The Debate over Legalization of Marijuana

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The Debate over Legalization of Marijuana

Claire Henderson, Staff Writer

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“Penalties against drug use should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana in private for personal uses, “ said former President Jimmy Carter about the war on drugs in 1977.

Marijuana should be legalized for the uses of adults for both medicinal and recreational purposes. The drug should also be decriminalized and should be regulated like alcohol and cigarettes.

The word marijuana is “Mexican in origin and refers to any part of the three-distinctive subspecies of the cannabis plant.” The three subspecies include cannabis sativa, cannabis Indica, and cannabis ruderalis. The plant has become a drug because “it over activates parts of the brain that contain the highest number of receptors. This causes the high the people feel.”

In the past marijuana, commonly known as weed as a reference to the way the plant grows in the wild, has been associated with slackers and criminals. Now the plant-turned-drug is becoming more and more acceptable among people. In fact, in 2014 over half of adults admitted to having tried marijuana. “In 2015, more than 11 million young adults ages 18 to 25 used marijuana in the past year” according to

For those who argue against the legalization of marijuana, under the idea that it becomes gateway drug the consumer, there is evidence to support otherwise. According to, by the time the individuals who had tried marijuana in their teen years reach 30 years old they have significantly decrease their use or no longer use the substance at all. “No evidence is shown in marijuana’s chemical composition or elsewhere that the drug alters the brain in a manner that makes users more susceptible to experimenting with other drugs.”

For those who believe the drug to be addictive, there is no evidence to prove this true. According to a study done by the National Organization of the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), “only one in ten marijuana consumers become regular users of the drug and most voluntarily cease their use mid-life” The number of those who are addicted to tobacco and alcohol is nearly three times the number of people who have become regular users of marijuana into their adult lives.

Marijuana has many healing components as well as being used for recreational uses. The list of medical benefits the drug has goes on and on and includes relief from chronic pain and aiding with slowing cancers cells from reproducing. Those are just a few examples but some others are help with weight loss, liver disease and traumatic brain injury. Based on a study done by the University of Indiana and authored by Dr. Thomas M. Clark, approximately 47,500 Americans’ lives could be saved each year if medical marijuana was legalized nationwide.

The administration should make strides to change the view of marijuana among people and change the stigma surrounding the drug. Those who do wish to reform the marijuana laws do not only wish to legalize the drug but they also wish to provide safe, convenient, and affordable marijuana to those who want it. Public law makers should regulate it so that this can be possible. Regulations like these are already in place for cigarettes and alcohol.

It is time for marijuana to become legal for adults for medical and recreational purposes and for law makers to take it out of the justice system in order to decriminalize the drug.