Marijuana Legalization essay

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Marijuana, cannabis, or hemp is among the oldest psychoactive plants that man has ever known. It has a history that dates as far as 6000 BC when the cannabis seeds were used as food in the early Chinese traditions. The hemp plant has been used by people for making fabrics, ethanol fuel and even ropes. Today's society perceives marijuana as an illegal drug that leads to an increase to crime rate. In the United States the Whitehouse laws state that "Trafficking in illicit drugs tends to be associated with the commission of violent crimes". Such perceptions coupled with the many false myths have discredited marijuana for many years overshadowing its many benefits to mankind. This is why I think that marijuana should be made legal (Akbar, par 1)There is really no good reason as to why marijuana should be illegal. People should stop asking why marijuana should be legalized. And instead ask why should it be illegal? Individuals always deserve the right to make their own choices. The government only comes in to limit those choices if the action emanating from them endangers someone else. This is not the case with marijuana as the individual using it does so according to his or her own free will. The government can also intervene if the action threatens an individual's well being, but this does not apply to the case of marijuana because it poses little danger to an individual as compared to other legal drugs. Alcohol for instance is the most life threatening, it alters an individual's mind and also impairs a person's motor skills. It destroys the liver and generally affects the whole body. Take for example; a little alcohol impairs the ability of a driver to operate a vehicle putting the lives of road users in danger. This clearly shows that alcoholics posses much more danger to the society than marijuana but ironically it is legal. Another dangerous drug that is readily available is cigarettes. They not only kill the smokers but also people around them. They also cause oxygen depletion. The only viable reason as to why they have not been banned is because the government is reaping a fortune from them in terms of tax revenues. It defeats logic for a government to legalize such dangerous drugs while it prohibits the use of much less harmful drugs such as marijuana (Lanier par. 2).In America there are millions of regular smokers and many infrequent pot smokers. Pot smoking over the years has clearly shown that it has fewer dangerous and hazardous effects on individuals and society as compared to many legal drugs leaving many wondering why it should remain illegal. In fact the marijuana illegality has not helped but accelerates its use. Marijuana prohibition has greatly failed to control its use and production domestically. The use of criminal penalties by the government to prevent the use of marijuana for many years has not helped. Over 25 million US citizens use marijuana annually, making cannabis to be the largest US cash crop currently. Those who claim that the marijuana prohibition policy has been a success should stop lying to the people by using unsupported facts. If their goal is to reduce consumption of drugs, then they should direct their focus on honest and open programs in which they can educate the youth, keep drugs away from teens by regulation and treatment programs to those with problems in use of drugs. The current prohibition measures do not allow for these reasonable measures especially in regard to marijuana, instead what is seen are lies being spread in schools by police on drug use and policies that only result in jail terms for drug users instead of treatment. People should have learned a lesson from what was seen in the attempt to prohibit alcohol and avoid making the same mistake (Rosenthal 237).
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In the US, most of the arrests made for marijuana possession disproportionately affect the blacks and Hispanics, this enhances people's perception that the enforcement of the law is prejudiced and biased towards minority groups. The US population is made up of 13% of African-Americans; out of these 13.5% are annual marijuana users. They account for 26% of all US marijuana arrests mainly for smoking marijuana in public. The failure by law enforcement institutions to demonstrate that marijuana laws can be fairly enforced without regard to race calls for legalization of this drug (Jerry par. 7)

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If the government puts in place a legal marijuana market that is regulated, this will help reduce the sale of marijuana and its use among teenagers. It will also help reduce the exposure of teenagers to other drugs in the illegal market. Marijuana illegality makes it even more valuable, as this provides opportunities for the youth to make easy money by illegally selling it to their friends. Legalization of marijuana will end these excessive profits thereby reducing the incentive that attracts teens into this business. This can be seen from the use of other substances, alcohol and tobacco are problems among the teens but their legalization has made it impossible for these teens to engage in their sale. A lot of many flow out of the American economy through illegal selling of marijuana, if this sale is made legal, it will reduce the flow of a lot of money from the American economy to criminal gangs in other countries. Foreigners capitalize on the illegality of marijuana by cultivating and smuggling it to the US making huge amounts of money in the process. This sees billions of dollars sent overseas in underground economy impacting negatively on the productive economic development of the United States.When one looks at matters of justice, marijuana is too expensive to the US justice system. To reduce these expenses, it should be taxed to support government programs that are beneficial to the state by legalizing it. Law enforcement authorities should concentrate on other important responsibilities other than arresting 750,000 marijuana users annually. The government spends billions chasing innocent and peaceful people whose only problem is because they like getting high. They end up locking them in prisons adding burdens to the taxpayers because they will have to foot the bill. In prisons these people eat, they are housed, treated and the attorneys have to be paid not forgetting court costs and other expenses incurred in locking these people up. This is very much expensive; billions can be saved each year if these arrests are stopped by legalizing marijuana (Tom 17)People should look at the positive attributes of marijuana like its medicinal value and its use as a recreational drug that has relatively milder side effects. Many people who use marijuana do so from an informed decision that it is good for them, especially those suffering from serious ailments. It provides relieve from pain, spasticity, nausea and many other symptoms that conventional treatments have not succeeded in addressing. Marijuana is preferred over alcohol by many Americans as a mild and moderate way of relaxation. Many Americans use cannabis because they have chosen to and mostly this is because they have observed that the drug has relatively a low dependence liability and side effects that are easy to manage. Most of them develop tolerance to the side effects and those who find it difficult can comfortably chose to quit with no problems at all. People decide because they know that the benefits of marijuana use far outweigh the risks especially keeping in mind that the greatest risks for using marijuana in the US is the relatively low risk of arrest.No matter how long it will take to be realized, marijuana users are determined to stand up and oppose the injustice that comes with the marijuana probation until they accomplish its legalization. This can be seen from their persistence in their support for its legalization despite the many arrests, punishments and sanctions. These people have refused to give up the long quest for what they see as justice because they believe in the values that are fundamental to the American society. Prohibition has not achieved anything in silencing marijuana users despite all the attempts over the years. The only solution is to legalize it because the users will keep on fighting for its legalization until they succeed. If the society continues being close minded about the marijuana case, it will gain nothing but hurt the economy more. Crime increase is not due to marijuana use but due the ignorance of people about the facts which makes them be swayed by the false propaganda that is spread by the anti drug campaigners. It is high time that people opened their minds and welcomed the riches and pleasure that will be found when marijuana is legalized. Once the facts are known and understood, it will be clear that the marijuana laws in America real need reform (high times p.3)

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