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Those who oppose legalizing marijuana tell us that legalizing it would be
seriously detrimental. Are they looking at the facts? Or do they just
believe the same myths that our parents created when they were trying to
stop us from becoming drug addicts? Let&rsquos take a closer look at the

Violence surrounding drug dealing would be lessened by legalizing
marijuana because small time drug dealers would essentially be forced out
of business. Larger companies who could produce high quality marijuana at
lower cost would prevail. Most people would buy from these companies
because they would know the product was free of adulterants and would
contain no poisons. Wars between dealers of marijuana would end, and the
sale of marijuana could be monitored by government the same way as
essentially any other legitimate business. Sellers would be made
accountable and a culture of responsibility would be formed. Desperate
acts of theft and violence associated with its distribution would
disappear as the black market disappears. Additionally, marijuana abusers
who are currently being forced to live a life of shame and secrecy could
openly seek help.

Dangerous drugs such as crack cocaine and LSD are consistently placed in
the same category as marijuana. These drugs are admittedly dangerous, but
research has never been able to identify a link between crime and

Countless Americans have been branded as criminals and thrown into prison
for merely possessing or smoking marijuana. Truly violent criminals are
often paroled early for sheer lack of prison space because users of
marijuana occupy the space. Why not leave the rapists and murderers in
prison and let marijuana users engage in a relatively mild form of
personal stimulation?

Marijuana is safe and effective for medical use. Studies have proven that
it is effective in reducing nausea and vomiting and that it can stimulate
the appetite. This could help cancer and AIDS patients who face
emaciation. Marijuana reduces tremors, restores balance, stops muscle
spasms, restores bladder control, and restores speech and eyesight for
multiple sclerosis patients. It can even prevent epileptic seizures. It
can also alleviate pain and sometimes stop the progression of glaucoma
because it reduces intraocular pressure.

Marijuana is relatively harmless. Researchers from Kaiser Permanente in
Oakland and the University of California School of Public Health in
Berkeley compared the health risks of smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana,
and drinking alcohol. They found that smoking tobacco was a greater
hazard than smoking marijuana, and that the dangers of drinking alcohol
and smoking marijuana were about the same. Their studies indicated that
regular use of marijuana did not lead to a higher mortality rate. The DEA
has also admitted that marijuana does not pose a very big health risk.

There is a difference between "relatively harmless" and "safe". Drinking
water is relatively harmless until you drink too much, upset your
electrolyte balance, and suffer death. Driving a car is relatively
harmless until you drive into a tree. Nothing is safe for all people all
the time. Marijuana, like anything else, will pose health risks when
abused or used irresponsibly.

Virtually anything may be addictive. Housework may be addictive, but to
say that it is would be ludicrous. To millions of people like me,
housework is anything but addictive. Roller-skating may be addictive.
Should we put warning labels on roller skates? For a drug to be
classified as addictive, it must be proven that numerous individuals have
trouble discontinuing its use or that it interferes with other life
activities. National epidemiological surveys show that one third of
Americans over the age of twelve have used marijuana. Of those same
people, only nine percent have used marijuana in the past year and only
2.8 percent have used it in the past week. Additionally, many daily users
consumed marijuana in a way that did not interfere with other life
activities. These studies tend to suggest that the majority of people who
try marijuana do not become addicted.

According to DAWN (Drug Abuse Warning Network), emergency rooms are not
flooded with marijuana users. In fact only about one percent of all
people admitted to the emergency room mention using marijuana alone (as
opposed to in combination with other drugs, which increases the percent
slightly). In fact, mentions of over-the-counter pain medications were
more frequent.

Numerous attempts have been made through research to prove that marijuana
induces an amotivational effect. The truth is this effect does not exist.
Studies have shown that marijuana has no effect on motivation, grade
point average, or job productivity. In fact, in Jamaica, marijuana is
often used to increase productivity when workers must endure longer

The legalization of marijuana would have many benefits for the federal
budget. First of all, the sale of marijuana could be taxed. Right now,
drug dealing is a tax-free operation. If marijuana were made legal, an
arrangement could be made to license the production of marijuana
cigarettes. The producer would have to pay a licensing fee and the
customer would be taxed at the time of purchase (as well as any retailers
in between). The companies making the cigarettes would also have to pay
income taxes.

As marijuana has many medical uses and is fairly expensive ($160 to $400
per ounce), pharmaceutical companies also stand to make a profit. Drug
paraphernalia could be openly sold and profits could be made there as

The court system would profit as well. Courts would not be burdened by
all of the marijuana cases that come before it. The cost of imprisoning
marijuana users is enormous. If they were not convicted to begin with, we
wouldn&rsquot need a place to put them.

The war on drugs is accomplishing as much by chasing marijuana users as a
fire fighter would by trying to put out a forest fire with one fire
truck. If it is fought back in one place, it pops up in another. Drug
enforcement officials are wasting their time and money trying to fight
marijuana use. If marijuana were legalized, the money could be better
concentrated on keeping minors off drugs. Achievable objectives could be
set for law enforcement. Illogical patterns of law enforcement could end
and a more responsible approach to controlling marijuana could be



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