Should Marijuana be Legalized?

Should Marijuana be Legalized?

Jasmine George

Around 2500 years ago, people began smoking marijuana, aka weed. Over the years, it’s always been a controversial topic whether it should be legal or not. Recreational pot is currently legal in 11 states. The first time cannabis was legalized in America it was in California in the year 1996.

Being a person who was born and raised in California, I can tell you almost everyone I know smokes or has smoked weed before. You go outside and the smell hits you. You’re in the car and suddenly the entire car smells like pot. I mean yes it may sound like such a bad thing, but is weed seriously as harmful as we are being told? What do we REALLY know about the benefits and disadvantages from pot-smoking? Could legalizing weed over the world make life better? 

So let’s talk about the plant itself. Cannabis, also known as, weed, herb, grass, bud, and tree, comes from Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent. According to an international statistics article, the United Nations reported that 158.8 million people around the world use marijuana. That is 3.8% of the planet’s population. Weed is mostly used for medical purposes.

How does it work? Well Cannabis contains Cannabinoids, the active chemicals that are similar to natural chemicals in the body that are involved in appetite, memory, movement, and pain. The FDA has already improved two cannabinoid medicines, Dronabinol and Nabilone.

How do you get high with medical cannabis? Medical marijuana is smoked,  inhaled through devices, digested as an edible, applied to skin, or placed a few drops of liquid under the tongue.

What are some actual benefits from legalizing weed? Well research suggests that cannabinoids may reduce anxiety, reduce inflammation and pain, control nausea and vomiting caused by cancer chemotherapy, kill cancer cells and slow tumor growth, relax tight muscles for people with MS, and stimulate appetite and improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS. Not only could weed help with your physical health, but your mental health as well. 

The system treats pot-smokers and pot-dealers extremely harshly. Military veteran, Derek Harris was sentenced to life in prison for selling less than $30 worth of pot. Bus driver Shane Piche raped a 14-year old girl and didn’t serve a day in prison. Corvain Cooper, a California resident, was caught distributing pot over state lines. Even though he had never committed a violent crime before, he was given a life sentence. 33 year-old Michael Wysolovski, admitted to keeping a teenage girl in sexual captivity for more than a year. He didn’t serve any time. So apparently smoking a harmless plant is worse then rapists freely walking the streets.

 According to the Centers for Disease and Prevention (CDC) , a person is not likely to die from a ‘weed overdose.’ This does not mean that there aren’t any risks. First of all, anyone under the age 21 should NOT be using marijuana. American Addiction Centers reported that a study was shown about how teenagers who regularly smoke pot lose an average of 5.8 IQ points by the time they reach adulthood, and has a more negative impact on the teenage brain then alcohol does. This occurs due to the fact that teenagers brains are not yet done forming until they are well into their 20s. 

For the people who do use marijuana, use RESPONSIBLY. There are ZERO confirmed deaths caused from the plant itself, but from people smoking it and acting like fools is where the danger may lie. Another thing you should know if you are a pot user yourself, do NOT drive under any circumstances. You are not sober. You do not have the right mindset when you are high off any drug at all. Driving while high or drunk will only put you and other people’s lives at risk.

Look, I completely understand why you would not want weed to be legal. There are risks that come with legalizing weed everywhere. The wrong person could get their hands on pot. Or maybe it’s the worrying about children and teens getting their hands on it. However, would you say the same for wine and alcohol? Every day at least 6 people die from alcohol poisoning. Australian researchers reported on World Wide Addictions Statistics, that about 240 million people are addicted to alcohol. CDC.gov reported that 1 in 3 adults is an excessive drinker, and most of them binge drink on multiple occasions. I mean I can go on about how many articles talk about the high death and addiction rate from alcohol. 

So you’re telling me that people are dying EVERYDAY from something you can simply get from a store. It doesn’t bother me that poison is literally sold to us and advertised everywhere. It bothers me that when I search up, “How many people died from alcohol?” The answer I get is 88,000. However, when I searched up, “How many people died from weed?” The answer I get is ZERO. So why is alcohol more accepted than weed?

At the end of the day, it comes down to whether the person who is smoking is responsible, or not. It’s just like with everything else in life. You give an idiot a pair of scissors, they’ll run with them. You give a responsible person scissors, they’ll cut paper. You give an idiot some marijuana they’ll wreck a car. You give a responsible person some marijuana and they will smoke it responsibly. I personally think that the benefits of marijuana do outweigh the risks. 

Look, whether weed is legal or not, teens, pot-dealers, and people who don’t qualify for a medical weed card’s are still going to get their hands on it.  The real question is, would you rather them risk buying some street weed that could be laced? OR would you rather just supply those who qualify to smoke weed, in more dispensaries around the world. Why not just legalize it everywhere, and make it safer for everyone?