The Decriminalization of Marijuana : A reaction paper supporting the legalization of marijuana

Essay by shorty1823College, Undergraduate March 2003

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Decriminalization of Marijuana

A very controversial drug in society today is marijuana. The controversy is mostly due to the myths that people have created about marijuana's effects. Opponents of the legalization of marijuana argue that marijuana is a gateway drug, more dangerous than alcohol, and will increase crime if it is decriminalized. Through studies there is proof that these myths are untrue. Therefore the reason for marijuana's status as illegal is not actually there. In fact, having marijuana as an prohibited drug helps the people who sell it make a better profit. Instead America could be making money off of marijuana and at the same time cut down on a lot of crime. So, it is plain to see that the decriminalization of marijuana is the only logical solution.

A persistent myth about marijuana is that it is a gateway drug, leading to the use of harder drugs. The Dutch partially decriminalized marijuana in the 1970's, since then the use of heroin and cocaine has sharply decreased.

The opposite of this gateway affect is also present the United States. In 1993 a study by the Rand Corporation compared drug use in states that have decriminalized marijuana and those that have not. It found that in states where marijuana was more available, hard drug abuse, as measured by emergency room episodes, decreased. What science and real experience tells us is that marijuana tends to substitute for much harder drugs like alcohol, cocaine, and heroin.

Another misconception is that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol. Extremely high doses of marijuana cause death. "Extremely high doses" is the key phrase here. Scientists have concluded that the ratio of marijuana needed to get a person intoxicated (stoned) relative to the amount necessary to kill him is 1 to 40,000. That means that to overdose...