Marijuana: The Rise of the Jolly Green Giant

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How is it possible that one plant can get so much attention? The marijuana plant has caught the eye of Americans and has been the subject of countless debates across the country to decide whether or not cannabis should be legalized. These debates have shown that people have some strong personal opinions. There are those who believe weed should be legalized, sold in stores, and not only for medical purposes. Instead of legalizing marijuana, however, the United States believes that it is okay to sell tobacco in stores and make it a part of the daily lives of so many citizens. There are also those who believe tobacco should be made illegal.

There are many who believe cannabis should replace tobacco. The nicotine in cigarettes is an addictive drug, known for killing thousands of people a year. Instead of helping to cure cancer, it causes several types of cancer. Marijuana, however, does help to slow the effects of lung cancer. Doctors have a tendency to prescribe patients medical marijuana to help them through cancer treatment. Chemotherapy patients experience a lack of hunger, nausea, and other negative side effects. It has been proven, smoking tobacco, during chemotherapy, will cause negative side effects. Some patients have stated they were feeling more nauseated.

Lung cancer is one of the worst cancers, so why are people opting to enjoy something that has rat poison in it? Rat poison has been found in the chemicals in the tobacco plant. Also, shoe rubber and other dangerous chemicals have been found in a single cigarette. Marijuana has a minimal amount of negative effects. More and more people every day are starting to realize that there really is not a problem with this drug. The U.S. Government does not seem to understand the benefits of cannabis.

Marijuana has many positive effects; it soothes people, makes people feel better, and it is also a fun recreational “drug.” Cannabis has to be naturally grown, leaving fewer carcinogens and chemicals to smoke.

Cannabis does have its negative aspects. People claim that marijuana is a gateway drug, which could be partly true. If the user becomes highly addicted they can then start to build up a tolerance, so in reality, they may resort to a stronger drug. But fortunately, marijuana is not as addictive as tobacco and other drugs. Cannabis could also have a negative effect on the lungs, when smoked, but not as many as tobacco products.

The ban of marijuana in the U.S. has resulted in people have a desire to replicate the feeling marijuana creates and have it be legal. Recently there have been several instances of teens being admitted to hospitals on life support due to a dangerous drug that seems to be a more potent replication of cannabis. Synthetic marijuana, otherwise known as, K2 or spice, has been on the rise. This drug is a slew of chemicals and herbs mixed together to recreate pot, qualifying it as a “designer drug.”

Designer drugs are made in labs. They are typically made to be more potent and last longer. They can also have a tendency to destroy lives. If marijuana was legal, the country would not be experiencing as much of a drug problem as it has now. The great thing about weed is that there are hundreds of different naturally grown strains, which offer different effects.

There are more potent strains and there are less potent ones. There are strains that wake a person up, and also, some that could knock a person out. People have not realized that if marijuana was legalized, there would still be options on what type of high to gain. Some people wouldn’t feel the need to recreate newer or “better” drugs.

Pot is not only useful to people, it has the potential be useful to the government. If it were legalized, the government could make a fortune taxing it, the same way they do from the tobacco industry. The government has to realize there are private growers, but they will diminish once people discover a cheaper and faster way of getting their hands on the same high.

Also, by making marijuana legal, the crime rate would drop. Every year, the U.S. incarcerates on average of 2.2 million people. This is one of the highest crime rates in the world. Approximately 600,000 of those imprisoned are there because of marijuana possession and distribution. That makes up 30 percent of the inmates. Legalizing cannabis, would drop the incarceration rate astronomically, saving the taxpayers several million dollars. All in all, the positive aspects of pot outweigh the negative aspects, that is why the U.S. should consider legalization.

Opinion by Jeremy OConnell

Sources: Synthetic Marijuana – Spice or K2
Drug Policy: Drug War Statistics HIV AND SMOKING
Patients 4 Medical Marijuana: Marijuana vs cigarettes
Top Image Courtesy of Martijn’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Paul Evans’ Flickr Page – Creative Commons License