Should marijuana be legalized?

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorCollege, Undergraduate February 2008

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This topic has been debated over for many years but marijuana has remained an illegal substance, although of the many pressures which have been placed apon it to be legalised. I will look at why marijuana is illegal and why it should stay that way.

Firstly what is marijuana and what does it do? Marijuana is a mixture of leaves, stems, and flowering tops of the Indian hemp plant Cannabis, smoked or eaten for its hallucinogenic and pleasure-giving effects. Known in Central Asia and China as early as 3000 BC, marijuana was used as a folk medicine. About 1900 it started to be used as a pleasure-inducing drug, and by the 1960s and '70s its use was widespread among students, becoming, after alcohol, the second most popular drug. Although marijuana has not been proven to be physically addicting, and no physical withdrawal symptoms occur when its use is discontinued, psychological dependence does develop.

Many users describe two phases of marijuana intoxication: initial stimulation, giddiness, and euphoria, followed by sedation and pleasant tranquillity. Negative effects can include confusion, acute panic reactions, anxiety attacks, fear, a sense of helplessness, and loss of self-control.

So why is it illegal? Marijuana is illegal because of it brain altering effects and it tendency to cause psychological disorders, even though marijuana is referred to as a soft drug it can still cause major harm and therefore has remained illegal in Australia. The legalisation of marijuana would result in more robberies, deaths, troubled lives and a host of other complications. Drivers would need to be tested for marijuana as it has similar impairing effects as alcohol. Taxpayers money would be wasted on rehabilitation centres to help people get over marijuana. More and more people would be giving marijuana a try because it would be...