Legalizing Marijuana: Sane or Immoral?
Should Marijuana Be Legal?
Since I have tackled two very touching topics in the past with the end of the world and with abortion, I thought I would continue down this path of controversy with marijuana. Since this is another hot button topic, I resolved myself to start this essay with complete objectivity; having been a participant in life for over four decades. I will assimilate and illustrate topics and reasons and establish a plausible conclusion based on the facts. Marijuana is a type of psychoactive, mind-altering drug which creates a euphoria by inhalation of its smoke and by digestion of its ingredients made in foods, used both medically and as a recreation.
Marijuana has many types of slang terms such as the following: MJ, Mary Jane, Grass, Pot, Weed, Ganja, etc.. My favorite is 420, since many parents do not know this term. 420 was the time a certain group of college students would meet to smoke marijuana. I am sure many can come up with other names since there are several. The main psychoactive is THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) from the cannibals plant grown in a specific type of environment. Marijuana can have additional drugs as PCP and LSD added to "amp" up the effects of the THC in the user.
Some immediate physical effects of marijuana include a faster heartbeat and pulse rate, bloodshot eyes, and a dry mouth and throat. No scientific evidence indicates that marijuana improves hearing, eyesight, and skin sensitivity. Studies of marijuana's mental effects show that the drug can impair or reduce short-term memory, alter sense of time, and reduce ability to do things which require concentration, swift reactions, and coordination, such as driving a car or operating machinery.
Now we have the origin, names and type documented, why do we use this drug as a means to become "high" or intoxicated? Well, marijuana, as like with many drugs, are used as an escape from the harshness of reality, from coping with everyday decisions and from accepting responsibility for one's own actions. Mostly, drugs like marijuana are used when there is a social or medical void in a person and drugs will gladly come in and fill the void and make the user feel "normal" and cope with situations. So, using marijuana may not only have a social implication, it might also be used to mask real medical conditions like anxiety disorder, ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder), and other medical conditions.
I have some experience with having a drug user in the family, as with many of families can stipulate in this modern age. My family member had difficulties with school from early childhood, was easily distracted, had behavior problems and had a dominate personality. My family member was introduced to marijuana at the age of 13 and became a frequent user. Since my family member saw the social benefits of acceptance in a specific drug element, he sought to experience more mind altering drugs. After the 25 years of drug use, the following has happened to him: All of his teeth have rotted out of his mouth, he had 5-6 kids (he is not sure and might have more) he has no memory of a majority of those years of drug use, he is a career criminal, spending over 20 years in the court system, but only spending about 5 months in total incarcerated, he has confessed to stealing from every family member, begs for small quantities of money like $5-20 for cigarettes and drugs, and not one family member trusts him, even though he professes to be clean for four years. (I know he was not clean for four years because he tested positive for heroin while in a Halfway House about 2 years ago). The typical drug user becomes an opportunist and a hustler. A mother's grief and a family's secret. We all know this story, unfortunately.
Marijuana is Not Addictive
The main argument for marijuana users are statements marijuana is not addictive and is no less dangerous than consuming alcohol. I could take the argument marijuana is not addictive, but I believe the feeling is addictive. The escape the euphoria gives can easily grow into a habit, such as other habits as over-eating, alcohol, gambling, sex, and lying. There is indulgent behavior and there is moderate behavior, to what point do we label someone addicted? Marijuana is blamed to be a "gateway" drug which leads someone from no use of drugs to a harder type of drug such as PCP, Acid, LSD, Cocaine and Heroin. I agree with the label of gateway drug for marijuana use for many reasons: people engaged in smoking marijuana find it cheaper and more euphoria using a harder substance, which is usually led by alike users which envelop the marijuana social circle, humans always crave more, more money, more assets, more technology, humans are seekers of the ultimate, the perfect...drug users call this type of seeking as "chasing the dragon" trying to achieve that perfect euphoria they once experienced.
Marijuana may not have a physical addiction, but those who claim this are users of the drug, and in using a specific drug, like liquor, cigarettes, prostitution, will defend their practices with logic and reasoning to those who do not engage in such behavior. I will accept a person can not become physically addictive to marijuana simply because those who stop using the drug do not experience withdrawal like symptoms unlike heroin or cocaine use. Since it is a plant, grown from nature, it might be more healthy than smoking cigarettes, but the message sent for legal use of marijuana would be the same consequences as tobacco companies experienced with the deaths of many of those who smoke and/or chew tobacco. The long term effects of marijuana use are found on the ADA fact sheet: Marijuana smoke has been found to contain more cancer-causing agents than is found in tobacco smoke. Examination of human lung tissue that had been exposed to marijuana smoke over a long period of time in a laboratory showed cellular changes called metaplasia that are considered precancerous. In laboratory test, the tars from marijuana smoke have produced tumors when applied to animal skin. These studies suggest that it is likely that marijuana may cause cancer if used for a number of years.
Predictions for Legalization of Marijuana
If marijuana was legalized today, I believe the following will happen: There will be a vice tax place on the distribution of marijuana, the government will make a great deal of money, marijuana will be introduced to those minorities of people who are threatened by its illegal use and will try it, possibly will become a gateway drug for them and could possibly increase the number of those currently addicted to drugs, people will increase criminal behavior to obtain legal marijuana, like what is being done for money for cigarettes, liquor, and other vices. The levels of the THC placed in the legal marijuana might not be enough to satisfy its users who may seek to "amp" up their marijuana with harder and more addictive drugs. There would be an increase of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) cases and possible accident, child neglect, poor grades, poor health, and a laundry list of secondary things which occur with drug users.
In conclusion, I believe there is nothing good which could come from legalizing marijuana. We as creatures seek our comforts at the risk of our health, wealth and welfare, thus, legalizing such a catalyst would do more harm than good. There would be a minority of people who would be able to exhibit control and composure with marijuana use in moderation, but the majority of people have difficulty in exercising control.