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Argumentative (Should marijuana be legalized in the U.S.) - Essay Example

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Name Instructor Course Date Marijuana Should not be Legalized in the US. Marijuana is a popular recreational drug derived from the dried flowering tops and leaves of Cannabis sativa and cannabis indica. It is commonly smoked as a ‘joint’ mixed with tobacco…
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Argumentative (Should marijuana be legalized in the U.S.)
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Argumentative (Should marijuana be legalized in the U.S.)

The legalization of marijuana is the focus of contemporary debate in the US. Colorado and Washington have legalized its use and several other states appear poised to follow suit. Legal penalties for the possession of marijuana are being lifted and decriminalized. This legalization of marijuana is extremely bad for society and deserves to be strongly opposed. Marijuana should not be legalized in the US because it has adverse health effects, and legalization will increase its use and its cost burdens. Marijuana has adverse physical and mental effects, as illustrated by the health problems associated with its usage. According to the National Institute on Drug Usage, marijuana smoking affects the brain and leads to impaired short-term memory, perception, judgment and motor skills. Marijuana users also experience difficulty in concentration, trance-like states, lowered driving and other psychomotor skills, slowed reaction time, impaired goal-directed mental activity, and altered peripheral vision. In another example in the New England Journal of Medicine, 45% of reckless drivers (excluding those under the influence of alcohol), tested positive for marijuana.  Intense anxiety, panic attacks or paranoia are also seen in cases of marijuana usage. Marijuana cigarettes contain the carcinogen Benzopyrene which is linked to lung cancer. Other symptoms include airway injury, acute and chronic bronchitis, inflamed sinuses, lung inflammation, and vulnerability to pulmonary infection. Marijuana weakens the body’s immune system and leads to decreased motivation. It affects the hormones, resulting in delayed puberty, low sperm count and menstrual disruption (Frontline). The legalization of marijuana will increase its availability and its use. This is particularly disturbing as “Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug in the United States, with nearly 17 million Americans age 12 and older reporting past?month use, and 374,000 people entering an emergency room annually with a primary marijuana problem” (White House web site). Legalization would naturally result in a steep fall in marijuana prices, making it affordable to more users, especially adolescents. This is illustrated by the case of gambling, tobacco and alcohol: statistics show that legalization increased use and availability. The Netherlands is a real-time example. Data from the Rand Corp. shows that, with marijuana legalization, its use “increased consistently and sharply” and tripled among young adults. Legalization “triggered commercialization” (Sabet). This result will be multiplied in America's ad-driven culture. The promise of profit will encourage aggressive marketing. Closer to home, we have the example of Alaska. Alaska legalized marijuana in the 1970’s. Subsequently, “teen marijuana use jumped to twice the national average” (CNBC). The state recriminalized marijuana in 1990.   The legalization of marijuana will increase cost burdens. The tax revenue generated through the legalization of marijuana will be off-set by higher social costs. This is again illustrated by the precedent of tobacco and alcohol. The Federal and State tax on alcohol is “less than 10 percent of the estimated $185 billion in alcohol?related costs to health care, criminal justice, and the workplace in lost productivity” (White House).  Similarly, the annual social cost of smoking lags far behind the tax revenue generated by tobacco. It is estimated that 9 percent of marijuana ... Read More
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