Legalization of Marijuana
By: Matthew Conod
Many people have come up to me and asked me my opinion on the legalization of marijuana. Well I am against it; I don’t hate the drug and wish it was destroyed. Yes, it has its pros but it also has many cons. There will be more people taking advantage of the drug than actually using it for medical purposes if legalized.
Marijuana has been used for medical purposes for many years. Doctors prescribe it throughout the treatment of arthritis, epilepsy, nausea and Alzheimer’s diseases. Study shows that without tobacco, smoking of marijuana could not harm lungs. It is helpful for the relief of muscular pains especially during paralysis and sclerosis; it also helps in the treatment of HIV/AIDs and other cancer related diseases. It has several positive effects and has been used for centuries prescribed by medical professionals.
Marijuana, medically known as cannabis has numerous damaging effects on mind and body. It is a destructive drug that can cause immediate and extended effects. It directly harms the memory, weakens the coordination and stability of mind. High levels of marijuana can cause frequent memory loss, instability, deceptiveness and fallacy. The effects of marijuana are imparted to the child during pregnancy. The effect on body, it could lower the blood pressure and cause sudden heart attacks. It is also the basis of chronic coughs, immune system, lungs infections and damaged tissues. Once it is consumed, it makes the user addictive and abusive.
It’s a debate that will go on for centuries. Should marijuana be legalized? I want it to be legal for the sake of the people needing it to relieve their pain, but the rest of the population will just take advantage of the drug. I don’t think marijuana should be universally legalized because we aren’t ready for such a big change.
Jenny and George, an elderly married couple, were visiting Orlando to receive cancer treatment. After their treatment was over they returned to their home. At the hotel in Orlando the housekeeping discovered the medication and a bag of marijuana in their room that was left there by mistake. The hotel management knew that this couple was not the stereotypical marijuana user, so instead of calling the authorities the hotel management called Jenny and George about the medication and marijuana that they had left in their room. The couple was glad that they called them and they explained the reason why it was in their possession, which was to relieve the nausea caused by the Chemo Therapy treatment. The hotel management secured the medication for them until they could retrieve it.
These cancer patients are an example of a positive and necessary use for a drug that is also used for amusement, and is more popularly known for the abuse that it attracts. Marijuana is used for medicinal purposes; it is also used for amusement. It has harmful effects to the body and alters personalities, and the drug has a deep historical background, as well. There are economic and environmental issues that support its legalization; and there is a national debate to legalize Marijuana since the finding of its medicinal purposes.
The history of marijuana begins in Asia for medicinal purposes since 2737 B.C. (“History of Marijuana”1). A Chinese emperor Shen Nung used to use marijuana to heal rheumatism, malaria, gout and absent-mindedness. Later in 1545 the Spanish brought marijuana over to America. In 1611 marijuana was introduced to the people of Jamestown and soon was grown alongside tobacco. Later on when prohibition started, it was during this time that marijuana became most popular. During the prohibition people made marijuana clubs and called them “tea pads”. People would use these tea pads as if they were pubs but instead of alcohol they used marijuana. In the 1930’s the U.S. made the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics stop the growth of marijuana. California was the first state to make marijuana illegal in the United States in 1915, and then other states followed. The government originally banned marijuana because of the kind of people associated with it not because of the drug itself.
Marijuana has harsh physical effects to the body. There are about 483 different chemicals in marijuana; some of the main chemicals in marijuana are tetrahydrocannabinol or THC, cannabinoids, nitrogenous compounds, amino acids, non-can phenols. When THC enters the body it activates the reward system and it gives off a chemical Dopamine. Marijuana will increase the heart rate from 70-80 beats per minute to 90-130, or even more beats per minute. As the heart beats away it relaxes the bronchial passage ways and they become enlarged. The blood vessels in the eyes expand and make them look red. After smoking marijuana the chances of heart attack is four times greater than normal. Heart attack is not the only risk from smoking marijuana, it will enhance the risk of schizophrenia, lung cancer, other cancers, and lower the IQ. Marijuana will kill the brain cells and decrease ones hormones; it will decrease a person’s ability to learn, also. Smoking marijuana will give the user excess phlegm and make them cough more than normal.
It is not uncommon for me to have learned of a person or a group I know who have engaged or have been found guilty of using marijuana. From that point on they are seen in a bad light, and they suffer all kinds of consequences for their actions because it is an illegal drug. If they are prosecuted for marijuana use, it could affect them for the rest of their lives because there is a record that follows them. An application for college, a job, or even the military could be denied just because of a pleasurable experience with pot. Sadly and surprisingly, the most popular group of people in our culture that use marijuana is eighth graders, but there are also cases were the parents of the eighth graders use it as well. (“MARIJUANA FACTS…”1). In fact, my dad told me a friend of his that he knew in school whose parents used marijuana openly in front of them while they hung out. He said that he remembers his friend’s parents sitting around in their pajamas watching T.V. and smoking pot. The house was messy, the lawn un-mowed, and they just ignored him and his friend. That is when my dad really learned about marijuana, and he was only thirteen years old.
White people are the most common to use marijuana in the U.S., then blacks, then Hispanics. The amount of users of marijuana has increased 12% from 1979 to 2007 (“Infoplease”2). Marijuana was really made known in the sixties becoming an icon with the “Peace and Love” movement which was a kind of anything goes religion.
Why is marijuana so popular? It is because of what the user feels while smoking it, and it is relatively inexpensive compared to other drugs. The cost of one gram of marijuana is about $20; and a pound of marijuana can cost up to $200 to $4000 depending on the location and type of marijuana sought (“Marijuana”2). There are over 200 different names for this drug; weed, pot, reefer, grass, ganja, dope, Mary J, herb, hash, blunt, roach, and many more. It is reported to make the user feel very relaxed, passive, and un-aggressive. Native Americans are known to have smoked marijuana in their “peace pipes” (note the word “peace”). They are known not to have smoked the drug before a battle, probably because they would lose the motivation to fight.
Marijuana users have a false sense of reality, not very concerned, or worrying about anything. However, when the effects of the drug wares off; obvious personality defects become apparent, such as paranoia, absent mindedness, fear, and panic. A marijuana user is typically lazy, unmotivated, and not ambitious; he will likely not invent anything new and not build a bridge. People high on marijuana are not known to fight, they are likely to say “ehh man it’s cool, whatever”. It is also portrayed as a passive and subtle drug such as alcohol by our pop culture through T.V. shows like; The 70’s show and movies such as Cheech and Chong, Fast Times as Ridgemont High, and the popular comedian Richard Pryor.
Marijuana is used for medicinal purposes also. Marijuana can be used to help the spread of Alzheimer’s, assist with Arthritis, treat Crohn’s disease, reduce the effects of glaucoma, and help reduce the side effects of cancer treatment (“8 reasons why marijuana..”1). During the early stages of Alzheimer’s, marijuana is used to subdue the disease by preventing brain inflammation. It has been discovered that inflammation in the brain can cause several degenerative diseases; and marijuana can prevent those diseases as well. There are more than 31 million people in the U.S. that suffer from Arthritis, and the pain of Arthritis is very difficult to live with. People with this type of Arthritis use marijuana to relieve their pain in their joints. Another disease that marijuana aids is Crohn’s disease. Even though Crohn’s disease cannot be stopped, marijuana can help with the side effects and the pain that it causes. Patients of Crohn’s disease have improved in their health status, their ability to perform daily activities, and their ability to maintain a social life all with the help of marijuana.
Glaucoma is an eye condition that affects the optic nerve and becomes damaged over time, reducing vision. Sometimes glaucoma can even lead to complete blindness; but to prevent the loss of ones vision he or she can lower their IOP (Intraocular pressure) levels using marijuana. But the patient has to use the drug a lot, and the side effects of the great use of the drug causes severe mood swings. Marijuana is also used to help the side effects of chemo therapy and can prevent violent brain cancer. The reason why it prevents brain cancer is because the THC (one of marijuana’s main chemicals) kills the brain cancer cells. Hospitals would even inject THC into cancer tumors of their patients, and after a little time, all of the patients experienced a reduction in their tumors. Scientists also discovered that THC will slow the growth of lung cancer cells.
52% of Americans want to legalize marijuana (“52% of Americans Want to Legalize Weed”1). Much of the proponents who support the legalization of marijuana see it as a subtle drug that is much like alcohol. In fact, it is argued by the proponents that alcohol is a more harmful and dangerous drug than marijuana because alcohol can alter the human personality in a variety of different ways, from rage to depression. Marijuana has really only one personality alteration, which is very light, passive, and relaxed state. As far as it is known, no one has smoked a joint and been driven to kill someone; when on the other hand, alcohol has. Also, proponents argue that the local and national governmental authorities waste billions of dollars investigating and prosecuting the production, selling, and use of marijuana. They argue the legalizing the drug would save millions of tax payer’s money.
In addition to the supporters who use the drug as an amusement, such as the way alcohol is used, there are supporters who see a more practical and legitimate reason that marijuana should be legalized. Marijuana seeds can be used to make rope, and the marijuana plant can be used to make paper and oil, as well. It is argued that if the U.S. legalized marijuana, the government could tax the drug and make billions of dollars in revenue. But most importantly and probably the strongest argument for marijuana to be legalized, is because of the medicinal purposes that have been discovered in recent years. There are people who are ill and they seek and buy the drug illegally, risking prosecution so that they can have relief from their suffering.
Just as there are two sides to every argument, there are naturally two sides for the debate to legalize marijuana. Primarily, the opponents of the legalization of marijuana are of a conservative, right wing, and religious mind set. Their strongest argument is that the drug is a causal drug that is often an introduction to stronger and more detrimental, dangerous, and addictive illegal drugs such as cocaine, crack, crystal meth, heroine, etc. Another reason that opponents are against legalization is that they believe it would become as common as cigarettes, causing some of the same problems that cigarettes cause in relationship to health and social affects. They are afraid of the birth of an industry that could become as large as the tobacco and alcohol industries that feed on people’s weaknesses.
The fact is that there are people who are weak; and there are people who are strong. My opinion is that there are legitimate arguments for both sides of this debate. I think that if I was sick with some dreadful illness, and pot was in some way a remedy for whatever I was suffering from, I would probably not hesitate procuring the drug and using it for relief. Yet, on the other hand, I have no interest in putting something foreign in my body to produce an illusion that removes all sense of reality. And on top of that, I cannot understand why one would willingly do that to their self anyway. We all must not ignore the fact that alcohol is a legal substance as well, and that the abuse of that substance is so wide spread that it could be considered a crises in itself. It is a legitimate question when asked: If alcohol is such a harmful legal substance; then, why is pot not when it is considered not to be as harmful? Both substances have equally harmful health effects, so that cannot be part of the argument.
Marijuana exists, just as everything else we know of; some things are good, and some things are bad; but they exist. I think that the control of the drug is already in place naturally by authorities, who are under the authority by the One (God) who placed it into existence along with everything else. Scripture says that there is a reason for everything in existence; I trust that there is. Scripture also says that all things work towards the good. I trust that it does. But most importantly, I believe that knowledge is the key to understanding how to live a Godly and pure life. Paul writes that God is knowledge, and if man is ignorant; then he is ignoring knowledge (God). And if man is acting on his ignorance, then he will abuse himself in more ways than just smoking pot.
- “History of Marijuana.” Marijuana History. N.p., n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
Infoplease. Infoplease, n.d. Web. 02 May 2013
- “MARIJUANA FACTS: BREAKING DOWN THE MYTHS.” Science World.
17 Oct. 2011:12. elibrary.Web 19 Apr.2013
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- “8 Reasons Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized.” About.com Civil Liberties.N.p.,
n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2013.
- “52% of America Wants to Legalize Weed.” The Altantic Wire.N.p., n.d. Web. 07
How did we end up with obesity becoming the main focus of all health concerns, banning the supersize or Big Gulps in some cities but rolling out the red carpet for marijuana users? We’ve become a society where the obese and the cigarette smokers are considered bad, while people smoking weed are being cheered on. This despite the fact that a marijuana stereotyped user is almost always recognized as unmotivated, low class, degenerate failures.
We can agree that smoking is a dirty habit and has been proven to shorten one’s life while obesity is a potentially dangerous habit that leads to hundreds of thousands of deaths per year, but we want to excuse marijuana use. How many lives are we willing to ruin because a significant number of Americans are pushing for legalization – all in the name of money. There's many reasons why marijuana was made illegal, the only reason alcohol, cigarettes and obesity are legal is because they're so deeply embedded in our society that we can't get rid of them.
There is certainly a financial and human cost to keeping marijuana illegal and we can see it in our prisons. But, there would be an even larger cost to making it legal and that is why I am against legalization of marijuana. People need to understand the truth about the mental and physical harm it can cause to the human brain. Yes, it might help with pain for diseases but it inflicts more harm than good.
She thought she was so cool,
When she was nothing but a fool.
All she had was plans after school,
Getting high and wasting time.
Thinking life's a joke,
As she stands with her friends and smokes.
Although she acts so popular,
Inside she is so lost.
For anyone who thinks getting high is the way to go,
Those are the people I care not to know.
Maybe there's hope for such a young girl,
Who could have so much to offer in this beautiful world.
As for myself I will live a clean life,
And never take my body for granted.
So take my advice and never think twice.
Stay away from drugs and you'll live a great life.
I Dare You....
I dare you to be kind,
Respect your mom and dad.
I dare you not to harm your mind,
Or make your loved-ones sad.
I dare you to be thankful,
For what God gave to you.
I dare you not to be useful,
To drugs that make you be untrue.
I dare you to learn a lesson,
Of never taking drugs.
I dare you not to cave in,
Or pass out on a rug.
I dare you to be faithful,
To thine own self be true.
I dare you not to be full
Of a life that makes you blue.
By: Matthew Conod
Roses are red,
Violets are blue.
Marijuana is bad for me and you.
Some say yes, some say no,
But in the end, we all know.
Truth be told,Marijuana is not the way to go…
Work cited for Artifacts
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"Circle Graph on Legalization of Marijuana - Google Search." Circle Graph on Legalization of Marijuana - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
"Smoking Marijuana: The Long Term Effects." YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
"Don't Legalize Weed!" YouTube. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
"Circle Graph on Legalization of Marijuana - Google Search." Circle Graph on Legalization of Marijuana - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.
"Marijuana - Google Search." Marijuana - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 04 Dec. 2014.