Decriminalize Marijuana for the Good of America

2500 Words Sep 27th, 1999 10 Pages
Decriminalize Marijuana for the Good of America

Currently, drugs remain high on the lists of concerns of Americans and are considered one of the major problems facing our country today. We see stories on the news about people being killed on the street every day over drugs.
To many people drugs are only an inner-city problem, but in reality they affect all of us - users and non-users. I believe that the negative affects we associate with drugs would be greatly reduced if the United States adopted a policy towards the total decriminalization of marijuana. The current drug policy of our government is obviously failing. Drug laws have created corruption, violence, increased street crime, and disrespect for the criminal justice system.
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If marijuana is legalized, many project that lung cancer will increase as the amount of marijuana use increases (Miner 44). These are all valid arguments, but cigarette smoking is legal, a booming business, and causes the same exact problems. There are a number of myths associated with the use of marijuana and its effects on your body which people who are opposed to its decriminalization repeatedly cite. One of these in that Marijuana causes brain damage. This claim is based on a study of the rehus monkey by Dr. Robert Heath in the late
1970's. Heath's work was criticized for its insufficient sample size (only four monkeys), its failure to control experimental bias, and the misidentification of normal monkey brain structure as "damaged" (Hager 1). Actual studies of human populations of marijuana users have shown no evidence of damage to the brain
(Hager 1). In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) conducted two studies in 1977 and they showed no evidence of brain damage in heavy users of marijuana (Hager 1). Later that same year the AMA came out in favor of the decriminalizing of marijuana (Hager 1). That seems to me that the
AMA wouldn't do that if it thought marijuana was damaging to the brain. Another myth is that marijuana damages the reproductive system. This is based on the work of Dr. Gabriel Nahas, who experimented with tissue cells isolated in petri dishes. The cells were dosed with near lethal
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