemed marijuana evil. Tobacco is much more harmful to your lungs since it is more addictive. In 2006, a study by Dr. Donald Tashkin, a leading pulmonologist, found that even regular or heavy use of marijuana doesn’t lead to lung cancer (Klein, 2011). Marijuana effects last longer and less is needed to be smoked compared to tobacco. Marijuana has little effect on major physiological functions in the body. With that being said, marijuana is still classified as a schedule I drug meaning that it has no medicinal properties. Other drugs in this category are LSD and heroin.

Obviously marijuana may have some side effects but to put it in the same category as those other drugs is simply irrational. Alcohol, which is legal to consume, has many damaging effects on nearly every organ in the body including the liver, heart, and kidneys. Alcohol also has the tendency to produce violence. Not to mention those who drink alcohol excessively usually smoke tobacco concurrently causing a whirlwind of damage. But alcohol and tobacco are legal and marijuana isn’t? This doesn’t make sense, does it? In comparison to alcohol and prescription drugs, marijuana is the safest and least habit forming. It doesn’t cause the serious health problems like those caused by alcohol and tobacco. Another legal substance that causes harm to the body is McDonalds. There are far greater potential long-term health risks from abusing McDonalds than from abusing marijuana.

There is no known case to date that someone has died of a marijuana overdose. However, physicians prescribe drugs such as opiates and benzodiazepines, both of which are highly addictive and extremely deadly in large amounts. But of course, somewhere in history it was stated that opiates, which ironically are also derived from a plant, should be allowed for public consumption. For the sake of the pharmaceutical companies wanting patient’s insurance dollars and personal funds, deadly drugs are deemed “okay”. Yet marijuana, a medicinally-effective, natural plant people can cultivate on their own is deemed wrong and illegal. Marijuana, although it is illegal, has many beneficial medicinal effects and has shown to help patients with a variety of ailments. All medications have side-effects and possible adverse events that may occur with them, yet they are FDA approved. With marijuana’s small amount of possible side effects, shouldn’t it have a chance at FDA approval considering its collection of benefits for hopeless patients? Influence of Marijuana on Individuals

One can argue that by legalizing marijuana it would send the wrong message to our children. If we were to legalize it only for medicinal purposes, then the only message that would be sent to our kids would be the same type of message we send to them about pharmaceuticals. Marijuana would be controlled and regulated much like the opiate-derived medications we give patients who are in extreme pain. However, we still hear about how kids are getting their hands on these so called “pain killers” and before you know it they are using heroin because it is easier to find on the streets. Should we take all opioid analgesics off the market too? It was reported in the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health that among young adult’s ages 18-25, marijuana remained at a steady rate but the use of prescription pills increased from 2002-2007. The point of the matter is that kids will be kids; they will do things regardless of the legal sanction granted to the behavior. Just because something gets legalized does not mean kids are going to want to try it.

It’s kind of like when you turned of age to consume alcohol; it wasn’t as fun to engage in as it was when you were younger. The same goes for marijuana, if it gets legalized the numbers would remain the same, if not, decrease. There are numerous accounts that illustrate how marijuana use has not increased with decriminalization. Decriminalization is the act of removing the threat of arrest for personal use or cultivation of marijuana. According to a statement made in 2010 in the International Journal of Drug Policy (as cited in The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws [NORML], 2010) regarding comparison of the United States to the Netherlands (note marijuana is legal in the Netherlands), “Adult cannabis use is no higher in the Netherlands than in the United States and inconsistent with the demand theory that strict laws and enforcement prevent adolescent cannabis use” (p. 4). The United States has been known to have a long-term fight against drugs, otherwise known as the war on drugs.

We in the United States give some of the harshest penalties for drug possession compared to other countries. Given this, we as Americans have the highest rates of cocaine and marijuana use in the world. European countries, which have much more liberal drug laws, also have much less drug use than the United States. Is this war really worth fighting? Shouldn’t we be educating rather than punishing? Colorado, California, and Oregon are some of the states which have enacted medicinal marijuana policies and they all claim that since these policies were implemented, marijuana use has not increased. This is also consistent with many other studies involving legalizing marijuana for medicinal use as well as recreational use (NORML, 2010). The point is if someone wants to try marijuana they are going to try it regardless of the law, regardless of their age, and regardless of the health risks.

Most people who consume alcohol are responsible, so are marijuana smokers. Not all of them are in the basement getting high with friends and doing nothing with their lives. Most are great people, loving parents, pay taxes, educated and ambitious. Since the Drug War began in 1995, there have been 9.5 million arrests for marijuana. The year 2007 broke the record for arrests and was estimated to be higher than all violent crimes combined. Eighty-nine percent of all arrests are for possession, not distribution. One person is arrested every 36 seconds. All this does is fill prisons and destroy the lives of individuals and their families; still there is no reduction in drug availability or lessening the power of criminal organizations (Kampia, 2010). We’re arresting the wrong people, and every time they need more room in the prison, they release criminals to make room for those arrested for marijuana. These released criminals could be rapists, child molesters, or a murderer out on “good behavior”. I would prefer the keeping them in and letting the pot smokers smoke. They’re not trying to hurt anyone else by taking a puff. History Repeating Itself

In the 1920’s Prohibition began with the ratifying of The 18 Amendment. It outlawed alcoholic beverages for sale, manufacturing, transportation, import and export; but not for consumption. The law was supposed to lower crime and corruption, reduce social problems, lower taxes needed to support prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene. Instead, the law created more problems and more criminal activity. It became dangerous to consume, organized crime flourished (Al Capone), courts and prisons became congested and corruption of police and public officials arose to great stature. However, whiskey was allowed to be used for medical use. So, Whiskey was still illegal but could be used strictly for medical purposes.

Most people, then, got prescriptions and the number of “patients” increased dramatically. The Prohibition of the 1920’s remarkably entails similar features that we are considering in this debate. They say history repeats itself, and, they were right. The central focus on legalizing marijuana should be supported by facts not myths. The effects of legalizing marijuana would be apparent in all aspects of our society. The positive effects of this endeavor would out way the negative (most of which are myths) in every category. The misconception of marijuana use and its effects are perceived in a negative light, created by its illegality. It has created more troubles; and the fact is that it is still being used illegally and the numbers continue to increase. Do you think legalizing marijuana will increase the number of people using it? Marijuana as a Benefit to our Economy

In relation to our economy, we are losing more money fighting against the legalization of marijuana and paying a high price to enforce it. The economic future for America has been the topic lately. With the national debt soaring and unemployment rising, the future looks dim. The cost of outlawing marijuana from 1948-1963 was 1.5 billion, from 1964-1969, only four years later, it rose to 9 billion, and is still increasing today. An economist from Harvard estimated that the replacing of marijuana prohibition with taxation and regulation would save between 10 to 14 billion dollars per year. This would decrease government spending and tax revenues. Another researcher estimated our loss to be as high as 31 billion dollars due to failure to tax marijuana industries. A study in 2006 found that marijuana is the leading cash crop in the U.S. This value is larger than corn and wheat crops combined. In 2009, American Journal of Public Health published their final evaluation of Anti-Marijuana campaign during the Bush administration. Researchers’ results were based on measuring marijuana–related attitudes and behaviors before and after and with the level of exposure to the campaign. The results were that there was no sign of a positive effect (MPR, 2009).

On the other side of the border, the Mexican government is asking the United States to end the prohibition on marijuana. The former White House drug czar, John Walters, stated that 60 -70% of drug cartels’ profit is from marijuana sales in the United States. The U.S. marijuana market for Mexican traffickers, calculated at $20 billion a year, is well worth fighting for. Prohibition creates the underground market that generates their economic, political and military strength. With the drop in income from marijuana sales, cartels have less money for buying arms and politicians, or recruiting young people into the trade. So, while these groups are making these enormous profits, we have been giving money to their government. For a combined total of nearly $9 billion in U.S. government funds for a military-model drug war (Klein, 2011). Marijuana is a great way to get our country out of this national debt we are facing today. In the 2007 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it was also understood that marijuana accounted for 72.36% of all illicit drug use in America.

To control this drug use, the United States spends $68 billion per year on corrections and another $150 billion on courts and policing in its efforts. Approximately half of all drug arrests are marijuana related. If we could bypass these numbers and make marijuana legal it would save this country billions. Most of this money is mostly state regulated and could be spent a much better way (Klein, 2009). Another way the legalization of marijuana could produce benefits for our country is by increasing revenues and jobs. We all know our country is presently facing many economic hardships by folks losing their jobs to countries who pay their workers less. California’s largest cash crop is marijuana, bringing in revenues of as much as $14 billion per year (Klein, 2009). If we legalized marijuana, the government could distribute and tax marijuana to the general population.

We all know that the price of cigarettes are outrageous, mainly because the state tax that is put on them. If we did the same with marijuana, our governments would make a killing. One could argue that in this case people would just grow their own. However, growing marijuana is very time-consuming and most likely people would not grow it if they could go to the store and buy it. As for the medical aspect, we all know people who are terminally ill quite often cannot afford all the medicines that are necessary for survival. People who are in severe need of marijuana for medicinal purposes and do not have adequate insurance to cover their healthcare costs would benefit because they could have a personal plant instead of relying on drug companies taking them for everything they have. This would also empower these patients to take charge of their own healthcare in response to them not having to be so dependent on these companies. With the legalization of marijuana more jobs would be created as agriculture, packaging, and distribution would all be necessary. So let’s be “green”, increase our revenues, and legalize marijuana! Opponents for the Legalization of Marijuana

Adverse Effects of Marijuana
When observing individuals all over the world, it is easy to see that there are many ways to harm our bodies. In addition to alcohol, pain medications, and cold medications, there are many more legal substances that are used in the wrong way. Let’s not add one more to that list. The issue of whether or not marijuana should be legalized has been a debate for quite some time now. Although marijuana has been proven to relieve side effects associated with illness, there are many reasons why it should not be legalized. Marijuana’s high potential for abuse is only one of several reasons it should remain an illegal drug. It is labeled as the “gateway drug”, because it introduces individuals to harder, more dangerous, drugs. Marijuana is a drug that is abused the most in the United States. Those who support the legalization of marijuana for medical or general use fail to recognize the costs of using the drug.

Along with alcohol and other drugs, marijuana also has immediate effects on the body. Marijuana causes impaired motor ability and coordination, delayed reactions, mood swings, paranoia, and many other adverse effects. Additionally, there are many destructive long-term effects. Yale School of Medicine reports that long-term exposure to marijuana smoking is linked to the same health problems as tobacco smoke, such as daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illnesses, a heightened risk of lung infections, and a greater tendency toward obstructed airways (Speaking out against drug legalization, 2010). For marijuana to be legal and for anyone to have easier access to it is absolutely nonsensical. Since it would be so much easier to acquire, it would just be another substance for adolescents, young people, and even the elderly to get their hands on and make impaired decisions.

A main argument that arises with this topic is the use of marijuana for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. First of all, inhaling marijuana is inhaling foreign and toxic air into the lungs. If patients already have a history of smoking then this could further damage their lungs, and they are already battling cancer. Smoking one joint is equal to smoking 7-10 cigarettes and marijuana still damages the lungs (DuPont, 2010). Also, smoking marijuana weakens the immune system and increases the risk of lung infections (Speaking out against drug legalization, 2010). Cancer patients going through chemotherapy already have a weakened immune system. Why would we want to weaken it even more? The correct medication regimen needs to be given to these patients. Cancer patients can be given anti-emetics for nausea and vomiting, and other drugs, such as opioids and non-opioids, to control pain. Even though some patients may crave the quick fix, smoking a “joint” could just lead to further complications for the patients. The Negative Influence of Marijuana on Individuals

Marijuana has been termed “the gateway drug” and I think that it does, in fact, fit that name. If marijuana was to be legalized it would create chaos, especially in neighborhoods that it are known to have “medicinal marijuana”. Legalization of marijuana would do nothing to decrease crime rates. It’s a drug; more drugs, more crime. If a group of youths off the street needed to upgrade their stash, not much would stop them from breaking into someone’s home for it so they could turn around to use and sell it. If this drug becomes easier to obtain, it will be something that will have a major impact on the adolescent crowd. When it comes to adolescent behavior, getting drunk is bad enough and leads to many bad decisions, such as unprotected sex and driving impaired to name a few. Why would we want more intoxicated teenagers? Teens are more likely to use cocaine-induced marijuana compared to others.

Dependence is a major issue with marijuana. Other than alcohol, marijuana is currently the leading cause of substance dependence in the U.S. According to DuPont (2010) in 2008, marijuana use accounted for 4.2 million of the 7 million people aged 12 or older classified with dependence on or abuse of an illicit drug. This means about two thirds of Americans suffering from any substance use disorder are suffering from marijuana abuse or dependence. Marijuana users would, in fact, increase with legalization. Even though there might not be an immediate increase, it would rise eventually. There are a little over 15.2 million current marijuana users compared to the 129 million alcohol users and 70.9 tobacco users (DuPont, 2010). Another point that needs to be considered is that when people get their hands on marijuana it is not always a one hundred percent reliable source. The person may get the marijuana from a friend-of-a-friend who knew someone that knew another person. In other words, it is hard to tell where it actually came from.

If people decide to go against the law and find a version that is not taxed it could be a different form. Most people are not able to tell if the marijuana is laced with other drugs and end up smoking it without knowing. This could make the individual get a different high and cause distress, or even death. Those individuals who are in favor of legalizing marijuana continually say that if marijuana were legalized, there would be less crime surrounding the buying, selling and using of the drug. This is impossible because even if it were legal to use marijuana for other than medicinal purposes, there would still be a market for the drug. There would be manufactures, sellers and buyers and anytime that there is some sort of disagreement on price, conflict is the result. “Criminals won’t stop being criminals if we make drugs legal. Individuals who have chosen to pursue a life of crime and violence aren’t likely to change course, get legitimate jobs, and become honest, tax-paying citizens just because we legalize drugs.

The individuals and organizations that smuggle drugs don’t do so because they enjoy the challenge of “making a sale.” They sell drugs because that’s what makes them the most money” (Drug Enforcement Agency, 2010). As stated, the crime will not end just because marijuana is legalized. For example, when you look at how there is legal gambling and then illegal gambling. The legalized gambling did not reduce the illegal gambling, it increased it. Just as well, the legal marijuana would set the stage for the illegal marijuana. It would be a lot more complicated than people buying large amounts of this drug (DuPont, 2010). There would have to be a system established of how it would be priced and taxed. It would have to be high enough to decrease use but, also, low enough so that it does not create a black market. It could not be available for people to grow in their own backyards; they would have to pay for it. Since this price will be higher than when it was not taxed it would make some more prone to fight, steal, and hurt others for their own gain of the drug. Also, if it will be used as a medication, then the cost will go up a lot more than what it is at now. In addition, insurance companies would have to decide if they want to cover any of the costs (Szalavitz, 2010). Marijuana as a Disadvantage to the Economy

Another common myth about legalizing marijuana is that it will boost the economy if it is regulated and sold just like tobacco and alcohol. The states that sell tobacco and alcohol, along with the Alcohol Tobacco & Firearms (ATF), regulate tobacco and alcohol sales. One frequently asked question is, “who will regulate the sales and collect the excise tax on the marijuana if it were to be legalized?” If the state regulates the tax, then there will be “state-line jumping” to obtain the drug at a cheaper price. A similar activity occurs in the tobacco states such as North Carolina and Virginia. If the Federal Government regulates it, and taxes are too high, then there will be what is already in place — border wars to import the drug into the country. Whether the state or federal government regulates it, legalizing marijuana to try and “boost” the economy is not the correct choice. Just for comparison, the following was taken directly from a DEA excerpt, “Tobacco, the other substance that often is suggested as a model for ‘legal’ marijuana, offers a picture of a similarly bleak future.

The Center for Disease Control estimates that the total of economic costs associated with cigarette smoking is approximately $7.18 per pack of cigarettes sold in the United States. The revenue generated to cover these costs? The federal excise tax is $1.01 per pack of cigarettes. The median state cigarette excise tax rate, as of January 1, 2007, is $0.80. This hardly sounds like an ‘economic windfall’ that cures our budget woes” (Speaking out against drug legalization, 2010). The issue of how much marijuana should be taxed will become an all-new problem just as it was once the alcohol prohibition was lifted. As you can see, there will not be a so-called “boost” in the economy just by legalizing marijuana. To add to the issue of the economy, marijuana has been proven to be an addictive substance. Just like people who are addicted to other substances and choose to get help at a rehabilitation center, someone is going to have to pay for their medical treatment. To legalize marijuana is to add another drug that someone readily has access to and becomes addicted and needs rehabilitation.

Any way you look at it, there will be more money being paid out due to legal marijuana than there will be money being put back into the economy. Lastly, many pro-legalization members keep saying that the United States should at least try to legalize marijuana and see what happens. They believe crime rates will decrease and the money collected from the marijuana excise taxes will boost the economy. Those individuals must not know or must have forgotten that the U.S. did try decriminalizing marijuana use at one time. “In 1975, the Alaska Supreme Court ruled that the state could not interfere with an adult’s possession of marijuana for personal consumption in the home. The court’s ruling became a green light for marijuana use. Although the ruling was limited to persons 19 and over, teens were among those increasingly using marijuana.

According to a 1988 University of Alaska study, the state’s 12 to 17-year-olds used marijuana at more than twice the national average for their age group. Alaska’s residents voted in 1990 to re-criminalize possession of marijuana. By 1979, after 11 states decriminalized marijuana and the Carter administration had considered federal decriminalization, marijuana use shot up among teenagers. That year, almost 51 percent of 12th graders reported they used marijuana in the last 12 months. By 1992, with tougher laws and increased attention to the risks of drug abuse, that figure had been reduced to 22 percent, a 57-percent decline” (Speaking out against drug legalization, 2010). This happened back in 1975; back when the “run of the mill” marijuana was much simpler compared to today’s marijuana, which has been known to be laced with everything from LSD to formaldehydes. Additional harmful substances, even if regulated by the government, could still potentially be tainted if marijuana became legal. Conclusion

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, is a botanical that can be ingested or smoked. It is illegal in most of the United States; however, it is legal in several states for physicians to prescribe to their patients. It has been proven that marijuana has therapeutic benefits for many different health conditions, including glaucoma, arthritis, cancer, and AIDS. Advocates for legalizing marijuana may argue that legalizing the drug across the United States will not increase drug use, but it will increase revenue and jobs for people in the country. On the other hand, individuals against the legalization of marijuana claim that the side effects caused by smoking or ingesting marijuana outweigh the therapeutic effects. In addition, marijuana has been termed the “gateway drug” because it leads to the use of harder, more dangerous drugs and increases crime rates. Opponents will also argue if legalized marijuana were taxed and sold, similar to tobacco and alcohol, the revenue would not be enough to help boost our economy. It is up to you, the reader, to decide: should the United States “go green” and legalize marijuana or not?


Cohen, P.J. (2010). Medical marijuana 2010: It’s time to fix the regulatory vacuum. Journal of Law, Medicine, & Ethics, 38(3), 654-666. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umsl.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=4&hid=125&sid=d7ae271d-ac18-46a9-9ddd-ee1df600ce51%40sessionmgr112 DuPont, R.L. (2010, April 20). Why we should not legalize marijuana. Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/id/36267223/Whyweshouldnotlegalizemarijuana Eisen, S., Chantarujikapong, S., Xian, H., Lyons, M., Toomey, R., True, W., Scherrer, J., Goldberg, J., & Tsuang, M. (2002). Does marijuana use have residual adverse effects on self-reported health measures, socio-demographics, and quality of life? A monozygotic co-twin control study in men. Society for the Study of Addiction to Alcohol and Other Drugs, 97, 1137-1144. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umsl.edu/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=7&hid=112&sid=d7ae271d-ac18-46a9-9ddd-ee1df600ce51%40sessionmgr112 Kampia, R. (2011, January 3). Top Ten Marijuana Victories in 2010. Retrieved July 15, 2011, from Marijuana Policy Project: http://www.mpp.org/library/top-ten-marijuana-victories.html Klein, J. (2009). Why legalizing marijuana makes sense. Time. Retrieved from http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,1889166,00.html Marmor, J.B. (1998). Medical marijuana. West J Med, 168(6), 540-543. Puglisi, P. M. (2003). Medical marijuana: The time has come for the smoke to clear. Nursing News, 27(4), 6-7. Retrieved from http://web.ebscohost.com.ezproxy.umsl.edu/ehost/detail?sid=0705ecf8-74fc-4738-8b51-eaff23aaf371%40sessionmgr104&vid=4&hid=104&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=cin20&AN=2004034470 Speaking out against drug legalization. (2010). Retrieved July 10, 2011, from U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration:

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