This essay has a total of 2104 words and 9 pages.
Legalization of Marijuana
How can something so good be so bad???
There is a large drug problem facing Canada today, and this problem extends to all citizens. Itís not just the poor and the uneducated that are affected by this problem. The most largely used illegal drug in Canada is Marijuana, and thus is targeted as the drug for law enforcement to target the most, costing the taxpayers lots and lots of money. I will show you that Marijuana is not as large an evil as it may appear, and that if legalized the economy would be strengthened and the efforts of law enforcement could be focused on more serious drugs.
First off, to understand what we are dealing with I will give a brief explanation of what Marijuana is and itís uses. Marijuana is classified as a hallucinogen and is a psychoactive drug. Its medical name is Cannabis Sativa and it is found in the Indian hemp plant, of which there are three types; Cannabis Sativa, Cannabis Indica, and Cannabis Rudderalis. Some of its nicknames and street names are pot, weed, green, herb, and sensi. The drugs use dates back in manuscripts back to 2700B.C. in China (Nadelmann). Jamestown settlers also cultivated the drug, 1611, who used the drug for its fibers to make rope and clothes. Marijuana is widely used, an estimated one out of every three people have used it, and among high school students 44% have experimented with it (Bowmen). Marijuana is almost always smoked to experience the effects, but eating it and brewing it into tea are common practice also. It can be smoked by rolling it into a paper (joint) or by placing it into a pipe (often called a bowl). Often times there is a mixture of marijuana with tobacco to create a pleasurable taste. When someone smokes marijuana for the first time they do not get high, it is usually the second or third time a user feels the effects. These include chronic laughter and heightened senses. Afterwards a dry mouth and hunger, called the munchies, often follow. The ingredient in cannabis sativa that causes the mind-altering effects is THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol).
Now that you know a little about the drug I will discuss its health effects. I am not saying that Marijuana is good for you; all I am saying is that comparable negative effects are present in many legalized drugs.
Marijuana intoxicates a person in a way very similar to alcohol. Reaction times are decreased and the person may appear to be very sluggish. While intoxicated a person may have a hard time concentrating on simple tasks. There have been many studies ran on the long term effects on marijuana causing memory loss, and many of the studies are either contradictory or inconclusive. The effects of marijuana on the lungs are very similar to the effects of cigarettes in that lungs will get coated in tar and respiration may become difficult as time passes. However, marijuana has not been linked as a cancer-causing agent (Califano), making it much healthier than cigarettes in that aspect. There have been no tests to prove marijuana is addictive other than mentally (American Journal of Nursing), which is a problem that can arise from using many things such as caffeine. Marijuana, in fact, has been proven to be less of a health risk than junk food, salt, tobacco, and alcohol.
Hardly anyone over 21 experiments with a drug, they have experimented with it before. If no one has experimented with a drug before they are 21 then they are highly unlikely to experiment at all. There are three million underage cigarette smokers underage, many smoking just for the reason to disobey the laws society places on us. This industry is estimated at one billion dollars. There are also twelve million underage drinkers, many drinking just to disobey the laws also. This industry is estimated at ten billion dollars. Marijuana use is just like these figures, but it covers all of the population, not just those under 18 or 21. Harnessing an industry like this would have astronomical economic benefits.
Marijuana being legalized would also help many people that are sick. The drug THC whether being smoked or ingested in its pure form is an excellent painkiller and muscle relaxant, which would not carry the hazard of becoming an addiction like morphine or other painkillers. Marijuana also is a proven help to Glaucoma patients, as it slows the advance of the disease and brings ailment to its sufferers. Studies have also indicated that marijuana can slow the rate of HIV through the immune system as well as increase patientís appetite. Loss of appetite is a large problem with AIDS patients, and the lack of nourishment further depletes the immune system. Usage of Marijuana has indicated a decrease in intraocular eye pressure, keeping problems associated with the inner eye to a minimum (Nadelman). Another medical use of THC is with cancer patients. With many forms of cancer the patient suffers from extreme cases of nausea, patients that were given doses of THC suffered much less nausea symptoms.
This shows that if marijuana was legalized that it could be used as a medical treatment. Medical costs in Canada are sky high, and grow at a rate much higher than normal inflation. Using marijuana as treatment for many cases could result in fewer problems in the future and a cheaper form of medication. If marijuana was legalized the medical field would save lots of money.
If marijuana was legalized to capture its full economic potential the government should regulate and sell the product. If the government were the only supplier of marijuana it would help in many ways. First, the product would be much cleaner; many forms of the drug on the street are laced with other substances and handled with very little care. The product would be pure and kept free of all other toxins. Another way that it would help is in the price. The price of marijuana is very high because of the risks involved in distributing it. The simple fact is that marijuana is a weed, being very easy to grow. A small investment in greenhouses can produce hundreds of pounds of marijuana a year. If the price dropped four times its current street value ($20 for 5 grams to $5 for 5 grams) the government would make a gigantic profit off of its
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