Tyler Wyrick Ms. Russo English 165. 25W 11 May 2010 E1 Why Marijuana should be Illegal In society today, many people are looking for a feeling of freedom. Some go on vacation and spend money while others look to drugs. The sense of high that results from using marijuana acts as an escape from the stresses of everyday life. As a result, a tremendous number of Americans participate in the illicit use of marijuana. Our American society is facing a tremendous drug problem that will increase exponentially by the legalization of this drug.
Marijuana should be illegal because it will cause an increase in drug users and drug related crimes, the short term and long term effects of marijuana on the body, and the effect it will have on the country. One of the consequences of legalization would be a tremendous increase in marijuana users. Right now with the use of illicit drugs comes the fear of law enforcement agents and punishment causes individuals to be too scared to try marijuana. However, if weed become legalized, the fear becomes nonexistent and the number of users skyrockets.
Legalized marijuana provides an ease of access to the drug, which in turn, promotes an increase in sales and use. An increase in marijuana use will also result in an increase in drug related crimes. Supporters of the legalization of weed believe that crime and violence would decrease if the drug is legal. Statistics show that forty percent of those arrested for committing a crime tested positive for the use of drugs at the time of their arrest. Making drugs more readily available could potentially propel more individuals into a life of crime and violence.
Many marijuana users turn to crime to pay for their habit. They are stimulated by drugs and therefore act violently. Sold legally, marijuana will become easy for users to buy it around the corner, which would increase the already existing problem of crime. It is mentioned by Forbes that every year drug lords make billions of dollars from marijuana business, and those promoting legalization believe it will wipe out their major sources of funds. Drug use is a matter of supply and demand. As long as demand exists, someone is going to supply it either legally or illegally.
Supporters of legalization believe that if the government regulates drugs such as marijuana by imposing taxes, then the black market will be eliminated. Not many users can afford to buy high priced drugs such as marijuana. As a result, people will be forced to go to drug gangs who sell marijuana under the market price. In addition, children and teenagers will obviously be banned from purchasing marijuana, just as they are prohibited from buying beer and liquor. Nevertheless, there will be drug pushers who will continue to encourage the youth and try to get them hooked to marijuana.
Hence, legalization of marijuana will encourage a growing criminal black market. Marijuana is also very bad for ones overall health. Persistent use will damage lungs and airways and raise the risk of cancer. There is just as much exposure to cancer-causing chemicals from smoking one marijuana joint as smoking five tobacco cigarettes. There is evidence that marijuana may limit the ability of the immune system to fight infection and disease. This drug also causes severe side effects to the brain and body.
Smoking marijuana can cause a person to lose their memory. Marijuana also has many short-term psychological and physical effects. These reactions usually last for three to five hours after a person has smoked marijuana. The psychological reaction, known as a high, consists of changes in the user’s feelings and thoughts. Mainly THC causes such changes. Many people usually smoke marijuana in cigarettes or pipes, but it also can be mixed with food and beverages. The concentration of the marijuana can affect how a person reacts to using the drug.
The effects of a marijuana high vary from person to person and from one time to another in the same individual. In most cases, the high consists of a dreamy relaxed state in which users seem more aware of their senses and feel that time is moving slowly. Sometimes however, marijuana produces a feeling of panic and dread. The different reactions result partly from the concentration of THC in the marijuana. Other factors such as the setting in which marijuana is used, the user’s expectations, personality, and mood also affect a person’s reaction to the drug.
Long-term effects of marijuana are not completely known, but studies have shown that some people who have used marijuana regularly for several months or longer have developed serious long-term problems. Among males, marijuana use can reduce the production of sperm and the male sex hormone testosterone. Among females, marijuana can cause menstrual irregularity and reduced fertility. Extended use of marijuana also has a long-term psychological effect on many people. These individuals lose interest in everything. They become unmotivated and detached. Another impact on health is that marijuana is a gateway drug.
People that smoke marijuana for the first time feel that bringing themselves to actually try pot is the hardest part. Once an individual’s nerves are now calm about trying marijuana, they will now find that trying harder drugs won’t be as difficult to think about. Once their attitude on drug use is changed people will not hesitate to experiment with new harder drugs just as they did with marijuana. The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University found adolescents who smoke pot 85 times more likely to use cocaine than their non–pot smoking peers. 0 percent of young people who use marijuana before they turn 15 later go on to use cocaine. A user of marijuana will eventually want to feel a new or better high causing them to resort to drugs that have much more of a negative effect on the body. Not all drug users will immediately begin using heroin, but once they are taking drugs it is very difficult for them to quit. For some, it will begin with simple painkillers and then possibly cocaine. With each step further into the world of drugs the user will find it harder to return. The high becomes an escape from reality.
It becomes a release from the pressures of everyday life. With time, the period between highs becomes shortened due to the inability for users to face daily tasks. Soon, they become addicts living for the next high. Why? Because marijuana, a “harmless, organic drug,” opened the door to more possibilities. Next, legalization is neither a reasonable nor rational policy for this country. One of the biggest concerns about the legalization argument is the mixed message it sends to our young people. The legalization will imply a nonjudgmental attitude about drugs.
The public’s attitude must change toward drugs and focus on prevention and treatment of drug abuse while maintaining the laws that make the drugs illegal. By focusing time and resources on the dangers of marijuana use, we are setting ourselves up for a better society as a whole. Reducing societal acceptance of weed use would allow Americans to raise a generation that could make a healthy contribution to the country. Then, the thought of job opportunities could be an issue. Think about the hundreds of thousands of others who are daily and heroically involved in the continuous war on drugs.
Police officers, who are constantly meeting their quota by busting marijuana related crimes, would now have to sit back and watch the future of America get high on the streets hoping they wont continue on in to the drug world. Marijuana is illegal for many reasons. Most of the people that are pro-legalization will not use it for medical use or are at all interested in this nations economy. The ugly truth is that most want it legal merely because they want to use it. The drug problem America faces now would severely increase if marijuana were legalized.
Health bills would go up due to medical issues involving weed, drug related crimes would increase, and legalizing the drug would change America’s attitude on drugs completely and open the door to drugs far worse than weed. The war on drugs would just be getting started.