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Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

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Submitted By CColtharp19
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Pages 8
Should Marijuana be Legalized?
Christina Coltharp
ENG/102
March 3, 2013
Robyn Glasscock

Wilkey (2012) a reporter for the Huffington Post in San Francisco writes: “A pair of scientists at California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco has found that a compound derived from marijuana could stop metastasis in many kinds of aggressive cancer, potentially altering the fatality of the disease forever” (para 1). Legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use will allow for many great things to come to this country. A hundred million Americans have smoked marijuana at least once in their life to include the president, his two right hand men, the mayor of New York and numerous of other Americans of that 100 million at least 25 million of them are regular users of the drug (CNBC, 2010). Marijuana has become a part of the American life (CNBC, 2010). Marijuana comes from a dried plant that is created to induce euphoria. However, it is no more addictive than tobacco or alcohol and even can bring good to the body and mind. Marijuana legalization will help those with medical issues, lower crime rates, and help decrease debts in the United States. Legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use will help people with medical issues such as cancer and glaucoma. According to the National Institute of Drug Abuse: The Science of Drug Abuse & Addiction, marijuana is classified as a drug that is not an acceptable form of medicine for those with medical concerns, to include cancer (National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2012). However, when considering the research done on the subject of marijuana as medicine for those with cancer, the results have shown time and time again a compound in marijuana actually helps stop and prevent the spreading of cancer cells (Wilkey, 2012). In more depth, breast cancer cells reflect the most decreased amount of cancerous cells. In 2007, a scientist at the Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco released a report explaining how cannabidiol kills breast cancer cells and destroys malignant tumors simply by turning off expression of one type of gene, a protein that appears to play a major role as a cancer cell contributor (Lee, 2012). THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is a chemical compound found in marijuana. This substance is found to slow tumor growth in common lung cancer as well as dramatically reducing the spread of cancer (Lee, 2012). Unlike the common treatment for cancer, chemotherapy, marijuana kills the cancer causing cells and leaves the healthy cells (Lee, 2012). Chemotherapy, on the other hand, is highly toxic and majorly damages the brain and body (Lee, 2012).
THC based drugs, such as marijuana, are used to treat pain, nausea and other medical concerns. The National Institute on Drug Abuse (2012) states, “In fact, THC is an FDA-approved medication. It was shown in carefully controlled clinical trials to have therapeutic benefit for relieving nausea associated with cancer chemotherapy and stimulating appetite in patients with wasting syndrome (severe weight loss) that often accompanies AIDS” (Why Isn’t Marijuana an FDA-approved Medicine?). Marijuana use for vomiting and nausea is approved and seen to be equal if not better than other approved drugs used for vomiting and nausea (Discovery Fit and Health Writers, 2011). Not only will marijuana help for vomiting and nausea, but it also contributes to gaining weight by in-taking more calories. Discovery Fit and Health Writers (2011) writes, “Studies of healthy people performed by the institute indicate that the inhalation of cannabis can lead to an increased consumption of calories, especially in sweet and fatty foods” (4: Loss of Appetite). Last but not least, marijuana also helps people with muscle tension, and chronic pain. Marijuana contains the ability to relax muscle tensions and spasms as well as relieving chronic pain by numbing the senses of the nerves. Discovery Fit and Health Writers (2011) quotes the National Cancer Institute research, “According to the National Cancer Institute studies testing the effectiveness of cannabis sowed that test subjects who inhaled marijuana had ‘improved moved, improved sense of well-being and less anxiety’ “ (1:Insomnia). The National Institute on Drug Abuse (2012) states that because marijuana effects the brain in many ways to include pleasure, memory, thinking, concentration, sensory and time perception, and coordinated movement, and because of these effects on the brain the National Institute on Drug Abuse (2012) deems marijuana to be unsafe for recreational use (2012). On the other hand, it is because marijuana affects the brain in these ways that it is able to save millions from pain and sides effects of unthinkable diseases. Marijuana legalization can benefit many aspects of everyday life such as slowing cancer, relieving pain, as well as lowering crime rates.
Legalizing marijuana will free up police to take on other important concerns to protect the safety of the citizens (CNBC, 2010). According to CNBC (2010), “It will also free that state’s police officers to concentrate on crimes that inflict the deepest fear, pain and loss: burglaries, robberies, sexual assaults, domestic violence, stalking, child abuse, workplace and school shootings, drunk driving” (Law Enforcement Impact). If in the case a drug dealer gets the short end of the stick on a drug deal, there are people to turn to for help so “street justice” is the only option. However, if marijuana is legalized there will be less street justice for then people could turn to authority for help in such an event as this. In return, police will have more time to deal with smaller crimes or more important crimes versus dealing with “street justice” murders and thefts that can ultimately be prevented with marijuana legalization. Police spend many hours just on charges related to marijuana violations (CNBC, 2010). CNBC (2010) writes, “Last year (2009), police arrested 847,864 persons for marijuana violations, almost 90 percent of them for possession only” (Law Enforcement Impact). Legalization would mean lower prices on the drug; if the prices were lowered on marijuana, less thefts and robberies would happen because then more users of the drug would be able to afford marijuana (Messerli, 2010. Para 4).
Aaron Sankin (2012) from the Huffington Post in San Francisco wrote, “Between 2010 and 2011, California experienced a drastic 20 percent decrease in juvenile crime-bringing the underage crime rate to the lowest level since the state started keeping records in 1954” (para 1). Within that one-year time span the numbers of arrest for violent crimes dropped dramatically (Sankin, 2010). Violent crimes dropped by 16 percent, homicides went down by 26 percent, and drug arrest decreased by about 50 percent (Sankin, 2010).California’s deep drop in serious youth crimes decreased faster than any other state in the United States (Sankin, 2010). Sankin (2012) provided a post from AlterNet that states, “California’s 2010 law did not legalize marijuana, but it officially knocked down ‘simple’ possession of less than one ounce to an infraction from a misdemeanor-and it applies to minors, not just people over 21. Police don’t arrest people for infractions; usually, they ticket them. And infractions are punished not by jail time, but by fines-a $100 fine in California in the case of less than one ounce of pot (marijuana)” (AlterNet reports). This fine that is issued for cases such as this is an excellent source of income for the state to rebuild money and remove itself from debts.
Easton (2009), a debater of the cons of marijuana legalization for tax revenue, states “How much money is made from this single illegal substance? In fairness, nobody knows for sure. ‘Illegal’ means hard data are difficult to come by. We do know, however, that according to recent figures, U.S. consumers number anywhere from 25 million to 60 million (depending on how likely survey respondents are to tell the whole truth), and at an average cost of $5 per cigarette (and factoring in one per day for each user), total spending on marijuana may add up to $45 billion to $110 billion a year” (para 3). Say if the cost of distribution and retailing marijuana is about $10 a gram that could potentially raise about $40 billion to $100 billion in new revenue (Easton, 2009). Legalizing marijuana and using the revenue it brings in as a source to restore balance to state and national debt. In the words of Easton (2009), “Government would simply be transferring revenue from organized crime to the public purse” (para 4). Marijuana legalization could create an income of somewhere between $1.5 billion and $4 billion (just from taxing the drug) for the state of California (Wolff, 2009). Another aspect to consider on the subject of tax money from marijuana legalization is those who are in jail for nonviolent drug crimes, such as possession (Wolff, 2009). Marijuana also can contribute to producing and manufacturing. Over 25,000 products can be made from marijuana (Messerli, 2011). Marijuana’s alternative uses include construction and thermal insulation materials, paper, geotextiles, dynamite, composites for autos, and even insect repellant (Messerli, 2011). Our country as a whole spends $68 billion a year on its prisoners (Wolff, 2009). If marijuana was to be legalized in every state that would mean the country would spend at least $11.3 billion less a year (Wolff, 2009).
Despite the many other benefits marijuana legalization can and will do for those with medical concerns as well as lowering crime rates, the increase of revenue and lowering of debt could make drastic changes for every person in the United States. Marijuana legalization can bring great things to each individual state as well as to the country as a whole. Legalizing marijuana use for recreational use can and will help people with medical issues such as cancer, it will lower crime rates and free up police officers to take on other major concerns of society such as sexual assaults, robberies, and murders and it will help decrease debt for states and the country. Some people may argue that marijuana will destroy the country and ultimately bring the end of society as the way it is now because society deems it immoral but that does not mean that marijuana legalization cannot bring more good than harm. When the time comes to vote, Americans need to consider the above statistics, facts, and concepts and vote yes to legalize marijuana. It is time for change, a bigger and better change for the whole United States.
Reference Page
CNBC. (2010). Legalization Will Reduce Crime, Free Up Police Resources.
Retrieved from http://www.cnbc.com/id/36201668/Legalization_Will_Reduce_Crime_Free_
Up_Police_Resources
DrugFacts: Marijuana. (2012).
Retrieved from http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana
Discovery Fit and Health Writers. (2011). 5 Common Uses of Medical Cannabis.
Retrieved from http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/drugs-alcohol/5-common-uses-of-medical-cannabis.htm
Easton, S. (2009). Legalize Marijuana for Tax Revenue.
Retrieved from http://www.businessweek.com/debateroom/archives/2010/03/legalize_ marijuana_for_tax_revenue.html Lee, M. (2012). Marijuana Fights Cancer and Helps Manage Side Effects, Researchers Find.
Retrieved from http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2012/09/06/marijuana-fights-cancer-and-helps-manage-side-effects-researchers-find.html
Messerli, J. (2011). Should Marijuana Be Legalized Under Any Circumstances?.
Retrieved from http://www.balancedpolitics.org/marijuana_legalization.htm
Sankin, A. (2012). California Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rate To
Record Low: Study. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/ california-marijuana-decriminalization-_n_2205997.html Wilkey, R. (2012). Marijuana And Cancer: Scientists Find Cannabis
Compound Stops Metastasis In Aggressive Cancer. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/09/19/marijuana-and-cancer_n_1898208.html
Wolff, M. (2009). Legalizing Marijuana Can Reduce Crime, Increase Revenue for State.
Retrieved from http://sundial.csun.edu/2009/11/legalizing-marijuana-can-reduce-crime-increase-revenue-for-state/

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