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Legalization of Marijuana - Essay Example

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Many nations around the world are trying to legalize or at least decriminalize less detrimental drugs such as marijuana. It has been proposed, and in some instances confirmed, that legalizing marijuana will help to decrease violent crimes and drastically reduce the number of people imprisoned for drug possession…
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Legalization of Marijuana
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Legalization of Marijuana

The use of medicinal marijuana for therapeutic use is allowed in eleven states, Rhode Island is the most recent addition joining Vermont, Maine, California, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Hawaii, Colorado, Washington and Montana. Although the Justice Department under the Obama administration has relaxed its enforcement policies, federal laws forbidding medical marijuana are still on the books and supersede those of the states. Consequently, doctors within the borders of America cannot legally write prescriptions for marijuana nor can their patient legally have it. “The U.S. Supreme Court said federal law preempts any efforts by the state to authorize the use of marijuana for any purpose, including medicinal” (Schweitzer, 2005). Most Americans favor decriminalizing the medicinal use of marijuana and the states are systematically legalizing this naturally growing substance but any use of plant violates federal law which commonly translates to tougher sentences if caught. Again, the federal government has recently relaxed its position on permitting marijuana dispensaries in states where it is already legal but other than this slight variance has continued its total prohibition of marijuana. Prohibition is one of the more common policies employed but has clearly not been as successful as intended. This long standing American tradition has not stopped drug trafficking. It has though, changed the composition of supply and demand by influencing the illegality of this market. Illegal marijuana has made criminals of non-violent persons and the chronically ill. The various medical benefits of marijuana are well known. Health care workers understand the many benefits of marijuana including the treatment of arthritis. “The spinal cord is loaded with cannabinoid receptors. These cannabinoid compounds [from marijuana] apparently reduce swelling from inflammation [a major symptom of arthritis]. But more than that, they kill the pain from inflammation specifically. They work on the peripheral nerves that carry pain from your joint into the spinal cord” (Walker, 2000). People who suffer the painful condition associated with various types of bowel disease sometimes endure life-threatening flare-ups but they have very few medical options. There are too few traditional medications that exist for these conditions and these are normally ineffective in completely managing the symptoms. However, “beneficial effects [of marijuana use] were reported for appetite, pain, nausea, vomiting, fatigue, activity and depression. Patients also reported that cannabis use resulted in weight gain, fewer stools per day and fewer flare-ups of less severity” (Hergenrather, 2005). Weight gain is a significant issue for these patients because their condition causes low weight and malnutrition. The advantages of marijuana for HIV patients have been documented by Dr. Kate Scannell of Kaiser-Permanente. (2003): “From working with AIDS and cancer patients, I repeatedly saw how marijuana could ameliorate a patient’s debilitating fatigue, restore appetite, diminish pain, remedy nausea, cure vomiting and curtail down-to-the-bone weight loss.” ... Read More
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