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One of the main factors that enables marijuana to be used as a medicine is the immediate effects the user feels after smoking the drug. According to Michael D. Lymann and Gary W. Potter in the Drugs in Society: Causes, Concepts and Control, “The high from the drug is felt in minutes and usually lasts for two to three hours” (61). During the time of being “high,” the user becomes relaxed; therefore the pain he/she feels has decreased or no longer exists (Lymann and Potter 61). A journal article, “Medical Marijuana: The Continuing Story,” by Brigid Kane explains how a person that smokes marijuana will feel the effect in “3 to 5 minutes” after smoking (1162). The ability for marijuana to operate rapidly in soothing pains allows the drug to be viewed beneficially for sicknesses. Marijuana is capable of removing the tension quickly from the user’s body to make him/her feel at ease.
Another factor of marijuana that allows it to mimic a medicine is the “3 to 4 percent” of the tetrahydrocannabinol or the THC in the cannabis drug which is the “content that gives the user the desired high” (Lymann and Potter 60). Kane also explains how the THC in the marijuana allows the user to have a greater appetite (1159). In addition to Kane, C.
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A person is not only consuming a great deal of food when he/she smokes marijuana, but he/she is also storing fat in his/her brain: “Tests have revealed that marijuana is stored in the brain, which consists of about one third fat tissue” (Lymann and Potter 60). Marijuana affects a person’s memory since he/she has fat clogging his/her brain. Dorothy E. Dusek and Daniel A. Girdano, also state how some “users reported negative experiences that range from mild anxiety to acute panic, and an acute brain syndrome that included disorientation, confusion, and memory impairment” (93). The cannabis drug has an effect on the brain tremendously. The user will have a difficult time remembering things, and he/she will not be in his/her right state of mind. The influences that marijuana has on the brain can be a downfall when contemplating on making the drug legal for medical purposes, but the influences may also be useful by allowing the user to not bear in mind how severe the pain he/she was enduring.
Marijuana is produced in many countries especially the United States. Dusek and Girdano, mention how marijuana is the “weakest, and most widely used” drug in the United States (87). The physical and emotional effects on marijuana grown in the United States are not as strong as the marijuana from other countries including Mexico, Jamaica, and India (Dusek and Girdano 87-88). The greater amount of THC that is present in these countries’ marijuana allows it to be stronger than the United States’ marijuana (Dusek and Girdano 87-88). Lymann and Potter also reveal how “Marijuana grows in almost all 50 states” (145). Marijuana is a popular and a mass produced drug which many people grow, sell, and use in the United States. The enormous amount of marijuana in the United States gives the users a greater opportunity to smoke the drug illegally since it is extensively available. Some members of society would argue since marijuana is widely accessibly it should become legalized.
Some in society believe that the marijuana laws are useless and are a waste of time. For example, R. Keith Stroup, executive director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), who are in favor of persons not being jailed for marijuana uses (Espejo 121). Stroup has an article in Drug Abuse: Current Controversies, by Roman Espejo concerning the legalization of marijuana (121). He feels that marijuana smokers are normal American citizens that should not be punish for smoking marijuana because he does not consider them criminals (Espejo 122). Stroup also argues that marijuana should be legalized. His main argument is that “current marijuana policy is a dismal and costly failure. It wastes untold billions of dollars in law enforcement resources, and needlessly wrecks the lives and careers of millions of our citizens” (121). There are other people in society who agree with Stroup. They also feel that marijuana laws are ineffective. Lymann and Potter reveals the opinions of other members of society in regards to drug laws: “Some people feel that current drug laws haven’t worked and drugs like marijuana, cocaine, and heroin should be legalized and subject to government taxation and regulation like tobacco and alcohol” (367). Most of the people who favor the legalization of marijuana feel that the restrictions of the drug are not successful and are irrelevant; therefore, the drug should become legal and should be taxed if it is used by citizens.
Other strong arguments that people have for the legalization of marijuana are “a free society allows its people to do as they wish so long as they harm no one” (Lymann and Potter 368). The United States promotes freedom therefore its citizens should be able to do whatever pleases them. Thomas Szasz, a retired psychiatry professor from Syracuse University claims, “If we believe we have a right to a free press, we do not seek a rational book policy or reading policy; on the contrary we would call such a policy ‘censorship’ and a denial of our First Amendment rights” (qtd. in Espejo 129). Szasz believes the United States is contradicting itself by having policy laws that hinders or challenges a person’s liberation. He feels that “a society that protects a person’s freedom of speech and religion, the right to use drugs should belong to the individual” (Espejo 10). Taking drugs is a personal decision; therefore the United States should honor the choice of its citizens, since it is a free country.
Many advocates of the legalization of marijuana feel the crime rate will decrease because “addicts are lured to other crimes such as prostitution, burglary, and robbery as ways to finance their expensive habits” (Lymann and Potter 369). Marijuana is addictive because the user will do whatever it takes to receive the drug in order to accommodate his/her needs. If marijuana was legal the user would not have to worry about satisfying his/her needs illegal. Espejo, reveals in his book how “Government’s surveys indicate more than 70 million Americans have smoked marijuana some point in their lives[…]Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug of choice for Americans” (122). The surveys indicate that many Americans are performing an illegal act by smoking marijuana; therefore they all should be put in jail. The government should review its survey and legalize marijuana to avoid incarcerating all the Americans who smoke the drug.
Another way the government can re-evaluate the issue on marijuana is by viewing the outcomes of countries that have legalized the drug. According to Lymann and Potter, “the Dutch have adopted a policy that they feel makes drug use ‘boring’ and less glamorous. The ease with which cannabis products can be obtained removes the mystique often attached it acts of rebellion and nonconformity that many young people engage in as part of the maturing process” (Lymann and Potter 381). The curiosity and interest of marijuana would decrease among the citizens in the United States if the drug was permitted. Another country that has allowed marijuana to become legally available is the Netherlands: “Following the decriminalization of cannabis in the Netherlands, consumption declined significantly” (Lymann and Potter 381). The United States should realize that the crime rate and the drug usage have decreased in countries that have decriminalized or even legalized the drug. Many countries “have legalized drugs as a remedy for their drug problems” (Lymann and Potter 381). The administration need to observe the decisions and take heed to the consequences of the countries that has made marijuana lawfully. In this way, the government will receive a benefit because fewer people will go to jail for using illegal drugs.
The government feels that “Just because a law seems unenforceable is no reason to abolish it. For example, the laws against murder or robbery have not been eliminated such criminal acts; however the states continue to make murder illegal” (Lymann and Potter 382). The states do not feel they need to compromise, change, or get rid of a law to stop a crime because people will continue to perform illegal acts regardless. The government feels its responsibility is to provide a safe environment for its citizen. Their “policy focuses on reducing demand as well as supply. A combination of these two instruments requires close cooperation with public health and law enforcement authorities” (Espejo 137). Its duty is to establish laws to decrease the drug usage in its county.
Deciding to use marijuana for a remedy is seriously disputed. “Medical use of marijuana for persons with certain conditions is rarely discussed without some consideration of the social context” (Kane 1162). Usage of the cannabis drug is not only for personal pleasures, but it is also being researched for serious medical benefits. The two major questions that occur in this debate are “compassion for the suffering versus prevention of the increased illicit drug use” (Kane 1162). Marijuana is capable of alleviating pain, but it may also become additive to the patient since “Tolerance develops rapidly” (Ashton). If marijuana was to be permitted in the United States, the legislation should emphasize in the law that the drug can not be given to a patient unless a physician has approved the prescription. The drug should be considered to become legal if it could help a sick person but not just for another person to enjoy the “high” off the drug. Doctors should have extensive knowledge of marijuana and its affects to avoid the over prescribing marijuana among the patients.
Legalization of marijuana would have some pros as well as cons. The most important advantage of marijuana is its use for medical purposes with the consent of a physician. Since there are side effects involved with marijuana use; “it is necessary for the physician to administer this drug selectively” (Dusek and Girdano 96). Another benefit of marijuana is that it is “non-toxic,” meaning there are no records indicating person died from using marijuana (Ashton). According to Lymann and Potter ‘there are no credible medical reports to suggest that consuming marijuana has caused a single death” (62). Present records reveal that marijuana has not caused anyone to die when it was used as a remedial drug; therefore the drug should be used more often for medical purposes.
While people are debating whether marijuana should become legal, there may be someone who is seriously sick and needs the drug as a treatment. Since “marijuana has been accepted as capable of relieving the distress of great numbers of very ill people, and doing so with safety under medical supervision[...]it would be very unreasonable[…]for the DEA to continue to stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance” (Lymann and Potter 62). Marijuana is not as harmful as many other drugs including alcohol or tobacco. The cannabis drug can be used for a great cause when it is not abused. Society as well as the government should view all the aspects of marijuana before making a decision on legalizing the drug.