As soon as the word “drugs” is used, people tend to immediately react negatively.
Marijuana has a negative connotation; it is associated with unsubstantiated facts and is even used as a scapegoat for other drug problems. Because of this, many people have an aversion to marijuana, and they are against legalizing it. However, there are good reasons for the sale and use of marijuana. For one, Cannabis has medicinal properties that can help people suffering from disease. If marijuana is safe enough to be used medicinally, why not also for personal and recreational use? Another strong reason for legalizing marijuana is the positive impact it could have on our economy. Cannabis should be legalized for everyone's use over the age of twentyone.
According to popular belief, marijuana is extremely harmful; however, this is far from the truth. Once informed of the facts, it becomes clear that marijuana is not harmful. For one, marijuana is less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol even though these are both used across the nation and are legal. Marijuana is less harmful because it is a natural herb, and marijuana does not contain chemicals such as ammonia which is found in cigarettes (“Marijuana Facts”).
Both alcohol and cigarettes, legalized products, are actually worse and can even cause many life-threatening afflictions: lung cancer, liver failure and emphysema, to name a few. In sharp contrast, marijuana has not been associated with any kind of cancers ranging from lung to upper
aerodigestive tract. The decision whether or not to legalize marijuana has been influenced by myths. One myth associated with marijuana use is that it causes long-term cognitive impairment.
In a study conducted comparing marijuana users with those who did not use the drug, it was shown that there were no significant differences in the long- term cognitive functions between the two groups (“Facts About Marijuana for Teens”). Another myth is that driving under the influence of marijuana will lead to vehicular accidents. This is also untrue as there is no compelling data that marijuana is related to traffic accidents (“Marijuana Facts”). However, it is a fact that driving under the influence of alcohol does play a significant role in traffic accidents.
To further support the argument to legalize marijuana, according to a recent study, teenagers are replacing alcohol with marijuana. Consequently, it has been reported that there are fewer driving accidents related to drinking, with as much as a 9% drop (Szalavitz). Another misconception is that marijuana is addictive; however, marijuana has not proven to be addictive, unlike cigarettes and alcohol, but it is still falsely advertised as addictive (Williams 34). In order to dissuade young people from using marijuana, society has intentionally emphasized myths over facts, saying that marijuana is addictive when it is not. In fact, in a recent study, it was shown that those who used tobacco actually had a 32% chance of addiction, while those who used marijuana only had a 9% chance of addiction (Gumbiner). When deciding whether or not to legalize marijuana, one needs to realize the facts.
Another reason why marijuana should be legalized is that it has also been proven to help many medical patients with various ailments. Medical conditions include asthma, convulsions, labor pain, dysmenorrhea, neuralgia, rheumatism and tetanus (Williams 36). Medically,
Cannabis can also act as a powerful appetite stimulant for people using medications to help with AIDS and those on chemotherapy. Acting as an appetite stimulant, Cannabis is very
useful to HIV patients because during their illness the patient has virtually no appetite resulting in significant weight loss. In a study conducted by Kotler, Kotler showed that there was an increase in the mortality rate of HIV infected patients with a weight 20% or more below ideal