To legalize or not to legalize

The drug debate

The marijuana industry is on the rise, especially in today's youth. It is many people's beliefs that the legalization of marijuana would be detrimental to society. However, if you look at statistical data and current medical studies, marijuana has many medical benefits. It has also proven to be a much safer drug than most legal drugs on the market. Among cannabis users there are little to no dangerous side effects. In my opinion, marijuana should be legalized, but controlled like other drug substances. There should be laws on age, consumption amounts, and designated areas for use. The following information will explain my theory further.

Humans tend to want what they cannot have. Teens, and adults, when forbidden to have something can be just like children when told "no" by their parents. They will do anything to get what they want, even if it is unlawful. It is my belief, there is a possibility to cut down on youth cannabis users and illegal drug use through the legalization of marijuana.

Alcohol, caffeine, nicotine, and pill forms of cocaine, speed, and heroine are legal. These drugs have proven to be more harmful to the human body and less useful in the medical field than marijuana. Comparison studies have shown that alcohol causes significant harm in both the short and the long terms. It is known to be directly responsible for several life threatening conditions, such as cirrhosis of the liver, cardiovascular disease, and several forms of cancer, and yet it is legal. According to recent medical research, marijuana is not responsible for any such diseases. It actually has been found in recent large sample studies to offer a small benefit against head, throat, and neck cancers. (Science Daily 2006.05.26) There has never been a single death attributed to marijuana, but there are tens of thousands of deaths each year worldwide due to alcohol use. (Drink, Drugs, and dependence from Science to Clinical practice) When comparing the negatives with the positives of both drugs, marijuana has over 50% more positive benefits than alcohol. Wouldn't it be rational to believe we could legalize marijuana using the same laws and stipulations as alcohol? This could cut down on underage use and give those opposed a sense of safety to legalize marijuana. It makes no sense to ban a drug that has more medical benefits and is less harmful, but to legalize drugs that do more harm that good.

Statistics show that marijuana use is up among teenagers age 12-17. Studies have proven that marijuana use in today's youth can have an adverse effect on brain function. (teen.drugabuse and sciencedaily) However, the use of medical cannabis in older patients actually can help improve brain function. By placing age restrictions on cannabis use, and making it harder to obtain, we might be able to lower these statistics among teens.

Unfortunately, there will always be those who break the law. It is sad we cannot stop drug abuse or cure addiction completely. Continued education, medical advisories, and state and federal laws are a must for legalization to take place. In my opinion, legalizing marijuana would be more of a benefit than a hinder. My stand in the drug debate is to legalize cannabis.

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