October 17, 2013
The debate for the legalization of marijuana is a touchy subject for some, but is becoming more and more prominent and open in today’s society as old fallacies are proved false, and new discoveries prove this substance to be beneficial. Abraham Lincoln once stated that “to control a man’s appetite by legislation makes a crime out of things that are not crimes…”. While this quote was in reference to prohibition, it can be applied to the legalization of marijuana in a very real sense. The criminalization of this substance is wasteful of law enforcement, government resources, and the tax-payers hard earned money. While it can be argued that there are indeed some short term and/or long term harmful effects of marijuana, the benefits of legalizing it simply outweigh the cons. Through the examination of the benefits of this substance and through comparison to other substances such as alcohol or tobacco along with analysis into the gateway drug theory, an educated stance can be taken towards this debate.
Marijuana is undeniably a medicine, and has been so for centuries. It has been proved through countless studies to relieve stress, help asthma patients (administered through cannabis pills), and many other illnesses. A study conducted by doctors of the University of Oxford found that medical cannabis is very effective as a common “pain reliever” in that studies showed reduced response to pain on a brain which had been affected by THC. Many people argue that medical marijuana is simply a front for making it legal for recreational use and making more readily available. I do in fact agree with this assumption to a certain extent. While it has indeed been proven to have medical properties, people tend to abuse this fact to bend the truth and simply have easier access to marijuana to use for their own personal wants. This idea that medical marijuana is simply a sham and it just used for easier access really all depends on the maturity level and personal integrity of the users. I believe that if you have a true illness that can be affected in a positive way by medical marijuana, then by all means use it. However, if you are using medical marijuana irresponsibly, then that is just abusing the circumstance. These people should simply wait until marijuana is legalized for recreational use. Marijuana for medical use is still argued upon, so it is only understandable that the legalization of marijuana for recreational use is an even bigger leap in the American people. The term recreational use is somewhat broad. Does recreational use mean that it should be allowed any place and any time of the day? Does it mean that it will be legal for use in specifically designated areas such as bars or private residences? This is still being debated on because it is still a new concept, at least for marijuana. In my eyes, marijuana should be put somewhere between the legal recreational standards of tobacco and alcohol. I don’t agree that you should just be able to “light up” wherever you want in society. There should be areas similar to hookah lounges or specified bars in which you are allowed to smoke cannabis. And of course, if made legal for recreational use, you would be allowed to smoke in your private residence. Now, another point being made is that if you aren’t allowed to smoke in public, will you be allowed to be high or “under the influence” in public. Obviously, law prohibits someone being intoxicated over a certain extent with alcohol while in public, so should we follow the same guidelines with marijuana? I believe that if marijuana were legal for recreational use, we should abide by the same rules as with alcohol, except that the tolerance level would be much higher. I say this because it has been proven that your coherency level while intoxicated with alcohol as opposed to marijuana is…