The Land of the Free, and…Blazed?
Since the day he was born, ten year old Colorado resident, Zaki Jackson has suffered from a rare form of epilepsy that causes him to have up to one thousand uncontrollable seizures a day, a majority of which leaving him violently convulsing and unable to breathe. After ten long years and seventeen different trial medications later, Zaki’s doctor offered his parents one last attempt at giving their child a somewhat normal life, a medical prescription for marijuana. The strain of marijuana Zaki now takes is called cannabidol, and since taking his very first dose of the strand, Zaki has been completely seizure free. But what if Zaki did not live in Colorado where marijuana is legalized? What if instead, he lived in New York? There are thousands of kids just like Zaki that suffer from illnesses that could possibly be treated with the drug, but if they do not live in a state where marijuana is legalized, are they simply out of luck? These are the type of questions that spark the debate of the legalization of marijuana, and what makes the question to legalize or not to legalize one of the most popular topics in the United States. There are many arguments that can be made supporting the legalization of marijuana throughout the country. First, it is important to remember that marijuana is not as harmful as other legal drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol. Think of the number of people that statistically die each year from alcohol poisoning, car accidents caused by alcohol, and other events related to being under the influence. Think of the amount of people that die from lung cancer each year, a disease directly caused by smoking cigarettes and using tobacco. The numbers are in the millions, yet you can walk to any gas station in the country and pick up a pack of cigarettes and a bottle of vodka at any time of the day. There are zero documented cases of people overdosing on marijuana, for the fact that it is almost impossible to do so, yet it remains illegal. On the contrary, there are many beneficial qualities to marijuana. Marijuana use, as seen in the case of Zaki Jackson, can help control and even stop epileptic seizures. It is used to treat the eye disease glaucoma, to decrease anxiety, to ease the painful symptoms of an illness known as multiple sclerosis and even help people going through chemotherapy (Jennifer Welsh, Business Insider). Another thing to consider in the argument for the legalization of marijuana is the idea discussed in article “Wake up and Smell the Marijuana” that “the legalization of marijuana will actually help solve the problems of our youth, not create one”. Where the author argues that a lot of the time teenagers experiment with marijuana as a way of rebelling. If marijuana is legalized, it will not have that same “allure” as the article states. It would be the same as buying a water bottle, or gum or any other item you can find at your local grocery store. The author believes that legalization might take the glamour and excitement out of trying marijuana in the first place, and the use of it among kids and teenagers would actually go down, instead of shoot up like most people think will happen if marijuana is legalized. Another idea argued in the article is that if kids that already use marijuana regularly, about 40% according to Business Insider, had legal access to it, they actually might not use other more harmful drugs such as tobacco and alcohol as much as they do now. Drinking under the age of twenty one is common, but it is still illegal. Honestly speaking, why would anyone choose to do something that is illegal to cause themselves to feel something that can be achieved by something that is not illegal? Lawmakers themselves are asking themselves this question. The economic side of this debate serves as a final argument for the legalization of marijuana, in that that making marijuana legal would lead to