The Legalization of Marijuana for All Purposes

Drugs are major problem in our society today. Although the Canadian
government has taken measures against drugs, in stiffening laws concerning the
cultivation and trafficking of drugs and various media awareness programs, the
problem continues to get worse. The government is exercising many options to
control the problem or even solve the problem. It seems as if the "war on drugs" is a
futile war or at least next to impossible to win. The government should consider using
different options than ones they have used in the past. The legalization of softer drugs
like marijuana should be considered as one option. Some people may feel that this
would lead to a sharp increase in its use, but it might be worthwhile because it would
reduce the amounts of money spent on government enforcement of current laws, if
taxed, it could increase our country\'s revenue. The government could then focus on
cracking down on the harder drugs like crack and heroine.

The government should also legalize marijuana because of its several medicinal and
industrial purposes. Legalizing hemp based products could create a whole new
industry. Fuels can be made by extracting oils from seeds and the hemp fiber could be
used to make ropes, clothing, or paper of a higher quality because of the strength of
the fibers.1

Marijuana is the most widely used illegal drug in Canada. Four million Canadians have
used marijuana, including 1.4 million teenagers.2 The large number of users can
probably be explained by the drugs relatively low cost and light criminal consequences
for dealing it; when compared with other drugs. Since 1969 about half a million
people have been convicted for possession and use of the drug3. The Canadian
government spends $100 million a year enforcing drug laws.4

The criminalization of marijuana does not prevent people from using it, in fact it makes
the problem worse. People continue to consume marijuana, laws just make it harder
and more expensive to acquire. Since the black market has no regulations the
consumers of drugs have to trust their dealers. What\'s particularly dangerous about
black market drugs is that they can be mixed with other drugs or chemicals and can be
contaminated with pesticides. When banning the use of marijuana the government also
bans drug paraphernalia that impedes the production and marketing of water pipes and
other more advanced technology that could reduce the harmfulness of the marijuana
smoke.5 Since the price of marijuana is higher than it would be if it were legalized it is
less economical to eat, which is the best way to avoid the harmful smoke; this is
because it takes two or three times more marijuana when eaten to produce the same
high when smoked.6

The use of marijuana has steadily declined since 1979, and an Addiction Research
Foundation survey in 1987 showed that four of every one hundred Canadians between
the ages of 18 and 19 use marijuana on a daily basis.7

The decline in the number of marijuana users since 1979 is probably a result of
numerous drug awareness campaigns and the publication of other biased information
on the subject. It could also be that hippies are getting older and more responsible.

What is Marijuana?

Marijuana refers to a mixture of leaves, stems and flowering tops of cannabis sativa8.
It has hallucinogenic and pleasure-giving effects on the user when smoked or eaten.
Tetrahydrocannabinal (THC) is the non-narcotic psychoactive ingredient in marijuana.9

Marijuana use has been documented as far back as 3000 BC in Central Asia and China,
where it was used as a folk medicine.10 By the 20th century the drug started to be
used as a pleasure-inducing drug, and by the 1960s and 70s it was, after alcohol, the
second most popular drug in North America.11

Marijuana has never been proven to be physically addictive, but users develop a
psychological dependency. Users experience two phases of intoxication: initial
stimulation, giddiness, and euphoria, followed by sedation and pleasant tranquillity.

When marijuana is smoked the user feels the onset of the "high" within about seven
seconds and within about 30 minutes when eaten. The drug brings the user to a
relaxed and peaceful state, and sometimes to a euphoric state of mind. Hallucinations
can occur when taken in high doses. The effects last between two to four hours after
ingested, and the user can be left in a relaxed state for several hours after ingestion.
Short term memory is inhibited for the duration of the high, and users find it difficult to
concentrate on complicated logical concepts like mathematics.

Marijuana is not physically addictive, and in