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Marijuana Legalization: Cost and Benefit - Research Paper Example

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This paper provides an analysis of the debate between those who seek the legalization of marijuana and those who wish to maintain the status quo. Looking at the arguments from each side, this paper arrives at the conclusion that the cost of marijuana far outweighs its potential benefits. …
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Marijuana Legalization: Cost and Benefit
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Download file to see previous pages This paper begins by providing a brief history of marijuana use in the United States, and then proceeds by looking at both sides of the marijuana debates. The issue of marijuana legalization continues to generate controversy and stimulate debate among various sectors of society. Associated with writers and artists like Bob Marley, it connotes a peaceful, freedom-loving radical vibe – quite different from the violent tendencies associated with those who take other more hard-core drugs such as heroin, cocaine or metaphetamines. The drug, which comes from dried cannabis leaves which is smoked from a pipe or rolled into a thin sheet of paper and smoked as one does cigarettes, has gained a reputation for having minimal side effects and for only giving its users a sensation of floating and a feeling of utter calmness and relaxation. Thus, its popularity among hippies and artists. And yet, its dangers are also widespread and documented, with health effects and long-term consequences on the individual that cannot be discounted. Because the debate has been so polarizing and so contentious, many myths and fallacies have arisen about marijuana – both from its self-confessed users and its strenuous opponents. This papers attempts to render a sober look at both sides of the debate and present an analysis of the contrasting opinions on marijuana. It will then argue that the risks and dangerous that attend marijuana use still far outweigh whatever therapeutic benefits it may be said to have and the United States is correct to err on the side of prohibiting its use. This paper begins by providing a brief history of marijuana use in the United States, and then proceeds by looking at both sides of the marijuana debates. It then argues that the next twenty years should see a continuation of the prohibition of Marijuana, given its myriad risks. Afterwards, some reflections and recommendations are going to be made. Brief History of Marijuana Use in the United States Marijuana is a very common drug often associated with parties in universities (Gledhill-Hoyt, 2000) and is often the “first drug” or introductory drug of those want to experience the adventure of drug experimentation for the first time. Unlike drugs such as opium whose entry in the United States from the far east was a result of colonization and nineteenth century trading and thus had a more colourful history, marijuana arrived in American relatively late. According to Musto (1991) “the practice of smoking cannabis leaves came to the U.S. with Mexican immigrants, who had come North during the 1920s to work and it soon extended to white and black jazz musicians.” Strict regulation and control laws that accompanied the Prohibition however made the use of marijuana contained in a small minority, usually from immigrant communities living at the fringes of American society. There also was the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, which released dramatic, if scientifically uncorroborated claims about the pernicious effects of alcohol. It was in the 1960s when marijuana’s use became widespread and became associated with peace, music and Woodstock. The ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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