Legalization of Marijuana
From the executive that sits behind his desk collecting his money, to the drug dealer on the street trying to make his money in order to survive, the drug dealing business gives money to criminals, while innocent users are being put away in jail. The issue of legalization and/or decriminalization of marijuana use have been a highly controversial issue over the years. At present, it is a crime to possess and use the drug commonly known as weed or pot. While the government has spent almost 10 billion dollars a year fighting the war on drugs, members of the medical field have spent their dollars in much wiser ways(): Medicinal Marijuana. Presently, there has been no research supporting the idea that marijuana is physically addictive. Its most common use is in recreational settings and over 80 million Americans say that they have tried marijuana, while 20 million say that they have gotten high in the past year(). Marijuana is the illegal alcohol; a social drug offers a feeling of calm to its users.
Taxpayers do not only help to pay for those 10 billion dollars, but they also have to pay millions more in order to house and feed drug dealers in prisons, who make up one third of the prison population, causing more prisons to be built(). In 2002, "45.3 percent of the 1,538,813 total arrests for drug abuse violations were for marijuana -- a total of 697,082. Of those, 613,986 people were arrested for marijuana possession alone."(). Although these numbers have gotten better since 2000, the statistics still show that over six hundred thousand people are being arrested for possession. These people are not criminals, and such charges can remain on your record for the rest of a person's life. Although some states like Nevada, Oregon, California, and Washington have made it so that possession charges are as bad as a traffic violation, but all other states have not yet changed their laws, and marijuana still hasn't been legalized. Also the same four states have legalized marijuana for medical purposes only (). Doctors say that marijuana has not been found to be a gateway' drug and addictive (). This means that our government is trying to fight a lost cause. Such drug will always be around, and if medicine has found a way of using such drug for healing, why is it still an illegal drug?
"Over 400,000 people die yearly from complications attributed to tobacco use, and 50,000 die annually from alcohol poisoning." (). In fact "Tetrahydrocannabino (substance found in marijuana) is a very safe drug. Laboratory animals (rats, mice, dogs, monkeys) can tolerate doses of up to 1,000 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram). This would be equivalent to a 70 kg person swallowing 70 grams of the drug -- about 5,000 times more than is required to produce a high."(). This means that it is impossible for any human to ever overdose on such drug. "In Britain, official government statistics listed five deaths from cannabis in the period 1993-1995 but on closer examination these proved to have been deaths due to inhalation of vomit that could not be directly attributed to cannabis."(). This shows that there is no reason why marijuana should be illegal while alcohol and tobacco are legal.
The government has been trying to fight cannabis ever since the war on drugs began with it being prohibited in 1937. Ever since then, people have always been smoking and the war on drugs has just kept on going. The reasons that the government uses for keeping the drug illegal are the reasons that doctors have proven to be a myth. "Statistically, for every 104 Americans who have tried marijuana, there is only one regular user of cocaine, and less than one user of heroin. Marijuana is clearly a terminus' rather than a gateway for the overwhelming majority of marijuana smokers."(). There has been no scientific evidence that marijuana is addictive or a gateway drug, but even if it is a gateway drug, that might be a reason why we should legalize it. "It is marijuana prohibition -- which forces users to associate with the illicit drug black market -- rather than the use of marijuana itself that often serves as a doorway to the world of hard drugs. The more users become integrated in an environment where, apart from cannabis, hard drugs can also be obtained, the greater the chances they will experiment with harder drugs." (). Also, marijuana would be more pure, and people wouldn't have the chance of being tricked into smoking weed laced (mixed with) other drugs. Often drug dealers do this in order to keep more customers, since harder drugs cause physical and mental addictions.
Legalization of marijuana has been tried in countries, and has also been successful. In Holland, there are designated coffee-shops, where the selling of marijuana is legal. Also, a person may only carry five grams at a time, Enough for 7-8 joints. There are over 200 coffee-shops, and the Dutch say that their harder drug problems have diminished since marijuana was legalized.