The Legalization of Marijuana

Essay by P1mphandCollege, UndergraduateA+, April 2004

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Legalize it!

Think back to the late 60's and 70's and a few images will come to mind, the Vietnam War, man on the moon, and for almost everybody the image of a group of hippies somewhere in a field smoking a joint. The once hippies and marijuana users are now grown-ups with a mission, legalization of the drug they once used to help them escape. I personaly feel that these people have good reasoning behind their cause. Although I have not used the drug in almost a year I agree with many of the ideas behind legalization.

The first fact that is making a strong impact on the views of not only myself but also many others is the vast usage today. A 1999 report done by the Institute of Medicine, a highly credible source, found that, in 1996 68.6 million people or 32% of the United Stated population over 12 had tried marijuana at least once in there lifetime and was growing (Lowry, 2001).

More recent studies put the figure at 47%. That is nearly half of the population. These numbers are up almost 15% in only 7 years. With numbers like this the case of marijuana prohibition is beginning to look like the alcohol prohibition of the 30's. America is sending nearly 700,000 people a year to prison for marijuana related crimes (Lowry, 2001). In a nation with as large of an overcrowding problem as the US's it is amazing to me that 700,000 cells are tied up by people who are participating in a victimless crime like marijuana usage.

The limited effects of marijuana that are now being studied and brought to life are also swaying people from their once strict stand on marijuana. Marijuana obviously has the ability to intoxicate and individual in the short...