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Running head: MARIJUANA






Should Marijuana Be Legalized?
Kleyse Mirelle de Oliveira Vieira Santana
American Language and Culture Program
University of Idaho














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Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

Why isn’t marijuana allowed? Well, the most common answer is always about marijuana
being not healthy. However, what would be the reason for bacon being allowed, and what about
alcohol, amphetamines, or tobacco? Beyond that, Have you ever heard about someone who died
because of marijuana? Probably not, because marijuana is not a lethal drug. According to the
Brazilian Ministry of Justice, the lethal dose of marijuana is bigger than the usual, which is found
in other drugs; actually it is around 1000 times bigger, which can represent thirty percent of the
human body. To clarify, Nick Wing (2013), in his article “Here Are All The People Who Have
Died From A Marijuana Overdose”, shows that to be at risk of dying it is necessary to consume
20 – 40,000 times the amount of THC, which is the main psychoactive found in marijuana,
contained in a cigarette of Cannabis. Therefore, although people believe Marijuana should not be
legalized, many research shows the opposite; because it is not a lethal drug, its legalization can
reduce drug trafficking, and the usage of its taxes collected by the government can assist
government programs. Thus, this essay will try to demystify this controversial issue, and make
people reach a consensus on how to deal with this question in society.
As the first topic in favor of marijuana, people should know this is not a lethal drug,
actually, it is the opposite; marijuana has a high medical power, and it can be used to alleviate
debilitating symptoms. To clarify, Cannabis Sativa, scientific name of this popular plant, has a
wide set of chemicals with some medical purposes. According to the National Institute on Drug
Abuse (2014), besides Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which is its main psychoactive, there are
more than a hundred other substances in this plant. Moreover, when therapeutic effects are
concerned, the most important ones are THC and cannabidiol (CBD), which is a non-
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psychoactive. They are both responsible for appetite stimulation, nausea, pain, and inflammation
reduction, and spasticity. Because of this, 20 states in the United States have already allowed the
medical use of marijuana on total. In those states, there are doctors who prescribe medicine
based on marijuana’s active substances to their patients. Still, in the current year, the WebMD’s
website for health professionals did a survey, titled Marijuana on Main Street over, with 1500
physicians from 12 specialties and 48 states in the US, and approximately 3000 consumers,
answered a questionnaire about legalization of marijuana for medical purpose. And, surprisingly,
the majority of doctors, almost 70 percent, said it should be legalized and be an option for their
patients. While, among the consumers, around only 50 percent were in favor of the marijuana
legalization as medicine. Therefore, this study could show that Cannabis may provide good
results in treatments of diseases when a doctor prescribes it. As an example of the positive side
of this plant, in 2012 the CBS News exposed and some other important news websites, such as
Huffington Post, and Daily Mail UK, exposed a history of Mykayla Comstock, a 7 years old girl,
who was suffering from leukemia, which is a kind of cancer. In the article posted by the
websites, her parents said she was suffering collateral effects from the chemotherapy. Therefore,
there was two choices to ease them: traditional medicines, which were various pills of narcotic
drugs, such as Vicodin and OxyContin; or the natural medicine, which were pills made from
marijuana’s oil; but, the second option was offered only because the girl and her family lived in
Oregon, state where the usage of Cannabis as medicine is already legalized. Her parents decided
to treat the effects of the chemotherapy with pills made of marijuana’s oil. Thus, instead of take
narcotic drugs, the girl took a gram of Cannabis oil, which coincides to 2 pills, daily. And,
according to her, besides decreasing the pains, those pills helped her to sleep and eat well,
beyond making her feel funnier. Yet, even with all those positive aspects, people are still against
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the cannabis legalization, because they believe it is highly addictive. However, there is no
enough research to prove it is true. According to a Brazilian professional of biomedicine, and
researcher of the Center for Neurobiology and Psychiatric Disorders from USP, one of the most
important Brazilian universities, the addiction to cannabis does not exist, there is only the habit
to smoke it. Actually, consumers smoke it frequently, but there is no cases of abstinence or
tolerance (when the drug does not have effects anymore), which are symptoms of addiction.
Therefore, this fear that is felt by most people is not a valid reason to be contrary to marijuana.
The second positive point in favor to marijuana legalization is the reduction of drug
trafficking. According to the U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, over 60 percent of the
profits received by Mexican drug traffickers are obtained from the sale of marijuana to the
United States. Actually, about 50 percent of the marijuana consumed in the US is from illegal
importation, and Mexico is the biggest provider. In 2007, an economic assessment showed that
Americans spend more than a hundred dollars to consume cannabis, and over one in ten citizens
do it frequently. That is why the illegal exportation of this drug still exists and tends to increase;
there is a large demand in the US. To show the reduction of drug trafficking reached by the
cannabis legalization, Make & Clark (2012), in their technical report “Si Los Vecinos
Legalizan”, argue that the Mexican drug cartels could face a reduction of approximately 30
percent of their revenue if the drug was legalized. To achieve this result, Make & Clark used a
statistic model, which estimated the price of marijuana in the states that would legalize it. Thus,
they could forecast that cannabis native consumers would prefer to buy the domestic one because
of its lower price. Furthermore, another argument that can change people’s thought about
marijuana is the fact that nowadays most part of the marijuana sold is note pure; sellers add some
chemical substances into the plant already processed, consequently it might cause some
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problems to the users. Therefore, with marijuana legalization this product can reach a standard
quality. According to McVay, in his article “Marijuana Legalization: The Time is Now”, as this
drug will be assisted by the government, the producers and processing companies will maintain
the best quality of the product, guarantying the availability of the good-quality, which makes the
product safer for consumers. Nevertheless, despite these facts, people do not agree with its
legalization, and another argument is that turning it legal encourages more drug use, mainly
among teens. However, on April 25 of this current year, The Washington Post, exposed an article
titled “Study: Legalizing medical marijuana has not increased teen pot use”, which shows a study
affirming that marijuana legalization for medical use does not increase teen use. To make it
clear, this study was done by the Journal of Adolescent Health, and they used data from the
Youth Risk Behavioral Surveillance Survey between 1991 and 2011, which exposed teen use of
marijuana in some states where its medical use is allowed. As a result, they realized that there
was not considerable differences in the use before and after law change for any state.
Accordingly, the arguments stated from the largest part of people shows that their points of view
might be based on prejudice, once marijuana was always known as a drug.
Yet, misunderstandings about this plant have become less spread, and people have
become more awake about its benefits, mainly the youth. To make it clearer, I conducted a small
study in a personal survey about marijuana. It was applied to 19 students of the U of I, including
some Americans, Latinos, and Asians. Astoundingly, the majority of them said they are in favor
of marijuana being legalized for medical use, which implies they are informed about its high
medicinal potential. On the other hand, when recreational use was concerned, most of them were
against legalization. And it may be a result of other thoughts of theirs, because some other
questions show that they believe marijuana is both highly addictive, is as unhealthy as alcohol or
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tobacco, and its legalization will increase the number of teens who use this drug. Accordingly,
the way to make this product legalized worldwide is still long, nevertheless, the advantages are
already being spread up, which is an important first phase.
Sequentially, as probably the most interesting point about marijuana, research indicate
that legalization of marijuana will increase collection of taxes by the government. Nine years
ago, in 2005, Jeffrey Miron, a senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University and a senior
fellow at the Cato Institute, discussed on his report, titled “The Budgetary Implications of
Marijuana Prohibition”, about the consequences of marijuana legalization on revenue. In
summary, the report concluded that legalization would decrease government spending by almost
eight billion dollars per year. Beyond that, if cannabis were taxed as other products, it would
produce tax revenue of around two and a half billion dollars per year. Furthermore, if the taxes
were as large as those from alcohol and tobacco, the amount would be over six billion dollars
annually. In other words, marijuana prohibition becomes too expensive to be maintained by the
government, while its legalization collect money enough to start supporting beneficial
government programs. To exemplify, on January 1, 2014, Colorado has legalized marijuana for
recreational use, and according to Phillips, who is Forbes magazine contributor, the collection of
taxes related to the sale of recreational marijuana in the first month was 2 million dollars; and the
taxes related to medical marijuana was 1.5, which results in an amount of 3.5 million dollars.
Thus, statistically, if these numbers continue, Colorado will pull in over 40 million extra dollars
from cannabis-taxes in the whole year. Yet, despite tax, the main point is what the amount
represents for the state, how the money will return to the citizens. Fortunately, the answer is
splendid: last year voters accepted a law that requires the first forty million collect was gathered
will be targeted towards school creation. Afterwards, the revenue may be used on programs that
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are related to marijuana, which includes keeping adolescence away from drugs, and treatment of
drug abuse. As a result, citizens may realized the optimistic side of the recreational use of
cannabis, which is still feared, once the more money it collects, the more benefits it can bring.
On reflection, as many people consider marijuana as prejudicial as other substances,
being them drugs or not, researchers still insists on proving the contrary through many
arguments, which are based on beneficial consequences that will be brought to the society. Since
this feared drug, which is considered lethal and highly addictive, is less harmful than alcohol,
there is no need to keep it away from people as a deadly monster. That is why many states in the
US, and around the world are making cannabis legalized. Demystifying its awful role is the first
step to progress. after all, legalizing it would mean noteworthy changes in the way everyone
interprets crime, medicine, and use of drugs worldwide, additionally, taxing would only be the
frosting on the cake.











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References

Caulkins, J. P., Hawken, A., Kilmer, B., & Kleiman, M. A. (2012). Marijuana legalization: What
everyone needs to know. Oxford University Press.
Reuter, P. (2010). Marijuana Legalization: what can be learned from other countries. Santa
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Kilmer, B., Caulkins, J. P., & Bond, B. M. (2010). Reducing drug trafficking revenues and
violence in Mexico. RAND Corporation. Retrieved from:
http://www.rand.org/pubs/occasional_papers/OP325.html.
Sullivan, G. (2014). Study: Legalizing medical marijuana has not increased teen pot use. The
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pot-use/.
National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2014). Is Marijuana Medicine? Retrieved from
http://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/drugfacts/marijuana-medicine
WebMD. (2014) Legalize Medical Marijuana, Doctors Say in Survey. Retrieved from:
http://www.webmd.com/news/breaking-news/marijuana-on-main-
street/20140225/webmd-marijuana-survey-web?page=2
Jauregui, A. (2012). Mykayla Comstock, Oregon Girl With Leukemia, Is 7-Year-Old Medical
Marijuana Patient. Retrieved from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/26/mykayla-
comstock-oregon-girl-leukemia-medical-marijuana-video_n_2192676.html
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Dad defends decision to give 7-year-old daughter with leukemia marijuana for the pain. (2012).
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