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Essay/Term paper: Legalization of marjuana

Essay, term paper, research paper:  Alcohol and Drugs

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Legalization of Marjuana

Drug use is becoming more common today than in recent years. Almost
anywhere we look, we can find some relation to drugs or drug paraphernalia. In
fact, 63% of you stated in my survey that you had smoked marijuana in the past.
That number is scary, since 81% of you are under 25 years of age and have your
whole lives ahead of you. Some of you may be thinking "So What" Bill Clinton
has admitted smoking marijuana, and he is President. Well, that surely is not a
good attitude to have considering the damage that marijuana may cause to your

Sure, many of you may not change your lifestyle after today, but I hope
to make you think of what you may be getting yourself in to. This afternoon I
will give you both sides of the issue. I will try to persuade you to stay away
from marijuana in turning you against this dangerous drug.

Many supporters of marijuana claim that hemp can be a very resourceful
plant. Hemp is considered to contain less than one percent
tetrahydrocannabinols (THC) (Pluff 1). THC is the psychoactive chemical found
in marijuana. Hemp can be confused with marijuana and considered the same, but
do not let this fool you. Marijuana comes from the flowers or "buds" of the
hemp plant. These buds are what contains the THC and gives the user the high
effect (Pluff 1). Other nations such as Europe have registered varieties of
hemp seeds that contain less than .03 percent of THC including the buds (Pluff

Now that you know what hemp is, lets look at its uses. Hemp fiber can
be turned in to rope, canvas, and paper, and this is only a few of the uses.
The rope that is made with hemp is said to be resistant to both fresh water and
salt water. It is also considered better than most conventional rope by its
strength and holding power. Another product that can be made from hemp is
canvas. This canvas is very useful in making tents, sails, and even the covers
on early settlers' wagons. Like the rope, the canvas also stands up well
against water, and ninety percent of ship's sails were made of hemp canvas
before the nineteenth century. The last product I am going to talk about is
hemp paper. This paper is much softer than conventional paper, and it is stated
that, "one acre of hemp can replace four acres of forest" (Pluff 2). This paper
also does not yellow or crumble with age, a common complaint with conventional
paper (Pluff 1).

You may be wondering why such a useful plant is illegal, well let me
tell you the other side of the story. Marijuana is said to be useful in the
medical field as a cure for some disease. It is also an argument that smoking
marijuana does not cause any side affects. I will prove this to be untrue, and
a myth of society.

The first claim by the supporters of marijuana is for medical reasons.
Through much research doctors have found that marijuana may be a treatment for
such illnesses as glaucoma, cancer, and acquired immune deficiency syndrome
(AIDS). In fact, Proposition 215 just passed in California and Arizona giving
citizens the right to smoke marijuana for medical reasons (Medical 1). One
thing that is overlooked with this is that marijuana is not a cure, but a relief
from the pain suffered by these citizens. If it is a relief from pain the
sufferer is looking for, there are many other options to consider before
choosing something as dangerous as marijuana. It only takes a little common
sense to figure that something that is considered illegal by the Federal
Government could not be used as a cure for any illness. Wisconsin lists
marijuana under Schedule I of the Uniformed Controlled Substance Act. This
means that any drugs under Schedule I, including marijuana, are not useful in
curing any known illness.

Schedule I is also where all the most serious drugs are listed. This puts
marijuana in the same class with heroin and cocaine.

Another problem with marijuana is the affects on the male and female
body. One way frequent marijuana use affects males is by Gynecomastia.
Gynecomastia is the enlargement of the male breast tissue (Jones 51). This
disease is not well known to the general public. This may be because males who
get the disease usually keep the symptoms to themselves and not risk
embarrassment. The next problem with males and marijuana is the reduction of
their sperm count. "Sperm counts in males were measured, and after a month of
heavy smoking the sperm count was reduced by as much as 70 percent" (Jones 62).
Along with the reduction of the sperm count, the male has a reduction of
testosterone. Testosterone is the principal male hormone and responsible for
the growth of the male reproductive system. This drop in the sperm count and
reduction of testosterone may not seem too important now but like I mentioned
before, "81 percent of you are under age 25" and this may affect your lives
dramatically in the future.
Marijuana affects females by disrupting nerve pathways in the brain
which may lead to infertility. A study done on monkeys at the University of
California at Davis, showed that when the female monkeys were given increased
amounts of THC they were more likely to neglect their offspring (Jones 71). A
problem with marijuana use by pregnant females is the possibility that the baby
may me born with deformities or even stillborn (Jones 72). Females have also
shown an increase in testosterone levels which is the opposite of the male user.

An affect that takes no side in users of marijuana is short term memory
loss. (Ray 435). In everyday use, the marijuana user has a hard time recalling
information that they may have just learned minutes before. The frequent user
may also experience loss in time sense. With this the marijuana user feels that
more time has passed than actually has elapsed. The final thing usually
affected is tracking behavior. This may lead to crashing a motor vehicle
because the impaired driver could not keep their attention on the road in which
they were driving.

To sum it all up, marijuana use is increasing among individuals. Almost
everywhere we look there is support for this drug. This does not make sense in
a society that is hung up on looking good and living a full life. Everyday we
are making improvements to our society and making America a better place to live.
I feel that with the legalization of marijuana we will begin to take a step
backwards. One can only wonder, if marijuana was legalized what would drug
supporters pick next. And remember that when the commercial says "This buds is
for you" do not believe them, just say no!

Works Cited

Jones, and Lovinger, Paul W. The Marijuana Question. New York: Dodd, Mead &
Company, 1985.

Levin, Peter A. Contemporary Problems of Drug Abuse. Massachusetts: Publishing
Sciences Group, Inc,1974

Medical Marijuana Initiative Proposition 215 home page. "Intro. to Medical
Marijuana & Prop. 215"

Nowlis, Helen. Drugs demystified. Paris: The Unesco Press, 1975.

Ray, Oakly Stern. Drugs, Society, & Human Behavior. Missouri: Mosby, 1983.


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