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Legalizing Recreational Pot

In: English and Literature

Submitted By lolasurf
Words 1492
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English 1B
16 February 2016
Legalizing Recreational Pot Heavy marijuana smokers are at risk for some of the same health effects as cigarette smokers, like bronchitis and other respiratory illnesses. Marijuana is the most commonly abused illegal drug in the United States and around the world. Those who support its legalization, for medical or for recreational use, fail to recognize that the greatest costs of marijuana are not related to its prohibition; they are the costs resulting from marijuana use itself. If the United States were to legalize marijuana, the number of users would increase. New users would not be limited to adults if marijuana was legalized, as regulations on alcohol and tobacco does not prevent use by youth. The legalization of recreational pot in America will increase the number of drug users at a younger age nationwide because many youth are more susceptible to peer pressure, the curiosity and sensation of what other drugs will feel like will grow causing more people to try and become addicted to other types of drugs, and finally because the recreational use of drugs will become a social norm instead of a taboo.
The legalization of recreational pot in America will increase the number of drug users throughout the country as well as increase the number of younger users. There is a possibility that since this drug would be legalized, there would be easier access to it. Since access to marijuana would be extremely easy with stores selling it in shelves, more and more younger audiences would be able to get ahold of the drug and therefore possibly starting early addictions. In addition to possible younger users throughout the nation, marijuana affects brain development. When marijuana users begin using at an early age, the drug often tends to reduce thinking, memory, and learning functions while also affecting how the brain builds connections between the areas necessary for these functions. Some of the effects of marijuana may last over a long period of time or in some cases may even become permanent. According to a facts sheet given to the public by the National Institute of Drug Abuse,
A study showed that people who started smoking marijuana heavily in their teens and had an ongoing cannabis use disorder lost an average of eight IQ points between ages 13 and 38. The lost mental abilities did not fully return in those who quit marijuana as adults. Those who started smoking marijuana as adults did not show notable IQ declines (National Institute of Drug Abuse 2015). The National Institute of Drug Abuse is providing further affirmation that there are long-term effects that should be taken into consideration when thinking about legalizing marijuana across the country. Many people fail to realize that long-term use of the drug can lead to “lost mental abilities” which would be a disadvantage to many users throughout life. Although the National Institute of Drug Abuse claims that use of the drug can diminish learning abilities in the future because of “smoking heavily,” they fail to establish just exactly what is considered heavy smoking to the public. Legalizing marijuana for everyone to use would create younger users since it would be extremely accessible to the public. Although marijuana is not as addicting as heroin or meth, it is still harmful to users who begin using the drug at an early age and could cause serious disadvantages for their futures. According to a study, only about 9% of marijuana users become clinically dependent on the drug. Clearly marijuana is not as dangerous as other drugs such as meth or cocaine. Although there are accidents that happen while on the use of marijuana, it is rare that anyone actually gets harmed physically from the drug itself. My case is that more people who are exposed to something at a young age and that is seen as a social norm, there will be many users who would also begin to see other drugs as not that serious as people see marijuana today. This attitude could potentially cause people to want to sample other drugs because of their curiosity and by this would increase the number of drug users since people would become addicted to more serious drugs through the gateway drug they started off with, marijuana. Besides the curiosity and easy accessibility, another reason the number of drug users across the United States would increase would be because marijuana is a gateway for other drugs. Since the legalization of marijuana would make smoking weed out in public and smoking in general a social norm, many users of marijuana could possibly fall under the curiosity of what other drugs can do and how they could make them feel while on them. The high that marijuana causes is what drives many people to start using. Although other drugs provide different types of high, the high people experience from marijuana may not be enough anymore if it were legalized throughout the states. Since smoking weed would be a social norm if it were legalized, there is a high chance that many users of the drug may often fall into irresponsible habits of using or even start to try new drugs because the high from marijuana is not enough for them anymore. According to the Foundation for a Free Drug World,
The vast majority of cocaine users began by first using a “gateway drug” like marijuana, cigarettes or alcohol. Of course, not everyone who smokes marijuana and hashish goes on to use harder drugs. Some never do. Others quit using marijuana altogether. But some do turn to harder drugs. One study found that youth (12 to 17 years old) who use marijuana are 85 times more likely to use cocaine than kids who do not use pot, and that 60% of the kids who smoke pot before the age of 15 move on to cocaine (Drug Free World 2015).
The Foundation for a Drug Free World reaffirms that although not all users move on to “harder drugs,” some are more likely to and have a higher chance if they start using a gateway drug like marijuana at an early age. When considering legalizing marijuana, the states should also consider that legalizing weed for all could also risk people falling into dangerous habits which would lead them to try and become addicted to more serious drugs. Referring to the Foundation for a Drug Free World, “one study” does not account for all reasons as to why some people who began with marijuana turn to harder drugs in their futures but it can provide enough evidence and reason as to why marijuana should not be legalized since it can produce life altering effects for youth that fall into risky habits. This is why legalizing marijuana across the country would be a risk considering that youth is more susceptible to peer pressure which can lead to early addictions and life long lasting problems for many individuals. Finally and most importantly, the number of users will increase because if pot is seen as a social norm, more users especially younger audiences, will be more susceptible to trying and testing marijuana since it is no longer against the law. Since legalizing marijuana will increase its accessibility, the number of accidents and deaths amongst everyone due to impaired behavioral functions while on the drug could also increase. Marijuana can slow reaction time, impair judgment of time and distance, and decrease motor coordination. Research studies have shown negative effects of marijuana on drivers, including an increase in lane weaving and poor reaction time and attention to the road.
A 2010 nationwide study of fatal crashes found that 46.5 percent of drivers who tested positive for drugs had used a prescription drug, 36.9 percent had used marijuana, and 9.8 percent had used cocaine (Drug Abuse 2015).
According to the Center for Drug Abuse, after alcohol, marijuana is the drug most often linked to drugged driving. If marijuana became legal throughout the United States, there would be an increase in numbers of marijuana drugged driving as well as many other drugged driving incidents relating to drugs because of the increased levels of people using drugs as a recreational activity. Legalizing weed could cause more accidents and deaths because not everyone sees being high on marijuana as the same as being drunk from drinking alcohol. There will be many risks the people will have to worry about is marijuana does get legalized. The legalization of marijuana for recreational use in the United States would cause more harm than good overall for the people. The legalization of recreational pot in America will significantly increase the number of drug users at a younger age nationwide due to youth’s susceptibility, the curiosity, and the feeling of normality. Many citizens of the country, especially our youth, would be more susceptible to trying and forming risky behaviors and habits due to the social norms legalizing weed would bring to the country.

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