Legalize Marijuana?
Drug use among teenagers has doubled since the year 1992. Marijuana is undoubtedly the most popular; the quantity has risen, the price is cheaper, and more people are tempted to start. Illegal drug use and drug related crimes have killed 20,000 Americans yearly (Eldredge). Congress voted on the suggestion to legalize marijuana mainly for medical purposes and their votes concluded 310- 93 against the idea. Nevertheless, out of 100 Americans surveyed on that same concept, 93% of them were for legalization (Schmid). The argument over the legalization of pot for medical purposes or personal recreational use has been an ongoing controversy since 1972 (Nadelmann).
Marijuana is currently the fastest growing in popularity amongst all illegal drugs. It was abused during the 1970- 80s, and is now becoming a bigger problem than before. Reportedly, 1/3 of Americans have admitted to trying marijuana on more than one occasion. Illegal drug production is a larger business than ever before. A big part of it is even produced right here in the United States (Nadelmann).
Yet drug use is not necessarily drug abuse. Although it is not entirely safe, pot is one of the least dangerous psychoactive drugs. A judge from the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) stated, “ Marijuana, in it’s natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active drugs known to man” (Eldredge).
The government struggled with the decision of legalization and eventually decided to go against it (Schmid). Illegal drugs and drug related accidents kill tens of thousands yearly (Eldredge). Also the DEA estimates that Americans would be taxed greatly if marijuana were legalized, because legalization would cost up to $210 billion dollars in societal problems. Marijuana is responsible for destroying lives, tearing apart families, and communicational problems.
96% of youth arrested for crimes tested positive for marijuana. Drug users were 10 times more likely to commit a violent act. 28% of prisoners convicted of murder and 20% of those prisoners convicted of sexual assault were found to be addicted to pot.
And marijuana has shown to be a “gateway” drug, which means it has great potential to lead users to “harder” more potent drugs. Congress also considered the fact that legalizing pot would almost be like an official sanction of safety.
Marijuana can also be a major health hazard. Besides the usual side effects, marijuana does great damage to HIV infected patients. The National Institute of Allergies and Infectious Diseases has proven that those people who are HIV infected and choose to smoke pot develop full-blown AIDS twice as fast.
Despite all these things, the government once tried decriminalization in 1972 and they found the results astonishing. Drug abuse amongst teens grew 71.4 % during this time (McCollum).
On the other hand, many American people are still for the legalization process. They claim that the government, according to previous studies, will raise $21 billion dollars if pot was sold at a regulated price and kept under control.
The citizens feel that drug abuse is a problem that occurs only to the mentally unstable, and not strictly the irresponsible. The results of one test given showed that if pot was to be legalized, the current drug usage rate would not increase nor decrease. Only 2- 4 % claimed they would try pot if it was available and legal.
Right now, the researchers feel that restricting the availability of marijuana leads people on to harder drugs. The theory is if all drugs are illegal an individual will go with the more potent one which is usually more dangerous. Not only are they trying newer drugs, but also bringing their friends into it too simply to afford it. Since pot is illegal, people just abuse worse drugs and drag their friends down with them (Eldredge).
93% of the public decided they would like to see legalization occur, but only under government supervision (Schmid).
The controversy over the legalization of marijuana is still today a political and social battle (Nadelmann). While the majority of the public would like to see it decriminalized and legalized; the government disagrees. Although many people would like it to be, the government is not based entirely on opinion polls (Schmid).
A sizable group of people feel that marijuana is a safe, natural, and herbal product and that as responsible adults they should have their right to use it .