Praise the Weed


On January 16, 1920, alcohol consumption officially became prohibited in the United States following the 18th amendment. As healthy as it sounded, it aroused several conflicts. People constantly tried to find loopholes in the law and obscenely drank alcohol. The demand caused the formation of a new breed of gangsters, who smuggled alcohol from other countries into the United States, and opened secret bars. Due to such a problem, the government hired more law enforcements who raided the secret bars and arrested smugglers, but unfortunately, they often fell for bribery. Tension rising, the government ratified the 21st amendment on December 5, 1933, which repealed the 18th amendment. Once again, alcohol was legal, thus solving the various problems originating from the alcohol ban in society. Similarly, marijuana has the same problem. It will not be approved for legalization and many are opposed to it. However, it could have some benefits if the government gave it a change. Marijuana should be legalized because it is justified.

Having marijuana, a drug seemingly dangerous and immoral, legalized would not be a very big menace to society and in some cases can be quite beneficial. It supports the idea of giving people personal freedom. If people are allowed to perform unhealthy activities such as overeating and self-starving, I don’t see any reason why marijuana shouldn’t be smoked recreationally. Although a negative stigma surrounds marijuana, abortion and smoking tobacco are commonly practiced and legal, so, really, marijuana isn’t as unethical as people make it seem to be through this perspective. Also, this rebellion is expanding as, “cartels have boosted their production by a whopping 59 percent” (4). Clearly, marijuana is in popular demand. Why not do like the repealment of alcohol prohibition and make marijuana legal? The world is not perfect and we all as a society have to accept it. Some people will do the wrong thing, and it can’t be helped. Marijuana being an inappropriate choice, should also be lawfully allowed.

Correspondingly, legalizing marijuana could also boost the economy. It has been reported, “drug cartels’ profits are between $18 and $39 billion annually”(4). Unemployment rates have been rising so this would be very beneficial for the general public. All this money would also benefit the government because they could be placing a hefty tax on it. Instead, they are just letting the opportunity of an increase in the economy go because to them in this controversial situation, ignorance is bliss.

Furthermore, smoking marijuana would essentially still be a choice. Many people argue that marijuana should not be legalized because it is addictive and can take over free will. I admit that that is a true statement. However, “compared with tobacco, which hooks about 20% to 30% of smokers, marijuana is much less addictive, coming in at 9% to 10%” (1) Evidently, Tobacco causes a larger amount of people to become dependent to it rather than marijuana. The commonly used drug, which can be seen smoked everywhere, has higher potential of causing addiction. Judging by these results, it should be tobacco that should be illegal and not marijuana.

Additionally, marijuana does not necessarily affect the brain like tobacco does. A recent study revealed marijuana smokers who began in their teens, “lost an average of 8 points in IQ between age 13 and age 38,” but “those who started smoking marijuana in adulthood did not show significant IQ declines” (2). Clearly, it is not a good idea to smoke marijuana at a young age, but then again, teens shouldn’t smoke anything. The concern over teens’ brain development is ultimately in the hands of teens themselves. It’s their job to have proper judgment. If the youth of today had been taught moral ethics, they’d have no reason to want to try it. As for the unethical teens, many will try it, legal or not, so, really, not much can be done to solve that problem by making marijuana illegal. On the other hand, it is not significantly harmful to the brain if the smoker is an adult, which is the adequate age to smoke. Contrary to tobacco, it does not absolutely change the brain. I find it to be hypocritical of the United States to not give marijuana legalization an opportunity.

In the end, no matter what is done, some people will try and sell marijuana, legal or not. It is a fact society needs to accept. Marijuana is unstoppable. Just like any other crime, the sale and consumption of marijuana just can’t be fully terminated. The most recent crime statistics show that, “marijuana possession arrests totaled 663,032” (3). Many people should not have to be arrested for owning a drug similar to that which most people legally use. It would be a lot easier for marijuana to just be legalized, as crime rates would drop, thus causing less people to be arrested and causing less trouble for the police. I’m not insinuating the authorities should have an easier job, but just merely that it’s unnecessary for so many people to be arrested for something like that, which then just brings more trouble. The government should not be allowed to have someone imprisoned for harming themselves unless psychological problems were the cause, but if that were the case, help would be given.

Most importantly, attention must be given to those who suffer because of prohibition of marijuana. U.S. officials discovered “ marijuana smuggling has contributed to 35,000 deaths along the border” (4). Although it can be alleged that it is their fault because they chose to participate in the event, we need to think about the motivations behind the smugglers’ actions. We don’t know whether they did it because they were forced to or just merely did it to supply for their family. Many hasty generalizations are made towards these people yet it isn’t necessarily always their fault. Chiefly, thousands of people are dying because marijuana is illegal and they must find a way to distribute it. It isn’t reasonable to have all these deaths occur when they can be avoided.

Taking into consideration that it would still be regulated and that other activities cause similar health effects, marijuana should be legalized. Can’t the United States act like the democracy they claim to be and listen to the voices of many who want marijuana legalized? Undoubtedly, the erasure of the alcohol prohibition act did alleviate society. The government should take a risk like they did with alcohol and allow it to be constitutionally used. I’m not encouraging the consumption of marijuana, but I do want justice for those who choose to use it. With regulations incorporated, marijuana can still be held under control. Also, marijuana legalization evidently can bring a lot of advantages. In the end, it is always up to society to shape the future of the future generations. Whether marijuana will be made widely spread and cause harmful effects to many, it is ultimately up to the people. However, it should be allowed for those who choose to smoke it. It is their life and they should know what is good for them. Some can be responsible and others won’t. Let the people do what they want with their bodies. We’re already doing it with other drugs; why not permit marijuana as well? It’s a fair decision.

 

References

  1. Szalavitz, Maia. “Is Marijuana Addictive? It Depends How You Define Addiction | TIME.com.” Time. Time, 19 Oct. 2010. Web. 3 May 2014.
  2. National Institute of Drug Abuse. “DrugFacts: Marijuana.” National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA). Nation Institute of Drug Abuse, n.d. Web. 4 May 2014.
  3. Thomas, Pierre, and Ely Brown. “‘Nightline’ Granted Exclusive Access to U.S. Drug Enforcement Officials, Learns Mexican Drug Cartels Trying to Expand Marijuana Shipments to the U.S..” ABC News. ABC News Network, 28 June 2011. Web. 5 May 2014.
  1. Thomas, Pierre, and Ely Brown. “‘Nightline’ Granted Exclusive Access to U.S. Drug Enforcement Officials, Learns Mexican Drug Cartels Trying to Expand Marijuana Shipments to the U.S..” ABC News. ABC News Network, 28 June 2011. Web. 5 May 2014.
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