A question that has been asked for decades: should the recreational use of marijuana be legalized in the United States? There has been a power-struggle over the answer to this question for many years, and all that has come of these intense struggles is the legalization of recreational marijuana in three of the fifty states. Here is the short answer: marijuana should be legal everywhere. Here is the long answer: there are many things to consider, but marijuana should be legal.
And there are, in fact, countless things to consider. Marijuana is far from harmless, but it is far less dangerous than the majority of drugs. Marijuana is already used as medicine for numerous ailments. Marijuana is not physically addictive, and those who actually do manage to get addicted make up a tiny minority of those who have even tried it. The list goes on and on, but these are the major issues that must be considered.
(1) Marijuana is a highly addictive gateway drug. This statement is false, yet it is used as a “legitimate” claim by numerous sources. Here is the truth: marijuana has no additive based on its chemical substance. Some people cannot handle it and become addicted, but those make up approximately 9% of those who have tried it at all. 40% of Americans have already admitted to using marijuana at least once. Approximately 35% of those people tried it more than that.
9% or .09 x 35% or .35, equals .0315, or 3.
15% of Americans who cannot handle their weed and actually have a possibility of getting hooked. In addition, medical studies show that caffeine is more addictive than marijuana. Also, marijuana is not a gateway drug. The use of marijuana does not raise the chance that the user may go on to use harder drugs. This misleading statistic comes from drug dealers who push their clients to buy hard drugs such as heroin or cocaine.
Many people who are currently addicted to hard drugs admit to having started with alcohol and nicotine as their first drug. Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug, so it is one of the basics that most users of harder drugs try out sometime early on. However, experimentation with marijuana is a symptom, not a cause, of harder drugs being used. As stated previously, most hard drug users started with alcohol and/or nicotine, and they subsequently experimented with marijuana, and then went on to the harder drugs like cocaine or heroin. Due to the widespread use of marijuana, it comes as no surprise that it is one of the first illicit drugs that people encounter and experiment with. It does not make it more or less likely that they will go on to experiment with harder drugs, and the argument used by prohibitionists that marijuana is a gateway drug is simply invalid.
(2, 4, 6, 7) Marijuana is already used as a medicine, and at that, it isn’t even an abused medicine. Studies show that more people abused prescription medicine than medicinal marijuana. Marijuana has already been proven to be an effective treatment for glaucoma and Alzheimer’s.
Cancer is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Chemotherapy is a process used to treat some types of cancer. How does it do this? It involves pouring radiation directly into the patient’s body. The radiation has side-effects, and in extreme cases, the side-effects can be even worse than the cancer itself. Marijuana, however, is a consistently effective treatment for many of these side-effects. For example, the radiation caused many cancer patients to lose their appetite. This can lead them to become malnourished and starve. Marijuana does just the opposite.
It produces hunger, returning the cancer patients’ appetites and allowing them to consume the food they need to live healthily. Many prohibitionists argue that marijuana has many negative side effects. They argue that marijuana increases the risk of heart attack. They argue that marijuana can cause cancer and serious lung damage. In fact, the increased risk of heart attack due to marijuana is equal to the increased risk of heart attack due to strenuous exercise.
The chance of getting lung cancer from use of marijuana is minute. Yes, if someone smoked extremely high-potency marijuana in extreme quantity ever day for a decade or more, then yes, there would be a risk of cancer. However, virtually no one smokes marijuana in the quantity or frequency that would increase the risk of cancer by any remotely substantial amount, and no case of cancer has ever been linked to the use of marijuana. However, the theory that there is any cancer risks whatsoever in smoking marijuana is shaky at best. In fact, in a study published in January 2012, the sample group used was far larger and was monitored for a longer time than the subjects in any previous studies. The study found that, surprisingly, while cigarette smokers showed the expected decline in lung function over time, moderate users of marijuana were actually shown to have higher lung capacity than non-users. This shows that smoking marijuana can actually be beneficial to the lungs.
Separately, the study showed that the vast majority of those who smoke marijuana do not inhale it in doses sizable enough to impair lung function. Marijuana even, in fact, can treat asthma as effectively as inhalers. Asthma is due to muscle contractions in the lung caused by a m