Legalizing Marijuana Essay Example 2



Marijuana is a plant that has been used for centuries to improve the physical and mental conditions of people. Yet, in the eyes of the U.S. government, marijuana is a Schedule 1 drug and is illegal in many states, as opposed to alcohol which is fully legal. As dangerous accidents and medical complications have been proven to result from alcohol consumption more than from marijuana use, the legalization of marijuana should be granted across the nation. Marijuana has been proven to have positive medical benefits, be less dangerous than the government suggests, and also be a positive, less harmful, way to relieve stress. Marijuana is used worldwide for meditation and relaxation purposes. For the betterment of American society, marijuana should be legalized to continue improving all of our well-being.

Laws set in place by ex-president Richard Nixon made it so “the federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance… this means ‘the drug has a high potential for abuse and no proven medical value’” (Cunningham 69). With this classification, marijuana is in the same category as other drugs such as Heroin, LSD, Ecstasy, and other much harder drugs. Even though “data shows alcohol which is legal in the United States, is much more detrimental than marijuana which is illegal” (Goldstein 60). Many people are persistent with saying marijuana is deplorable for all people and tend to bring up “the gateway theory - the idea that marijuana use leads a person to use harder, more dangerous drugs”(Goldstein 55).

Ironically, “in the United States of the Early 1800’s drugstores made their own medical cannabis products and sold them locally” (Goldstein 33). For centuries marijuana has been used for a plethora of different reasons. Also “evidence suggests that smoking cannabis does not increase the risk for certain cancers (i.e. lung, head, and neck) in adults” (“The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.”).  In recent times marijuana in medical fields has “been used to treat nausea in chemotherapy patients.” There is one case where an entire strain was named after a young cancer patient by the name of Charlotte. Charlotte's strain is aptly named “Charlotte's Web” after her and the movie by the same title. When asked why her parents allowed Charlotte to use marijuana for treatment they said: “when we first gave her the cannabis oil, she went from having hundreds of seizures a day to none” (Goldstein 6).  Charlotte went from being severely delayed compared to others her age to catching up and making rapid progress. 

Marijuana helped that young girl change her life for the better, but according to the United States federal government marijuana has “no proven medical value.” Sadly, because marijuana is still classified as a Schedule I drug “ patients and physicians are thus subject to the same federal criminal penalties as any other individuals who produce, distribute, or possess marijuana.” (Cunningham 85) But as you can see with cases such as Charlotte marijuana has obviously had some sort of positive medical effects.  But weed and its effects do have risks such as, “smoking on a regular basis is associated with a chronic cough and phlegm production.”

It is also proven “individuals with a paranoid personality are at greatest risk, along with those who have a family history of psychosis”(Cunningham 13). It is not just a risk for those people “cannabis use prior to driving increases the risk of being involved in a motor vehicle accident”(“The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.”). Also, it can harm the next generation because “smoking cannabis during pregnancy is linked to lower birth weight in the offspring”(“The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and Recommendations for Research.”)

Survey Results

Among those surveyed who feel marijuana should be illegal in Source F, 85 say they think it is bad for young people. On the other hand, it has been proven that “smoking blocks natural chemicals that cause pain, nausea, and euphoria, which leads to the ‘loopy’ feeling”(“American Chemical Society”). This feeling stems from “Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC is the active ingredient in cannabis”(“American Chemical Society”).  Also, the use of marijuana is sort of a catch 22. As per the map in Source E of the 29 states and the District of Columbia, only 9 of those states have legalized both medical and recreational marijuana, and 20 states have legalized only medical marijuana. Within local governments “states are free to experiment with marijuana as they see fit” (Cunningham 69) but in the eyes of the federal government, it is still not appropriate. In short states, laws with marijuana can be, and are, different from the federal laws. You can be following the laws of the state you reside in but if the United States government gets involved you are a full-blown criminal. 

Many people, such as Charlotte's parents, fear using cannabis as to avoid any legal prosecutions. Every day people are arrested for small-time marijuana cases that should not even make it to a court of law. These “criminals” comply with state laws then the federal government steps in and they are all of a sudden caught in a whirlwind of trouble. They also have an ingrained fear for their safety. But with the laws changing in recent times, “there are testing labs all across the country which ensure the safety, and potency of THC before it is sold”(American Chemical Society). The testing labs eliminate the risks with testing methods such as “liquid chromatography” and “gas chromatography”. Liquid chromatography determines the THC levels and gas chromatography is used to “detect pesticides, residual solvents and also mold and mildew” (“American Chemical Society”). 

Hemp, like Marijuana, also contains THC but it has a much lower content of it and therefore is not used in the same ways. Marijuana comes from the Cannabis Sativa plant from which also the plant Hemp derives. Earlier we discussed the psychoactive and medicinal benefits of Marijuana; it’s counterpart Hemp has abilities in other fields. Hemp can be used in the textile industry, beverages, cordage, papermaking. Hemp oil can also be used “to make paints, varnishes, soaps, and edible oil with a low smoke point” (“Hemp”).

Marijuana and Hemp are commonly confused to be the same and put into the same negative category. Many times people assume since Hemp and Marijuana both are forms of cannabis that makes them both psychoactive drugs. Hemp is cultivated different from Marijuana, and as previously stated, used in different ways. Hemp, as opposed to Marijuana, is not used for smoking or get high with. Hemp provides a cheaper and more effective alternative to many other materials.

“Industrial Hemp: A Win-Win For The Economy And The Environment”

According to a Forbes article entitled “Industrial Hemp: A Win-Win For The Economy And The Environment”, “hemp seed, fiber, and oil are still used in raw materials by major companies... to make a wide variety of products.” Even though hemp does not contain the same amount of THC as marijuana making it less common for use in illicit substances, hemp is still illegal. Although “31 states have introduced pro-hemp legislation and 19 have passed such legislation”(“Industrial Hemp: A Win-Win For The Economy And The Environment”).

Hemp seeds are more sustainable and easier to manage than other materials used in the textile industry. Hemp also has a “natural brightness that can eliminate the need for bleaching” (“Industrial Hemp: A Win-Win For The Economy And The Environment”).  Since its illegal most hemp consumers are also subject to federal laws and state laws. If lawmakers pass the bills for lessening Hemp illegality it will be a major economic win for American society. Hemp, being cheaper and more cost efficient will make more jobs, increase fiscal entities, and lessen the prison population. Many jails today are filled with criminals who are charged for marijuana charges which could be wiped clean if marijuana and hemp laws were passed.

In summary, even though marijuana has proven to be extremely more positive than some might suggest it is still illegal according to the US government as a whole. You can live in a state where marijuana is legal but still be performing illegal actions from the governments’ perspective. But with hemp and marijuana legalized our society would have less petty crimes, more economic power, a less strenuous environment, and would see a boost in nationwide satisfaction. Our safety concerns could be eliminated with the many testing methods for marijuana. Americans can produce ample supplies with a cheaper material if we hemp. And finally our medical improvements would sky-rocket. We could be the single most self-sustaining nation on the planet. America with the legalization of marijuana and hemp can lead the globe in life-changing decisions and economic powers.

Works Cited

American Chemical Society, Britannica School,  11 Aug. 2018.  School.eb.com/levels/high/assembly/view/207681 

Britannica, The Editors of Encyclopaedia. “Hemp.” Encyclopedia Britannica, Encyclopedia Britannica, Inc., 6 Dec. 2017, www.britannica.com/plant/hemp

Cunningham, Anne C. “Response to the NYT Editorial Board’s Call for Federal Marijuana Legalization,” By the Office of National Drug Control Policy Staff, July 18, 2014. + Excerpts from “Gonzales v. Raich Case Summary,” By Streetlaw Inc., 2005. + Irrational Basis: The Legal Status of Medical Marijuana,” By Rebecca Dresses, from the Hastings Center Report, November to December 2009. + “Marijuana and Madness: Clinical Implications of Increased Availability and Potency,” By Robin M. Murray from Psychiatrist Times, April 30, 2015. 

Goldstein, Margaret J. “Legalizing Marijuana: Promises and Pitfalls.” Twenty-First  Century Books, Minneapolis, Mn, 2016. The US Libertarian Movement, edited by Michael Ruth, Greenhaven Press, 2016. 

Opposing Viewpoints in context, Https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/ej2220015370/ovic?u=faye99967&sid=ovic&xid=013d98Aa. Accessed 3 Oct. 2018.

“State Laws Regarding Marijuana, Across the United States.” Tribune Content Agency Graphics,2017. Opposing Viewpoints in context, https://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/ofnsve89 62184EU. Accessed 3 Oct. 2017. 

“The Health Effects of Cannabis and Cannabinoids: The Current State of Evidence and

Recommendations for Research.” National Academies of Sciences, Engineering,  and Medicine. 2017. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. Https://www.ncbi.nlm.gov/books/nbk423845/pdf/Bookshelf_nbk423845.pdf. Accessed 03 Oct. 2018.

Yonavjak, Logan. “Industrial Hemp: A Win-Win For The Economy And The Environment.” Forbes, Forbes Magazine, 9 Aug. 2013, www.forbes.com/sites/ashoka/2013/05/29/industrial-hemp-a-win-win-for-the-economy-and-the-environment/#41567fc3289b.