Marijuana....Atleast Itís Not Cocaine

Anorexia, Asthma, Nausea, Pain, Alcoholism, Glaucoma, Epilepsy, Depression,
Migraine, Anxiety, Insomnia, Cancer: These are just some of the diseases that can benefit from
the use of marijuana. Currently, the possession and smoking of marijuana is illegal except in a
few rare instances. It is time that the government gets over the sociopolitical stereotype of
marijuana usage by only hippies and teenagers and start to realize that marijuana has several far
reaching benefits in American society.
The major opposition to marijuana lies in it effects, which have lead to the social stigma.
The physical effects associated with marijuana use include: reductions in co-ordination,
performance and motor function; raised pulse rate; and enhanced appetite. Psychological effects
include a sense of euphoria by regular marijuana users, while intermittent users lose
co-ordination. Essentially, people fear that use of the drug leads to irrational actions by the
users. In all actuality, more people die from drunk driving accidents than do people from the
affects of marijuana. In fact, no one has ever died from the direct usage of marijuana itself; the
same cannot be said of cigarettes. Moreover, scientists rate marijuana the least addictive out of
heroin, cocaine, alcohol, nicotine and caffeine, making marijuana legalization the least of our
addiction worries. Furthermore, many other addictive activities, such as gambling, are legal in
the United States.
Opponents of marijuana legalization also contend that marijuana is a gateway drug; once
people begin to use marijuana, they will move on to harmful drugs such as cocaine or heroin.
This theory is false. The idea of the forbidden fruit argues that people are less likely to desire
something when it is no longer forbidden. Advocates of legalization contend that the lure of
illegality is the major push behind drug usage today especially among teenagers. Once legalized,
this lure is no longer present, and could actually decrease future marijuana usage.
Many people feel that legalizing marijuana allows for nothing more than pure enjoyment
by the user, but this is indeed false. The government stands to be the ultimate beneficiary, if
marijuana were to be legalized. Most importantly, the legalization would allow for the only real
regulations on marijuana to date. The government would be able to regulate the level of THC, in
essence, the potency of the drug. It could also regulate the sale and consumption of the drug.
Moreover, legalization would make the crime of mere marijuana possession a non-issue. No
longer would adults crowd courtrooms and jails with petty marijuana possession charges.
The governmental benefits of legalizing marijuana do not end there. If the government
legalizes the drug, they open up the door to taxation on the sale and importation of marijuana.
The tax money, for example, could be put into federal subsidies for public schools or other
worthwhile causes. The economic benefits of legalizing marijuana are not exclusive to the
United States. In fact, the legalization of marijuana would help improve US foreign relations
with Latin American countries and ultimately boost the economies of such countries. Much of
the marijuana consumed in the United States today is smuggled in from Latin American
countries, which has been a source of great tension for many decades. If the US were to legalize
marijuana, relations between the United States and these countries would be improved through
economic agreements to import marijuana into the US.
Contrary to popular belief, legalization of marijuana will have societal benefits as well.
First, marijuana will potentially decrease gang activity. A major part of gang activity is the
dealing of drugs. If legalized, the most popular street drug (and arguably one of the largest
money-makers for gangs) will be obsolete in the black market. Also, though a black market for
other drugs may still exist, law enforcement can put more of their resources into apprehending
and prosecuting serious drug offenders. In fact, rather than arresting a marijuana offender every
49 seconds, police officers could focus on more serious problems such as sexual assaults or
homicides.
But, the most compelling argument for the legalization of marijuana lies in the individual
benefits. The legalization of marijuana for medical purposes has been widely debated in recent
years, especially after the decisions in California and Arizona to allow marijuana use for some
patients. In fact, 35 states have verbalized desire to legalize the drug in some fashion (mainly
medicinal usage), but the federal government has been unresponsive. Marijuana has been used
in medical practices since 3000 BC. It was the second most prescribed pain reliever in the
United States when it