Legalization Of Marijuana Dear Congressman, I am honored to be writing to you on such a significant topic of national concern. Average citizens are annoyed and just plain fatigued with the drugs and crime problems in America. These upright citizens, that contribute to the growth of American society, are being told that legalization is a reasonable alternative to dealing with these problems in their communities. Legalization of any drug is not a positive way to fight crime. In fact, there is no legitimate reason to legalize drugs.
The Legalization of marijuana is the starting point of the pro-legalization of drugs movement. The issue of legalizing marijuana is truly a controversial one, and certainly one that requires a plethora of considerations at the top levels of the legislative branch. When considering the possibility of legalizing marijuana as a recreational drug, there are a number of concerns that come to mind. Is marijuana physically harmful to the user? Is marijuana an addictive drug? Does the use of marijuana lead to dependency situations? Does it act as “gateway” to more hazardous drugs? Does the notion of legalizing marijuana send an immoral, wrong message to the youth of America? Mr. Congressman, the answer to all these questions is YES.
According to the DEA (1998), the supreme ruler of drug knowledge in America, there are over 10,000 scientific studies that prove marijuana is a harmful and addictive drug. Yet there is no reliable study that proves marijuana has any medical value. Marijuana is an unstable mixture of over 425 chemicals, which when smoked are converted to over thousands. Most of these are toxic, psychoactive chemicals which are unstudied and appear in uncontrolled strengths. Marijuana leads to many different consequences depending on the personality and general characteristics of the individual using the drug. These may include, but are not limited to: premature cancer, addiction, coordination and perception impairment, mental disorders, hostility and increased aggressiveness, general unconcern of life, memory loss, reproductive disabilities, and impairment to the immune system. Marijuana is currently up to 25 times more potent than it was in the 1960’s, which makes the drug even more addictive.
In 1994, a U.S. Court of Appeals ruled that marijuana should remain a Schedule I drug: highly addictive with no medical usefulness. Marijuana is a harmful substance. The use of marijuana for the purposes of intoxication leads to a number of serious health risks. Research has proven that marijuana damages short term memory, distorts perceptions, impairs complex motor skills, alters the heart rate, can lead to severe anxiety, and can cause paranoia and lethargy. A condition called Amotivational syndrome take places after chronic use.
It is defined by Dr. Harry Avis (1996), professor of psychology as, “a condition characterized by a lack of ambition or desire to succeed, presumed to be the result of smoking marijuana.” As reported in The Medical Journal of Australia, “Marijuana causes birth defects, fetal damage, lung cancer, long-term impairment of memory, schizophrenia, suppression of the immune system, and even leukemia in the children of marijuana-smoking mothers” (Nahas & Latour, 1992). The National Institute on Drug Abuse (1996) reported that the chemicals found in marijuana smoke suppresses the neurons in the information-processing system of the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that is crucial for learning, memory, and the integration of sensory experiences with emotions and motivation. Marijuana, should it be legalized, would ruin many Americans’ abilities to learn, and would abruptly decay the development and progress of the American Society. Marijuana is dangerous, and it is more dangerous than it ever has been. The federal Drug Abuse Warning Network, or DAWN, claims that recent statistics show increases in the number of patients mentioning marijuana in hospital emergency rooms (“The Marijuana Debate Goes On”, 1998). Inexperienced users may suffer acute anxiety the first time they use it.
This could be a direct result of the increase in potency of marijuana. Growers have access to the latest agricultural technologies and scientific methods which enable them to grow more powerful marijuana. “Growers have become extremely sophisticated about developing varieties of marijuana with high concentrations of THC” (“Is Marijuana Dangerous? Is It Addictive?”, 1995). THC, or Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol is one of the 400 chemicals in marijuana. It accounts for most of marijuana’s psychoactive, or mind-altering, effects (“Facts About Marijuana and Marijuana Abuse”, 1996). The levels of THC found in the modern drug markets’ marijuana are much higher than they have ever been.
The concentration of THC will keep increasing in the future. This directly leads to more and stronger addictions to marijuana. One argument that the pro-legalization movement pleads is that there are thousands of legal medical drugs on the market that have possible side effects that can be dangerous to the user. One effect can be dependency and addiction to prescription drugs. Now, sure there are perception drugs on the market that are potentially dangerous to the person taking the drugs, but their effects are nothing compared to that of marijuana.
Such a comparison can be made with a knife and a gun. Both are potentially lethal and dangerous. Just being careless with a knife can result in death or injury, but with the gun, all one has to be is stupid enough to mess with it. Also, recreational marijuana users are not taking marijuana under a doctor’s supervision, or taking a prescribed dosage from a pharmacist. This argument is by no means grounds for possible consideration of legalizing marijuana. The addictive ability of marijuana has been studied and discussed for some time now.
Many studies have transpired to verify these addictive effects. It is said that marijuana is not physically addictive but is psychologically addictive. None the less, there are obvious signs that marijuana users become addicted in some manner. “Nationwide about 100,000 people a year seek treatment to get off marijuana,” according to Alan I. Leshner, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse (“Is Marijuana Dangerous? Is It Addictive,” 1995).
Dr. David Smith, founder of Haight-Ashbury Free Clinics in San Francisco, says that, “the clinics there treat about 100 youths a month who seek help with marijuana dependency” (“Is Marijuana Dangerous? Is It Addictive,” 1995). Most people probably aren’t aware, but an organization called Marijuana Anonymous actually exists. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop using marijuana. Such an organization would not exist if addiction and dependency were not associated with marijuana use. The physically harmful and addictive effects of marijuana should be grounds enough to stop the legalization campaigns.
We need to stay focused though, on a much more critical problem our nation faces with this pro-drug crusade. That is protecting the American children from throwing their lives away on drugs. If marijuana were legalized with restrictions, similar to the age restrictions on tobacco and alcohol, the use of marijuana by children under such an age would increase. If it’s legal, children would get the notion that it isn’t harmful. The physical effects of marijuana mentioned previously are much more dangerous to the youths of America, who’s minds and bodies have not even finished developing.
The Office of National Drug Control Policy’s Statement on Marijuana for Medical Purposes (1997) says, “marijuana use amon …