Going to Pot: Should Marijuana be Legal?
Marijuana, or pot, as it is colloquially called, is a substance that has long been illegal to use as a drug in the U.S., and for good reason. It is an extremely addictive drug with many negative health effects. Both short-term and long-term use have serious negative effects. However, as we all know, just because marijuana cannot be legally purchased and used does not mean that usage and sales are not going full-force. Read on to learn more about marijuana’s negative health effects and why some advocate its legalization.
First, why do people smoke marijuana? For many, the short answer is that they smoke it to get “high.” Marijuana enters the system very fast when inhaled; this allows the user to get the high effect almost immediately. This practice becomes extremely addictive. The user will crave the highs and will enter withdrawal if he/she does not get high. This addiction leads to repetitive use which leads to long-term negative health effects.
The biggest health risk is lung cancer, just as with tobacco smoking. Other risks include reduced testosterone levels for men and slowed reaction time. All of these risks are quite serious.
Given all of these risks, why do some believe that marijuana should be legalized? Some believe that legalization of marijuana would get rid of the violent drug trade currently used to obtain and sell the drug. According to this point of view, if one can legally purchase and use marijuana, why would he/she still use the old way to get it. Advocates of this point of view also believe that the taxes that could be charged on legal marijuana sales could generate helpful revenue.
There are two problems with these viewpoints. If marijuana were legally sold, there would be significant taxes on it. These taxes would cause users to return to their previous “vendors” in order to avoid paying the hefty taxes. Therefore, the black market would probably still exist. The second problem is that the revenue generated by these taxes would be much less than the negative cost of increased usage because of the legalization. More and more people would start using marijuana, and the number and magnitude of the negative effects would skyrocket.
Now you have a few reasons on both sides of the marijuana legalization argument. It is up to you to decide which side you take, but take all factors into consideration.