LEGALIZE IT


English 102


February 11, 2004


Marijuana has been used by all kinds of people around the world throughout time. Even here in America marijuana has been used by everyone from the Native Americans to promote peace, to “George Washington when he was an early hemp farmer” (http://www.marijuana.drug-culture.com/). Why then must it be outlawed today? It’s just not fair. What could be so bad about a plant? There are many good reasons why marijuana should be legalized, both for medicinal and recreational purposes. The illegality of marijuana is something that desperately needs to be changed. Everyday growing numbers of people are joining to support the cannabis effort and after reading this you will too.


First of all let’s look at the most obvious reason to legalize marijuana, the economy. The United States economy isn’t in the best shape these days, and if marijuana were legalized it would help the U.S. tremendously. Marijuana would become a multi-million dollar industry, bringing in as much, if not more, money than the alcohol and tobacco industries. Not only would the U.S. make money off of the plant itself; spin-off industries such as coffeehouses, tourism, and industrial hemp would also bring in money. With the decriminalization of marijuana the U.S. would also save money on the law enforcement costs of arrests, prosecutions, and imprisonment.


Now that the economy is up let’s look at the other effects of marijuana legalization. With marijuana being sold in stores it would become regulated and therefore become safer for the consumer. Nowadays when you buy marijuana in the streets there’s no way to tell what you’re getting. Lots of dealers mix their marijuana with other more dangerous drugs in order to get their clients addicted. Legalization would put a stop to this and would also help to stop drug related violence. When people buy their marijuana from dealers on a street corner, they take the risk of getting robbed or even killed for their money. With everyone buying their marijuana from stores now, people would be able to purchase their herb virtually risk free.


If bringing up the economy and putting a stop to drug related violence aren’t reason enough to legalize the chronic then let’s take a look at the medical aspects of marijuana. Throughout history people have used marijuana to alleviate pain, stimulate the appetite, and to relax, but marijuana’s purposes don’t end here. Marijuana can also be used to help relieve the symptoms of AIDS, paraplegia and quadriplegia, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, cancer, and glaucoma. With marijuana having all these medical uses, people have to literally break the law in order to treat their symptoms.


Chronic pain can arise from a number of different ailments. Severe pain is usually treated with opioid-derived drugs or a synthetic analgesic. Synthetic analgesics used, such as aspirin, Tylenol, and ibuprofen are often insufficient in alleviating severe pain. Marijuana not only alleviates pain, it also allows for clearer thought and normal activity when compared to alternate pain relieving drugs. According to http://www.whitman.edu/, “Marijuana relaxes the nervous system and allows people to function mentally on a normal basis.” Many people prefer marijuana because it doesn’t have the side effects such as gastric bleeding, ulcers, kidney and liver disease, that some prescription or over-the-counter pills do.


Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is one of the scariest diseases of our time. It causes a break down of the body’s immune system, allowing otherwise harmless pathogens to wreak havoc upon afflicted people. The nauseated feeling that accompanies AIDS cause the patients to be turned off by food and simply stop eating. Synthetic THC (Marinol or Dronabinol) has proven to be effective in treating AIDS patients. “In a study that involved 139 AIDS patients, those patients that took synthetic dronabinol (a cannabinoid) showed marked weight gain but complained of undesirable psychological effects” (http://www.whitman.edu/). Most of the patients said that they preferred smoked marijuana. Zidovudine (AZT) is the best known AIDS drug, but unfortunately it also lowers production of both red and white blood cells, damages the digestive system and can cause severe nausea and vomiting. Marijuana has been shown to counter the nauseating effects of AZT.


Cancer is defined by uncontrolled cell growth that eventually interferes with the rest of the body’s functioning. Cancer is now the number one killer in our nation