Marijuana’s Affect on American Culture

Marijuana: A Questionable Herb

Individuals fear the unknown, and when they do not research, they do not have enough background knowledge on information, such as the legalization of marijuana. Legalizing marijuana has been a hot topic for years now. The subject of legalization has spread throughout media, and recently more protests have sprung up regarding the issue of marijuana. Currently, individuals with high influence in society such as lawyers, editors, and government officials are reaching out to contact individuals to support the cause, by means of newspapers, television commercials, and audio commercials. Marijuana, although many believe it is harmful, has many uses and benefits. Contrary to popular belief, legalizing marijuana can benefit people through medicinal uses, reduced crime rates, and support of the economy through increases in tax revenue.

Marijuana has countless benefits that patients will receive; therefore, it should be legalized for medical purposes. When I was eight years old, my Nana was diagnosed with stage four skin cancer. Her doctor told my family that nothing could be done because the chemotherapy was not working. Marijuana was the only option at this point because her medication was not relieving her pain. Unfortunately, medical marijuana is illegal in the state of Florida, thus, she was unable to obtain it. Interestingly, The Drug Enforcement Administration claimed that marijuana was, “one of the therapeutically safest substances known to mankind”. Cancer patients have a minimal appetite and are prone to nausea. For that reason, the use of marijuana will help ensure they are consuming food. My Nana would have been able to consume food, therefore, she would have been healthier, and more prone to fight her cancer. It is heart-wrenching knowing that if we lived in California, one of the few states where marijuana is legal, then my Nana would not have been in an immense amount of pain in the final stages of her life. Medicinal marijuana will not only help cancer patients reduce pain, but it can also be helpful for other medical purposes such as reducing tumor size, which is one reason it should be legalized in all states. When one becomes terminally ill, they will search the world for a pain reliever, which will not be necessary once marijuana is legalized.

While medicinal marijuana is thought to have positive side effects for cancer patients, there are also studies done that relate to the negative aspects of marijuana. For example, “Marijuana use permanently alters brain structure and function, causing memory loss, cognitive impairment, personality deterioration, and reduces productivity”.  These symptoms often frighten people into believing that the negatives outweigh the positives. On the contrary, if a patient is using medicinal marijuana, then they are already in the final stages of their lives or are already suffering. Once in this stage, it is inconsequential whether these problems arise. The positive side effects of marijuana outweigh the negative side effects, due to the increased level of benefits patients receive while going through these life-changing procedures, such as chemotherapy.

As well as benefiting individuals through medicinal uses, marijuana can decrease the crime rate if legalized. Once legal, marijuana can result in fewer misdemeanors and fewer juvenile criminals. For example, since 2011 California’s rate in juvenile crime has drastically decreased, in fact, it was a record low. During that year, arrests for violent crimes have dropped by 16 percent, homicide decreased by 26 percent, and drug arrests decreased by 50 percent. Also, following California’s legalization of marijuana, punishment for possessing small amounts of marijuana is logged as an infraction, instead of a misdemeanor, which resulted in fewer adolescents being convicted. Once an adolescent is convicted for possession, with even a pittance of marijuana, it leads to an entire career and life potentially destroyed. By dropping the charge of a misdemeanor, adolescents stay out of juvenile detention and keep a steady grip on life. Being put into a detention center at such an age has more potential to guide teens to the wrong path than to correct themselves. Without legalizing marijuana, teens can ruin their futures and even have a chance to be jobless for a simple mistake at a young age. Not only does legalization aid juveniles, but adults as well. Also, adults do not get convicted as much, and their opportunities in life and career are not affected when using marijuana. The legalization of marijuana can benefit people everywhere by ensuring they will not have things such as misdemeanors holding them back from getting jobs.

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