One of the most intense issues the public is debating today is whether marijuana should be legalized or not. Cannabis sativa is the plant marijuana is extracted from. Marijuana is a psychoactive drug. In the early 20th century, many countries made possessing, using or selling marijuana illegal. One of the largest cash crops in the United States, marijuana has an estimated $ 36 billion market. Many people use marijuana annually (around 162 million people, or four percent of the total world population) and daily as well (22.5 million people, or .06 percent of the world).
There are many groups dedicated to making marijuana legal. These are some of their arguments:
1. Pot is relatively harmless, compared to all the deaths and harm caused by guns, tobacco and alcohol – things that are all legal.
2. Marijuana is not as addictive as hardcore drugs, and it is nearly impossible to overdose on it.
3. By decriminalizing marijuana, the economy would prosper since this would create a whole new industry. The government could make money by taxing marijuana, just like it taxes cigarettes.
4. Mafias and black markets are the ones running the marijuana trade. By making marijuana legal, we can stop the money flow to these criminals.
5. Sometimes, the people producing marijuana add ingredients to it that could be unsafe. If regulated, the government could ensure the safety of marijuana.
6. The government wouldnt have to spend as much money on the drug war; the Drug Enforcement Agency would have much less to do.
7. Marijuana helps many sick people, and by making marijuana illegal we are hurting them.
8. Once we outlawed alcohol, in the Prohibition. It didn’t work at all, so why do we think outlawing marijuana will?
However, the anti-marijuana side just as fervently argues against the legalization of marijuana:
1. Marijuana smoke hurts the lungs and is unhealthy. There are more toxins in marijuana smoke than there are in tobacco smoke, and there are more cancer-causing agents as well. Heavy long-term use increases the chance that you will have strokes or heart attacks.
2. Due to its reputation as a gateway drug, many people believe that marijuana leads to more drug abuse, this time with harder drugs.
3. Marijuana use impairs ones memory and ability to think quickly. The effects of marijuana can interfere with learning by impairing thinking, reading comprehension, and verbal and mathematical skills.
4. Just because marijuana may not be physically addictive doesn’t mean it’s not addictive at all – it is possible to become psychologically dependent upon marijuana.
5. While under the influence of marijuana, it is not safe to drive a car.
6. Pregnant women should not use marijuana as it can lead to premature births or babies that do not weight enough.
7. Just because one thing, like alcohol, is legal, doesn’t mean we should make marijuana legal as well – there are enough dangerous things out there that we don’t need to legalize yet another one.
8. If marijuana is decriminalized, using it will become acceptable in today’s culture, and when it becomes freely available for purchase, the number of people using marijuana will rise.
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