A Case for the Legalization of Marijuana Essay

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A Case for the Legalization of Marijuana Whether you call it Grass, Pot, Reefer, Weed, or any of the other slang terms, marijuana (Cannabis sativa) is controversial. To many, cannabis is the Devil’s weed leading to a life of crime and immorality. Others say it is a godsend that relieves pain and improves quality of life. Somewhere in between you will find the truth. While some say marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to addiction and causes loss of short-term memory, there are many reasons for supporting its legalization such as, a new tax revenue source, a reduction in crime and the expense of prohibition, and the associated health benefits. Marijuana has been around for nearly as long as humankind has, with the archeological record showing that the Chinese have used it, in various ways, since the Stone Age (Abel, 1980). According to Abel (1980), hemp has been used to make rope, soap, and fabric, with specimens found dating back to the Chou dynasty (1122-249 B.C.). It was also used to make lamp oil, paint, varnish, as well as paper. There has long been an association between Cannabis and medicine, with specific mention of its medical use by the Emperor Shen-Nung, around twenty-eighth century B.C. (Abel, 1980). Hemp is truly a hearty and useful natural resource. From the drug crazed teenage delinquents, in Reefer Madness (Hirliman, 1938), to the burned out characters in the various Cheech & Chong movies, marijuana has long been promoted as being a destroyer of lives and a danger to society. However, is this true? Many think that marijuana is a gateway drug that leads to the use of harder drugs, such as heroin and cocaine. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a user of marijuana is 104 times more likely to try harder drugs than a non-user (as cited by Szalzvitz, 2010). However, this may not be because of the marijuana as much as the way in

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