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Legalization Of Marijuana Essay

2604 words - 11 pages

The Debate over Legalization of Marijuana
People who engage in activities that involve illicit drugs are often labeled as bad people. This type of mindset causes American society to be prejudiced against any people who take illicit drugs, such as marijuana. Marijuana is a potent drug that can have both good and bad effects on the user. Yet, the U.S. government criminalizes the use of marijuana and penalizes those who engage in marijuana smoking or ingesting. For this reason, many citizens are outraged. They feel that the government should decriminalize marijuana use based on its positive effects on users. Conversely, other Americans are adamantly opposed to legalizing marijuana and do not ...view middle of the document...

India and Greece were two countries where the drug was very popular. The ancient Chinese used the drug extensively for medicinal purposes. “In the 18th Century, therapeutic use of cannabis was introduced to England by the medical profession” (“What about Marijuana,” par. 3). Then, in 1629, marijuana came to the English colonies. For instance, in Virginia, colonists were required to grow and cultivate hemp varieties of the marijuana plant. Later, marijuana usage reached a peak during the 1920’s after Mexican immigrants came into the United States. However, by the 1930’s during the Great Depression Americans began to protest the overuse of this drug. Then, in 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act gave the U.S. government control over marijuana distribution, sale, and usage. Making the drug illegal, the Marihuana Tax Act emphasized the dangerous effects of the drug. Most states prohibit marijuana use in specific laws, which restrict the sale and recreational activities that can lead to addiction.
Nevertheless, during the 1960’s, marijuana use gained popularity again among the hippie culture. This generation protested the laws against the drug and enjoyed using the drug frequently. Since that time, the popularity of the drug has reached an apex in that many people support the idea of legalizing the substance. Although in 1970, the United States classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug, many people rebelled against this action. Because of the medicinal qualities of synthetic THC (e.g., Marinol), many users advocated marijuana for helping sick people.
The most common way that marijuana is used is by smoking it. Joints or marijuana cigarettes are rolled by users and then lit for smoking. “The effects of smoking are typically felt within a few minutes and can peak in 10 to 30 minutes” (“Marijuana” par. 3). Also, blunts, which are marijuana leaves that are rolled into the leaf wrap of a hollow cigar, are also popular. In addition, users smoke it through a water pipe, which is called a bong. The second most popular method of marijuana use is ingestion. For example, many users cook with the drug and make foods, such as brownies. Drinking fluids that have been brewed or made with marijuana is another method of use.
Marijuana has the following acute physical effects: stimulation, sedation, anesthesia, and hallucinogenic. Some of the noticeable physical characteristics of a user include: increased pulse rate, increased temperature, increased blood pressure, decreased attention span, craving for sweets, and poor concentration (“What about Marijuana” par. 1). Due to the presence of THC in the user’s bloodstream, there is subsequent loss in short-term memory and coordination. “Long-term marijuana use produces changes in the brain similar to those seen after long-term use of other drugs, and can cause behaviors such as uncontrollable drug craving, delinquent behavior, and aggression” (“Marijuana” par. 7). In terms of sedation, users can experience the following...

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