The Legalization of Marijuana

Zachary Whitsett
Dr. MacNaughton
Writing 122 – Essay 1.2
27 Jan. 2010
The Legalization of Marijuana
Opponents of medical marijuana, like Karen P. Tandy, claim that marijuana is not medicine because smoking it is hazardous to health. She points out that the FDA has approved no medicines that are smoked because it is a poor way to deliver medicine (3). This ignores the fact that marijuana does not need to be smoked. Some prefer to eat it. For patients in need of dose control, the hazards of smoke and butane—found in lighters—can be avoided by using vaporizers.
Those against marijuana also praise use of the drug Marinol, which contains a synthetic form of marijuana’s active ingredient, THC. George W. Bush’s Deputy Drug Czar Andrea Barthwell claimed that marijuana users against Marinol hold their position because Marinol “does not produce a high”. This statement is false. The high produced by Marinol is enough that it is the first warning about the drug in the Physician’s Desk Reference. The oral administration of Marinol makes control of THC doses incredibly difficult, and increases the risk for adverse psychoactive effects.
Another major concern of marijuana legalization is the impact it would have on society. It would seem obvious that legalizing something would increase its rate of use. However, California’s Proposition 215 has shown us that this is not always the case. After that law took effect, teen marijuana use dropped over the next six years—as much as 40% (Marijuana 10).
Legalization would significantly decrease both our nation’s crime rate, and our prison population. In 2003, 1,678,200 Americans were arrested on drug charges. That year, more arrests were made for drug offenses than for murder, manslaughter, forcible rape and aggravated assault combined (Stamper 2).
Furthermore, legalization would both decrease our nation’s expenses and increase its income. About $69 billion a year is spent on the War on Drugs. This does not...