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Keaton Maines


English 12

15 March 2018

There are so many opinions on the use of Marijuana, medically and recreationally, in the

United States. Should it be legalized in all 50 states? 29 states as of today and more in the

process have already made the move to legalize cannabis use. This plant has many beneficial

uses from emotional support to possible medical advancements. The legalization of Marijuana in

all 50 states would create a healthier society and help out the US government system too.

In the bible it is stated that all plants on the face of the earth are placed there to be used

for the better. “​Genesis 1:29: And God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed

that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for

food​.” Marijuana has been used as a mood enhancer or an ‘agent for achieving euphoria’ since

ancient times. Its uses spread from China to India and then to North Africa and reached Europe

as early as A.D 500. In 1545 the Spanish brought marijuana to the New World. ‘​The English

introduced the plant in Jamestown around 1611 where it then became a major commercial crop,

alongside tobacco and was grown as a source of fiber’. Marijuana was listed in the United States

Pharmacopeia from 1850 up until 1942 and was prescribed for various conditions including labor

pains, nausea, and rheumatism. ‘Its use as an intoxicant was also commonplace from the 1850s

to the 1930s’. The “zero tolerance” climate of the Reagan and Bush era resulted in strict laws and

mandatory sentences for possession of marijuana and in heightened vigilance against smuggling

at the southern borders(Pot Book’ Explores History). Laws have been more strict ever since.
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Marijuana can refer either to the cannabis plant or more specifically, the plant’s dried

leaves and flowers. Marijuana contains more than four hundred chemicals, of which eighty have

been identified as unique to cannabis also known as cannabinoids. According to German

researcher Max Plank, Cannabinoids wipe out bad memories and anxiety by dampening nerve

cell action(Medical Marijuana). Medical researchers have concluded that cannabinoids can be

helpful in treating pain associated with chemotherapy, postoperative recovery, and spinal cord

injury, as well as neuropathic pain, which is often experienced by patients with metastatic

cancer, MS, diabetes, and HIV/AIDS(Beneficial Effects of). A study done and published in the

Journal of the American Medical Association​ studied marijuana exposure over twenty years

found that moderate and occasional marijuana smoking did not impair lung function. A poll done

in February of 2017 stated that 93 percent of respondents supported the legalization of medical

marijuana if prescribed by a doctor, while 59 percent supported legalizing the recreational use of

the plant(ProCon.org Has the Government). Lester Grinspoon, MD, Emeritus Professor of

Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School published in the Providence Journal her recent run-ins

with cannabis,​ "Unlike many of the drugs we prescribe every day, marijuana has never been

proven to cause a fatal overdose."​(ProCon Is Marijuana). Even some of the best medical advisors

out there can see all the benefits we are looking past just because of the reputation marijuana

carries with the plants name. From 1969-2015 it went from 12% believing marijuana should be

legal to 54%. People are beginning to realize what states are holding us from.
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Marijuana may be considered at the “Stepping Stone” or best known as the “Gateway

drug” but its not what people should be worried about. In 2011 the US alone had 32,367 traffic

fatalities, 9,879 of those accidents were due to BAC, blood alcohol content(Driving Under the

Influence). Scientists have found that a single glass of wine impairs driving worse than smoking

and then entering a motorized vehicle(Gerber). Over 400,000 Us citizens die from tobacco use a

year. 80-90% of lung cancer is caused by tobacco. It is physically impossible to fatally overdose

on any amount of marijuana intake.Tobacco is even ranked .87% more harmful than marijuana

according to ​“Health Matters”​(Comparisons of Marijuana). Just because marijuana isn't

legalized that does not stop kids and adults nowadays from purchasing the ‘drug’. The black

market is a part of the internet used for selling and purchasing all kinds of drugs from heroin to

over the counter prescriptions. This market can be reached my anyone who knows about it. By

ordering off the dark web you never know what you get. Buying off the streets is the same way.

People could lace the weed you are buying with hard and true gateway drugs such as meth or

crushed up prescription drugs.

Marijuana could benefit more than just the people who are buying, but also the suppliers.

Prohibition, the action of forbidding something especially by law entails enforcement costs. If

marijuana were legal, enforcement costs would be zero, and governments could levy taxes on the

production and sale of marijuana. Then the government expenditure would decline and tax

revenue would increase majorly. The tax rates on legalized marijuana could even be higher than

those on most other goods since it's not a right. Legalizing cannabis in all states would earn ten

billion dollars in tax revenue(Hazy Future the Impact).

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The other side of this argument disagree with the idea of legalizing marijuana in any of the 50

states. That percentage of people believe that marijuana causes major problems with learning,

memory, concentration and judgment. Refutation: Individuals who smoke marijuana have an

impaired ability to learn for at least 24 hours. Long-term users have been shown to be impaired

for up to four weeks after cessation of use(ProCon).Some studies have shown that teens who

smoke pot are much more likely to experience problems at home, in school, and on the job.

(Legalizing Marijuana will harm). According to NIDA, marijuana is a drug that can and does

cause addiction. THC is the main ingredient in cannabis, it triggers the release of dopamine

which activates the brain in the same way other drugs do. Clinical studies have shown that

long-term, moderate consumption of the drug impairs short-term memory, slows reaction time,

increases the risk of heart attack, and can result in birth defects, strokes, and damage to the

respiratory system and brain(ProCon).

Overall marijuana can be used in so many different aspects of everyday life from saving

lives to unwinding after a stressful day. We live by ‘Making America Great Again’ but ignore

the natural supplement that has the power to do just that. A plant has saved lives day after day

but is still considered a harmful drug. States are catching on to the beneficial outcomes marijuana

provides, hopefully soon all fifty states will be onboard to save the lives of people all over and

the economy.
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Works Cited

Comparisons of Marijuana with Other Drugs." ​Tribune Content Agency Graphics​, 2011.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context​,


Accessed 16 Mar. 2018.

"Driving Under the Influence." ​Tribune Content Agency Photos​, 2013. ​Opposing Viewpoints in



Accessed 16 Mar. 2018.

Gerber, Rudolph J. "Beneficial Effects of Marijuana as a Medical Prescription." ​Marijuana​,

edited by Joseph Tardiff, Greenhaven Press, 2008. Contemporary Issues Companion.

Opposing Viewpoints in Context​,


Accessed 16 Mar. 2018. Originally published in ​Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy

Reform and Prohibition Politics​, Praeger, 2004.

Margolis, Robert. "Legalizing Marijuana Would Harm Teens." ​Legalizing Drugs​, edited by Stuart

A. Kallen, Greenhaven Press, 2006. At Issue. ​Opposing Viewpoints in Context​,


Accessed 16 Mar. 2018. Originally published as "Marijuana Harmless? Hardly," ​Atlanta

Journal-Constitution​, 30 Dec. 2
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"Medical Marijuana." ​Opposing Viewpoints Online Collection​, Gale, 2017. ​Opposing Viewpoints

in Context​,


Accessed 16 Mar. 2018.

"'Pot Book' Explores History And Science Of Marijuana." ​Talk of the Nation: Science Friday​, 15

Oct. 2010. ​Opposing Viewpoints in Context​,


Accessed 16 Mar. 2018.

ProCon.org. "Has the Government Blocked Clinical Trials of Marijuana?" ​ProCon.org​. 16 June

2008, 9:47 a.m., medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000322

ProCon.org. "Is Marijuana a 'Gateway' or 'Stepping Stone' Drug?" ​ProCon.org​. 30 May 2008,

10:21 a.m., medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000247

ProCon.org. "What Are Physicians' Views on Medical Marijuana?" ​ProCon.org​. 17 June 2008,

9:47 a.m., medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.answers.php?questionID=000086

Winn, Rosalie. "Hazy future: the impact of federal and state legal dissonance on marijuana

businesses." ​American Criminal Law Review​, Winter 2016, p. 215+. ​Opposing Viewpoints in

Context​, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/A443887858/OVIC?u=pl2127&xid=2288b0af.

Accessed 16 Mar. 2018.