Essay about Legalization of Marijuana

Submitted By ratcliffe9
Words: 5369
Pages: 22

Tracy Ratcliffe
Research Paper
Legalization of Marijuana

The Pro's & Con's of Legalizing Marijuana: A Look at Both Sides of Reason

To say that marijuana has been given a bad reputation over the past few decades is an understatement. If you’re like most Americans, you have been led to believe that marijuana is a dangerous and addictive drug that has destroyed the lives of millions of teens and adults. You have been encouraged to believe that marijuana causes lung cancer and is a “gateway” to harder drugs. The government has even tried to convince you that most people who use marijuana are losers who sit around on couches all day doing nothing. Today, I'm going to discuss why none of that is true, and how America is on an inevitable track to legalization in all fifty states. I would like to present an open minded debate and look at both the positive and negative effects of short term and long term use among teens and adults. I will begin by discussing the original laws about pot, and how casual use was once the norm until the U.S. government began spreading paranoia and fear. I feel that the main problem is that many people are still severely misinformed with marijuana. Even today, people still believe things about marijuana that are grossly untrue. I will also discuss how marijuana can even be used to help treat diseases, and how legalization would mean scientists could openly study why marijuana has these health benefits. I would like to state that, much like alcohol, weed is meant to be enjoyed and treated as a drug. Results are best when used responsibly, but this does not mean that long term marijuana use cannot become problematic. I believe that if marijuana is legalized, that there will need to be programs that encourage the spreading of true, proven information and safety tips, much like D.A.R.E but not using fear as a main scare tactic. I strongly believe that alcohol and cigarettes are much more dangerous, addictive and harmful in the long run, yet are still legal and hardly receive any criticism from society. Legalization would also mean more jobs in the market, and much more money from taxing it. Recent surveys show that even in the more conservative states, people are pro-legalization. The states that have already legalized or decriminalized it have seen quite a dramatic decrease in spending on police (arresting people on petty charges). This, along with many other reasons is why weed should be legalized already. There are many positive results that would occur if legalization were to happen, and very few negative consequences, which if used responsibility, (the way that alcohol Should be handled) would be far less dangerous than alcohol. There are very few other negative effects that legalized weed would have, but because marijuana has had such a bad rep for so long, is America finally ready to change its mind and accept marijuana for what it really is?. Weed hasn't always been illegal in the United States. In fact, laws that prohibited the use of marijuana didn't come around until the early 20th century. American production of hemp was encouraged by the government in the 17th century for the production of rope, sails, and clothing. (Marijuana is the mixture of dried, shredded flowers and leaves that comes from the hemp plant, it can be used to make wide varieties of clothing, bags and smoking accessories). In 1619 the Virginia Assembly passed legislation requiring every farmer to grow hemp. Hemp was allowed to be exchanged as legal tender in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Maryland. Domestic production flourished until after the Civil War, when imports and other domestic materials replaced hemp for many purposes. Up until the 19th century, the smoking of hashish, or cannabis was sort of a fad in France, and eventually made its way to the United States. After becoming widely popular, it became a reoccurring ingredient in many medicinal products and was sold openly in public pharmacies. It