Information about the Legalization of Marijuana
Current paper explores different types of mild drugs such as marijuana and its impact on people who report on results obtained from research based on personal experience, journals, books and online resources. Nowadays, the issue of marijuana legalization is of great importance. There are different statements concerning this topic. Some experiments prove its value and importance, while others deny it. In the states of Alaska and Oregon as well as the city of Washington, there will be held a referendum on the legalization of marijuana. If the voting is successful, marijuana will be distributed as freely as alcohol and tobacco throughout those regions. Public opinion is gradually making legislators resolve the pot. Efforts to legalize marijuana are made more often, and this allows looking optimistically into the future of marijuana legalization, at least in some parts of the country. Proponents of legalization argue that marijuana trafficking will increase budget income from state taxes because of its legalization. Such resolution on marijuana will neither bring significant harm to health, nor decrease numerous racism related arrests. The opponents say that legalization would make drugs more affordable for teens and this will have a negative impact on their mental development. They also note that the experience of the states that have legalized marijuana is not wide enough to form a clear perspective of market regulation of marijuana. The current paper answers general questions about the legalization of marijuana, its effect on teenagers and their mental development.
For most people, marijuana, also known as pipe, cannabis, pot, ganja, hashish, hemp and others, is a psychoactive substance that changes consciousness and behavior. However, the effects of the main active marijuana ingredient (THC) are different for each person, and they are usually characterized by euphoria, dizziness, relaxation, increased sensation and increased appetite. Many people also note the growing impact of music and exacerbation of taste buds.
Advantages of Legalization
Marijuana is considered safer than other drugs and alcohol. Supporters of the pro-legalization referendums believe that marijuana is not as toxic as alcohol and other drugs, and its use neither leads to a socially dangerous behavior, nor causes harm to the body.
"The only risk of cannabis is losing control of your cannabis intake," Mark Kleiman, a drug policy expert at New York University's Marron Institute, said. "That’s going to have consequences in terms of the amount of time you spend not fully functional. When that’s hours per day times years, that's bad." (Lopez, 2015)
Legalization would increase tax revenues and create jobs. Legalizing marijuana could bring the United States to 17.4 billion dollars of new tax deductions. In 2014, merchants brought Colorado marijuana for more than 100 million dollars, of which 40 million were spent on building schools and promoting healthy lifestyle.
Legalization reduces crime. Legalizing marijuana reduces the number of people arrested and saves on them being kept in prisons. In addition, according to supporters of the referendum, the legalization can reduce interracial tension. Besides, research of Mexican Institute of the market and the RAND Corporation shows that marijuana brings up to 30% of the proceeds to international drug cartels (Kilmer, Caulkins, Bond, & Reuter, 2010). Thus, legalization of marijuana undermines the economic base of criminals and improves the course of the global war on drugs.
The National Agency of Drug Control notes that the price for marijuana has dropped and stabilized after the 1990s. Besides, some surveys show an increase in marijuana use during the specified period (Fries et al., 2008).
Disadvantages of Legalization
Adversaries of the marijuana legalization persuade that the alleviation of the legislation will cause more drug use and lead to potentially dangerous issues and alleviations among children. Marijuana lowers the level of intellectual development. Opponents of legalization claim that smoking marijuana reduces intelligence and consideration, as well as hinders the learning process of teenagers. Many studies indicate a connection between low intellect and marijuana abuse.
Legalization of marijuana leads to heavy drugs use. Opponents of the legalization of marijuana also convince that the use of marijuana leads to later usage of heavier drugs. Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper (2012) opposed the legalization of marijuana in the discussion of the law, believing that this step would make the use of the conventional drugs an irreproachable business. Hickenlooper (2012) said in his statement that “Amendment 64 has the potential to increase the number of children using drugs and would detract from efforts to make Colorado the healthiest state in the nation. It sends the wrong message to kids that drugs are OK” (p. 243). Mark Kleiman, one of the leading experts on drug control, supports highly regulated form of marijuana legalization, but opposes the inclusion of the drug in the legal economy and the creation of any business on the basis of marijuana trade (Lopez, 2015). Establishment of the business will mean that people will be able to buy cannabis as much as they like, so that the number of addicted people will grow, as it is in the case of alcohоl and tobaccо.
Marijuana in Medicine
Pain, nausea, multiple sclerosis, loss of appetite, inflammatory bowel disease, Parkinson's disease, epilepsy, and post-traumatic stress disorder can be alleviated or cured with the help of cannabis (Lopez, 2014). Another research says that the use of medical marijuana can be an alternative to medical paregorics, which result in addiction and death.
“According to surveys, in the autumn of 2013 the number of supporters of legalization exceeded the psychological barrier of 58% of Americans were in favor of free distribution of marijuana” (Lopez, 2015) (fig.1). In fact, marijuana became a part of the popular subculture. Thus, around half of Americans born after 1960 have tried cannabis in teenager age at least once and do not perceive it as a dangerous drug.
Fig. 1. The majority of Americans now support legal marijuana. (Lopez, 2015).
Harm to an Organism
According to statistics, marijuana is safe for health compared to alcohol and tobacco, but has implications for teenagers and children (Lopez, 2015).
Deaths also are not “the only way to compare drugs’ harmfulness. Some drugs, such as alcohol and cocaine, may induce dangerous behavior that makes a person more predisposed to violence or crime” (Lopez, 2015).
Fig. 2. Direct deaths in 2013. (Lopez, 2015).
Marijuana can hinder mental development in teenagers. Some researches claim that marijuana abuse among teenagers can lead to serious issues in the long run. Different studies and scientific research compare marijuana use at a young age with low mental development and lowered intelligence. Another group of scientists believes that marijuana abuse increases the level of development and functioning of the brain during juvenility, and this increases impressionability to frustrative influences. On the other hand, such researches only suggest certain interconnected factors affecting health, not a causal connection.
The use of marijuana may have other harmful effects. Many people claim that smoking of marijuana can cause lung cancer, much like tobacco. However, there is a study conducted by the National Institute of cancer, from which one cannot say with 100 percent confidence about the effects of smoking marijuana on the development of cancer. Besides, the theory of declension in drug use shows that smoking of marijuana results in heavier drugs use.
The Situation in the World
Since 2013, the use and possession of marijuana is completely legal only in Uruguay (according to unconfirmed reports, marijuana is also legalized in North Korea). It is partially legalized in the Netherlands, Canada, the Czech Republic, Portugal, Spain and Israel.
A lot of famous people and scientists use cannabis even though it is illegal. One of the most successful and famous of them is the head and founder of the Apple Computer Corporation Steve Jobs. He told journalists that he had been kicked out of Reed College in Portland for abusing marijuana and LSD. Carl Sagan, astronomer, astrophysicist, astronaut, a pioneer in the field of exobiology, which gave boost to the development of the project concerning the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, does not hide that he intakes marijuana or hashish on a daily basis. Sergey Brin, founder of Google, does not hide the fact that the idea of "large-scale hypertext internet-search" came to him in a state of narcotic intoxication after consuming cannabis. Sir Richard Branson has said publicly that he does not see anything wrong about smoking cannabis regularly. He advocates for the legalization of marijuana, and has once even said he would love to sell marijuana, if it was legal. It is not a secret that the major part of creative personalities uses cannabis. This refers to almost every actor, musician or artist; but Stephen King is another case. Firstly, his IQ is 175, with an average of 90-120. One of the most ardent supporters of the legalization of marijuana calls anti-drug law "ridiculous" and says, "I believe that marijuana should be not only legalized, but I think it should be a national craft".
Proponents of the legalization of marijuana in the United States are willing to organize many referendums in various states over the next few years. In 2016, the referendum could take place in Arizona, California and Nevada. The US President Barack Obama would not promote the legalization of marijuana at the federal level, but he does not intend to prevent the voting in various states. He thinks that cannabis is no more dangerous than alcohol.
There are still many perspectives and opinions about the legalization of marijuana. There is a lot of statistical data and numerous studies investigating the issue from both sides and in fact, we do not know who is right yet. Nevertheless, legalization of marijuana in the United States is important for the whole world. It is so because in case of successful practice across the USA, it will be an example to follow for the others and will help in the global war against drugs, which is currently stacked, facilitating social pressure in the Third World.