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Legalizing Marijuana

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Legalizing Marijuana, New Social Stigma:

The new wave of Acceptance

C. LaMour Romine

Pittsburg State University

Definition of Problem to be studied:

This research is a secondary research analysis of the theoretical perspective of the marijuana movement - pertaining to the politic standpoint of marijuana verses cigarettes and scientific medical analysis of marijuana verses cigarettes. This research is meant to explore the multifaceted aspect of marijuana, cigarette trends, and the correlation between their recent waves of popularity. We will explore the historical facts of past tobacco trends to the present marijuana movement including widely held attitudes and beliefs about both substances. The thesis of this research will be to explore the differences between marijuana and cigarettes and social stigmas. Including the shift in popularity between tobacco and marijuana the MJ activist group known as NORML supporting the legalization of cannabis, while anti tobacco organizations have increased to ban cigarette smoke in public places. This research will conceptualize the meanings behind the negative stigmas associated with drugs legal and illegal influence.

The problem is a double standard between the political views of marijuana and cigarettes. The political perspectives seem to be focused on public stigmas about the substance(s) rather than deciding drug laws based on medical science. Marijuana and tobacco have a shared relationship in the type of substance use. Framing theory will be used to explore four correlations in the aspects of: (1) Marijuana short and long term effects, (2) medical pros and cons, (3) recreational use and political standpoints, and (4) the social stigma. The hypothesis of this research is that there is a negative stigma attached to Marijuana (MJ) and not cigarettes because it is perceived as a drug not a social norm.

Review of the Literature:

In recent years there have been countless arguments for and against the prohibition of marijuana (MJ). The history of the marijuana movement peaked in 1937, when the tax act to ban the recreational use of MJ was meant to criminalize any unauthorized use of the substance. There was a negative stigma attached to marijuana use because of its popularity among Mexican immigrant workers in the early 1930’s. In addition, there became a negative association between marijuana use and criminal acts. Criminalizing the possession of marijuana only added to the contrived negative association of MJ use and bad behavior. Compared to tobacco, MJ took a bad rap as a socially unacceptable normality after it was illegal; users of this substance had to stay behind closed doors to enjoy this substance. Tobacco users gathered at bars, restaurants, and street corners to enjoy a drag, whereas MJ users could not publically enjoy their substance choice. MJ and tobacco is an individual choice of consumption activists have argued that the government has no right to pick and choose what is socially acceptable because one’s health risk is up to the individual not government (Jones 2008).

Cigarettes managed to win the popularity contest because of the way it was portrayed – being something that cool, rich, and famous people consumed (camel advertisements mascot Joe the Camel). Historically marijuana was smoked by low income Mexican immigrants but Americas held association to pot as linked to tree huggers and self proclaimed hippies. The popularity between tobacco and marijuana was based on who smoked it and social stigma of its classes (Edell, 2003).

By definition, a drug is any addictive substance that affects the body and/or mind. In that context MJ should be treated no differently then tobacco. Both should be an individual’s choice to consume. There is much evidence that supports the use of tobacco as an addictive substance which is illegal to persons younger then eighteen. However, there is researched evidence that marijuana is an addictive substance but is illegal to all ages. It is empirical that both tobacco and marijuana have similarities in many ways but the line separating the two substances is based on the label and category in which they are given. Up until recent year’s tobacco was a very in crowd thing to do, smoking was passed off more as a symbol of adulthood then as a drug. Marijuana in recent years is becoming less of a drug and more of a new generation symbol of what tobacco once was, the category of marijuana now is in terms of medical benefits and recreational use – ranked number one most used illegal substance in America. In this viewpoint tobacco went from trendy to tolerated and marijuana went from collectively unpopular to the current transition into wide social acceptance (UOC, 2009). There is a double standard at play in the laws regarding tobacco and marijuana use. One can smoke for self pleasure if they have a medical condition such as AIDS, cancer, or glaucoma but to smoke for pleasure without a condition is somehow indifferent to one’s self because now they have no excuse to use the substance therefore they are a druggy. The same could be said of cigarettes depending on how it is categorized. A person who is 40 may smoke cigarettes to relieve stress is considered to be in different circumstances then the 18 year old who smokes to fit in a particular group at school. Tobacco and MJ are not the only substances perceived this way, take for example, alcohol: it is illegal to drink and drive because the individual puts others in danger, but to drink and not drive is the individual’s choice to harm one’s body therefore it is not a public issue of concern. Individuals choose a substance to be addicted to and will feed that addiction by any means necessary (Jones 2008). This leads into the ideology that no drug is fully exempt from negative stigmas moving the issues past public awareness to what is a socially acceptable bonding tool.
Marijuana: short and long term effects

It has been long argued that Marijuana was no longer mass produced or marketed because it had less trade value after the civil war and was used as a common over the counter remedy. Farmers found little value of use in the hemp plant during the 19th century and invested in tobacco fields instead. This may seem of little importance but if it was not for the use of the hemp plant as a drug it would have served little to no value after the civil war. This correlates to the tobacco plant’s use. The nicotine, which is an addictive substance, makes the substance of tobacco more desirable, thus carrying a higher value and quality then cannabis plants (AHA, 2010). Marijuana stimulates the brain and the short term effects are apparent in one’s ability to focus whether it is task related or cognitive. The relaxation effect is psychoactive and lasts longer in the body so it is not necessary to smoke more to remain high during an allotted amount of time (NIDA, 2010).

The short term effects seem relatively harmless, why is MJ considered a destructive drug? This question is better answered in medical scientific advances rather than arbitrary MJ theories and popular beliefs [marijuana is a gateway drug theory] Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) is the drug found in the cannabis plant. The level of THC depends on the type of cannabis and the climate in which it is grown. This makes the drug not easily measured and because it has not been fully explored and tested there is no facts on what is considered a reasonable amount of consumption or daily limit (Mechoulam, 2009).

The long term effects of marijuana are quite similar if not worse than that of tobacco. Dr. Tashkins research on marijuana and lung injury in 2005 said this; “marijuana smoke contains 50–70 percent more carcinogenic hydrocarbons than does tobacco smoke. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do (…) Marijuana smokers show dysregulated growth of epithelial cells in their lung tissue, which could lead to cancer” (NIDA revised, 2009). There is evidence to support that marijuana use is similar to tobacco and perhaps more potent in all levels except addiction by short term users. It takes less time and more use of marijuana to see apparent effects of the drug in the system; however the small number of individuals who may have impairment due to a history of MJ abuse is considered a worst case scenario (Henry, 2005). This correlation would then suggest that MJ users should be given the same freedom as an individual choice of what type of drug to consume if the effects can be weighed on similar scales just as tobacco has been over a span of time – regardless of what the individuals end result is pertaining to health. It is a well known fact that not everyone who smokes tobacco dies of lung cancer. A person’s health does not solely rest on their choice of addiction.
Marijuana: Medical pros and cons Clinical trials that are used to evaluate the medical uses of marijuana are limited in research because it is considered a drug not a medicine. Under the Schedule I Act marijuana is a controlled substance which is prohibiting clinical professionals from reaching a conclusive answer on what the marijuana label should be.

Those who are pro MJ for medicinal use generally have a family member or personally suffer from some type of illness or disease. Most of the people who are pro pot understand that marijuana does not cure their condition. It only lessens the symptoms and eases their suffering. Marijuana is a useful remedy to restore appetite, reduce nausea and relieves tension headaches, which are common side effects of multiple chronic pains, chemotherapy, cancers and AIDS patients. Doctors feel as though marijuana may be useful in easing their patients suffering and most Doctor’s do not view MJ as a bad substance in regulated doses (Morrow, RN, 2009).

There have been countless case studies on the medical use of marijuana. Patients, who have chronic pain, stress, or the side effects of chemotherapy, have reported the marijuana relieves their body of such symptoms. No patient or doctor has referred to marijuana as a cure all drug but more of a quick remedy.

In the case of American rock star Melissa Etheridge said marijuana was the only thing that brought her from feeling as death to at least normal. She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004. Etheridge said the worst part was the side effects from chemotherapy caused her an intense amount of pain to her stomach, eyes, ears, and skin. She decided to try marijuana and was amazed that the cannabis took away the pain where the prescription medication had no effect or improvement for her. Marijuana restored her appetite and ability so leave the bed. Her wife (Tammy Michaels) gave her a dose of marijuana every four hours while she underwent chemotherapy Etheridge’s dosage was marijuana boiled into butter and spread over her meals. Melissa Etheridge is a cancer survivor who owes her recovery and strength to cannabis. She now smokes marijuana after meals because she no longer believes prescription pills are cable of giving her the same relief from her severe heartburn and acid reflux. Melissa’s story is the same exact case as other cancer patients or chronic illness testaments. The medical use of marijuana is more strongly supported then recreational use because it is effective in empirical ways. Etheridge was asked if the medical use of marijuana left her high and she said “unless you have gone through pain with no relief then you do not realize the use of marijuana makes you normal again not high (…) and who are we to say what a legitimate reason is to smoke marijuana is, if it helps somebody at the end of the day instead of drinking a couple glasses of wine to have a few tokes (… )Why must we be so judgmental if these people are not hurting anybody?”(Melissa Ethridge, Interview with CNN, 2008)

On the opposite spectrum medical marijuana use can cause other problems in patients that did not previously exist, such as effects on short term memory and damage to the immune system. One of the stronger arguments against the use of medical marijuana is that for minor’s consumption of pot, is exposing them to drugs. In early ages, adolescents could develop a psychological addiction to use drugs inherently making marijuana the “gateway drug” (SAMHSA, 2008). Since most cancer patients have low immunity, smoking marijuana will not help strengthen their system like medical drugs and treatments should, MJ also increases the amount of pathogens in the air sacs causing more exposure to infection, thus prolonging signs of recovery (Nahas MD. PhD, 1997). However, to exploit marijuana as a dangerous drug to demote its medical uses does make sense in context. Using marijuana to relieve symptoms puts less money in doctor’s pockets and steals the power of prescription drugs that may or may not be helpful to the condition of the patient. In the case study of Melissa Etheridge she said during an interview with CNN [in short]. After her recovery from chemotherapy it is easier and more affordable to use marijuana then take a different pill to relieve each pain and an extra pill to reduce the side effects of the pain pill medication.

Fifty Million Americans self medicate on prescription drugs because it is legal to do so. These same Americans put their children in danger of overdosing on their parent’s prescription medication or stealing the pills for “pharm party purposes” increasing the chances of death by 75%. [pharm parties is a new trend by teenagers that steal pharmaceutical pills such as Vicodin, OxyContin, and other prescription medication from their parents. The pills are poured in a bowl known as ‘skittles’, ‘natural power,’ and ‘dance pills’ and swallowed by the fistfuls at parties.] Prescription pill overdoses are correlated with the consumption of wrong pills or mixing pills with alcoholic beverages, the death toll becomes an epidemic among teens and college aged adults (Health professional Aleccia, 2008. Health and Behavior Leinwand, 2006). There is a significant amount of research that has yet to find a case where a person has died from overdosing on cannabis. This means that prescriptions pills are alarmingly more dangerous to teenager’s health and contribute to deaths than marijuana would be whether it was legal or not. Prescription medication is legal to all ages and serves to be more perilous than a natural drug that is punishable by law.

To avoid abuse of marijuana due to a medical condition the laws of medical marijuana should maintain the standard that is in effect now. Until marijuana becomes established as a deviant legal or illegal substance for all adult users, medicinal marijuana use should be viewed as merely another drug to ease pain (Grinspoon MD, 2006). Doctors recognize a practical use of the substance but its distribution should be at the professionals discretion based on the individuals condition not one standardized guideline passed by legislation. In addition, possession of medical marijuana by adults may have a more favorable outcome if their teens steal their prescription marijuana because the end result will not be fatality.

Marijuana: Recreational use and political standpoints The recreational use of MJ is no obscure ideology. There is, in fact, a holiday devoted to celebrating cannabis on April 20th. In Boulder, Colorado there is a public celebration of the 4/20 holiday held annually by college students without the support of faculty members. In 2009 alone there were more than 10,000 college students at the University of Colorado that gathered on campus to participate and they were evidently stoned. The college students who participated were merely exercising their freedom of speech rebelling against the chancellors advisory to not attend the gathering. The political stands taken for and against marijuana are on a continuous scale and are based more on feelings rather than facts. On the grand scheme marijuana should be measured the same way alcohol and tobacco is and limited to adults (NORML, 2010). There is a certain pot pride that goes along with MJ users and they do not help the political focus of the marijuana movement legalization. Instead of marijuana users portraying the use of pot as a social stimulator, there are some independent activists that portray the use of marijuana as a way to fight the system. Activists who are expressing views on marijuana that offer no political gain are defeating the cause and strengthening a negative response for legislators. A nonprofit lobbying organization called the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) are well educated and bring valid points in the recreational use of MJ. NORML was founded in Washington DC by Ketih Stroup in 1970. Stroups vision is to decriminalize marijuana for recreational and medicinal purposes and tax the buying and selling of cannabis to stimulate the American economy. NORML’s network consist of 135 chapters and over 550 lawyers, including well known politicians such as Senator Philip Hart and Jacob Javits who has served on the board of directors. The current advisory board is composed of medical professional and doctors from the fields of psychology, chemistry, and political sciences. NORML conducts educational research to persuade drug enforcement agencies that marijuana is not a criminal issue but a medical concern. Enforcing laws on drug possession for marijuana in the state and local level is annually wasting 10 billion a year of tax payer’s dollars. NORML argues that marijuana is already in use as a recreational drug and has been trafficked underground for decades. This type of drug trafficking would end if the government declared it no longer illegal. Not only would this new flow of cash increase the current economy through new taxation laws, it would end the waste of time and man power spent penalizing marijuana users who otherwise have no criminal record or history of drug abuse. Legislators are hesitant about legalizing marijuana because of the dangers involved such as driving high and death fatalities. The fear of seeing statistical numbers of deaths caused by the influence of marijuana verses alcohol may turn into an alarming number. It is agreed by most politicians that they would rather not risk increasing death rates or use of it by minors (Klien, 2009). Both sides bring valid points to the table but like many bills there is not a rush to make a clear decision on the direction of recreational marijuana. Activist of the marijuana movement have come a long way from the peace and free love of the 1960’s they are forming a new wave and trying to shed the identity that an illegal choice of drug is no different than a legal substance.

The most recent survey, we analyzed data from was conducted by analyst Lydia Saad the senior analyst at the Gallup Organization in Princeton, N.J. The survey was a public opinion poll on the view of the general public’s attitude; if it is now more or less in favor to legalize marijuana then previous years. Saad’s research was based on age, gender, region, and party affiliation and how public opinion has changed from 2005 – 2009 towards legalizing the recreational use of marijuana. The method used was telephone surveys of 1,013 adults ages 18 and over; at a 95% confidence level. The maximum sampling error was plus or minus four percent. The respondents were asked if they were in favor or against taxing marijuana. The percent of those for and against taxation is represented in histogram graph. The results are in figure 1.0 Views on Legalizing and Taxing Sale of Marijuana in Your State. The second survey was demographics of the respondent and overall support of legalizing marijuana. The results are in figure 1.1 the Support for Legalizing Use of Marijuana.




The percent of those oppose to taxing marijuana is higher in every region except for the west, which is in favor by only a 7% difference. The overall percentage of those in favor of legalizing marijuana are the highest it has ever been in history across every category which is something that has been increasing 1% to 2% every year (Saad, 2009). If the numbers continue to grow at a steady trend, the number of Americans favoring legalizing marijuana would out grow those opposing it in short matter of time. The South and Midwest remain to be the lowest in favor of legalizing marijuana. The small margin of percent change over the years would be attributed to outlining factors such as large clusters of religious background, party affiliation, and similar age groups. The two results indicate that majority favor the legalization of marijuana use but opposing having to pay sales tax for it. Further research can be done to indicate the reasons why sale taxation is viewed less favorably and if the decision against it is related to spending issues or government regulation policies.

Marijuana: The social stigma

In past decades, tobacco was widely accepted and integrated in society advertising that to have a good time people would often gather together to smoke and drink. The enter-tainment industry portrayed smoking cigarettes in movies as something the hero or cool mob boss did, those people depicted on screen as a role model and a feeling of belonging too. It was not until recent years that campaigns started to demote the credibility of tobacco without realizing a new campaign add is less likely to make a smoker quit or a youth from starting. Tobacco has so deeply intergraded into American culture that Anti-smoking campaigns who send the message to a younger generation that smoking is bad has done little to prevent new users. Clearly the message has little impact when 44.5% of high school aged children smoke. The point is that trying to change a product that sells, and holds a popular stigma among youth, carries little value. Adolescents smoke because they want to fit in with a crowd, the same reasons why they have sex and drink at parties, they are things to experiment with and most find enjoyable. Adults smoke because of stress factors such as bills, work, and family issues; a cigarette may be their small moment of tranquility throughout the day. Smoking has for a long time been considered a norm in society (Joffe and Yancy MD, 2004).

Marijuana has often taken a back seat to cigarettes because it lost the popularity contest, so to speak; marijuana is portrayed in movies as a drug used mostly by blacks, gangsters, and criminals. The subconscious message in movies is that people who smoke marijuana have hard lives and are rarely the hero. The media creates what is assumed to be a widely shared belief and frames it negatively. The negative stigma on marijuana is caused by the word drug, that is constantly attached to it and the commercials of the teenager glued to the couch wasting their life away because marijuana destroyed it. The media makes people believe that only drugs destroy teenager’s lives. There is a higher percent of teens who consume alcohol then smoke MJ, yet there are no advertisements on television showing a teenager at a party benign drinking destroying their life. Alcohol carries a stronger addiction and damaging effects on the body but is more of an acceptable way to gather and socialize for both adolescents and adults (Joffe and Yancy MD, 2004).

The problem with attaching a stigma to what should be considered socially acceptable or not is that society is constantly changing and diversifying, there is a tolerance to addiction that campaigns do not advertise. There could be a list made of everything that people indulge in on a weekly basis that is bad to ingest; for example: caffeine, sugar, saturated fats, high doses of alcohol, soda pop, the amount of products deemed bad is endless.

One could only ponder if the social acceptance of marijuana would have been solely based on who was consuming it. Cigarettes were something white middle class men smoked as a luxury and marijuana was smoked by Mexican immigrant workers. Society now is currently trying to shift the mindset of Americans that cigarettes should not be used as a social bonding tool and ban smoking in public places. Treating those who smoke tobacco has a burden on society, all the while, introducing marijuana into mainstream America for individual consumption. Society is obsessed with labeling what is good and bad for the general public but if the coin was flipped and cigarettes is to marijuana as marijuana is to cigarettes; then society would be smoking behind closed doors too and activists would be protesting for the freedom to choose what to smoke, not where to smoke it. Even though millions of dollars are dumped in to American culture that has no problem bringing public attractions and tourist to consume large quantities of alcohol in public restaurants and bar strips in metropolitan areas.

The negative stigma of marijuana is a schema by the general beliefs that marijuana is a product too dangerous to be consumed unrestricted. The idea to sweep marijuana under the rug makes the underground trade and commodity of MJ more valuable. Teenagers have easier access to marijuana than to alcohol or cigarettes, both legal substances that require a minimum age limit to purchase (NORML, 2009).

Take for example the Cullen-Harrison Act in 1933 that legalized taxing, buying, and selling of alcoholic beverages in the United States. Before the twenty-first amendment prohibition decreased the strength of the US economy. Alcohol was pushed underground and was sold untaxed in the black market. When President Roosevelt promised to improve the current slump in economy the stimulus package of the 1930’s was to end prohibition. The amount of money and jobs that flowed back into the economy by legalizing alcohol was phenomenal. It is easy to apply these historical facts to the current economic slump, pointless prohibitions (current marijuana laws), and promises of change by President Barack Obama. On a grand scale the current economy would be stimulated by thousands of new jobs created by taxing the commodity of marijuana just as the historical prohibition of alcohol (Bousfield, 1991).

The paradox of changing a stigma for marijuana is to admit that it is no different of a drug then what most Americans already consume, which makes the practicality of arguing over marijuana laws disingenuous. Those opposed to marijuana push the sanctions that strengthen the negative association and stigmas currently attached to MJ, instead of evolving past outdated beliefs and discover factual scientific evidence that would dispute or support legalizing it. The baseline decisions to promote MJ should be made by the state officials in conjunction to each state’s laws. This would free the government’s hands to focus on important global and national issues while collecting money from new tax dollars spent on marijuana.


Medical marijuana has been used for decades but there have been no push to change the system to outwardly legalize marijuana until recent years. The risks of legalizing MJ seem to outnumber the benefits in regards to who will use the drug and its ability to be abused among underage smokers. Academic scholars perceive MJ not as a gateway drug, but as one of the many addictive substances commonly used by Americans. There have been arguments that cannabis plants have been used for decades without impacting fatality rates, so the dangers of the drug is subjective to the stigma it carries.

There is a wide range of unexplored concepts and abilities of marijuana that is attributed to scientist restrictions by federal law to explore the drug exclusively and to its full extent. Acceptance of marijuana is growing in America with an average gap less than ten percent of voters needed in favor of marijuana (Gallup, 2009); the activists of the marijuana movement are pushing for recreational use of cannabis and are gaining support in recent times. The anti-tobacco activists are passing bills to ban smoking in restaurants, bars, and public areas. More studies seem to be finding justification in legalizing marijuana and ban cigarettes in public places.

The precedence of either argument is more aimed towards the freedom of Americans, rather than what addiction to feed. History has proven that people have been and will continue to smoke pot, cigarettes, and drink alcohol in spite of what new laws or restrictions are placed on the consumption. It is irrational to believe that legalizing marijuana would create a positive stigma just as banning public smoking of cigarettes would contribute to a negative one. The ideology of this secondary analysis is to speculate that marijuana has been labeled by society as deviant and is associated with drug relations.

To convince the general public to be in favor of legalizing marijuana, it should be contrasted in terms of tobacco and alcohol consumption. Marijuana is empirically no different than tobacco and alcohol because it is used by adults in social gatherings and celebrations. The harm of the MJ use is no less severe or relevant then that of legal substances consumed by millions of Americans every day. The issue of MJ should be not monitored by criminal laws but by medical practices and scientific studies.

There is a stronger argument that supports the legalization of marijuana without the consideration of public opinion and surveys. NORML persuasion to legalize marijuana could explore new opportunities to boost the current slump in the economy, and create new jobs to manufacture cannabis legally while saving billions of dollars through decriminalization. It is evident that celebrities such as Etheridge are not the only users of the drug. Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps has been seen publically smoking marijuana without any known medical conditions. Americans did not have a negative stigma towards Phelps even after the media disapprovingly publicized his actions. Both Etheridge and Phelps are celebrities that represent the casual attitude of all marijuana users across the nation both medically and recreationally. When these celebrities confessed to using marijuana, America seemed to look past druggy label to the individual person and diminished any negative stereotype associated with marijuana.

The social movement of this phenomena are opinion based same has pervious social movements such has the prohibition of alcohol and more recent gay rights movements. Marijuana becomes acceptable when someone in high regard supports it. Or the number of supporters outweighs the ability to maintain the law. The survey results support this finding in figure 1.1. Public opinions, stereotypes, and attitudes change towards more favorable views to legalize MJ. People are more tolerant and acceptant as the amount of marijuana users grow with illegalization laws having little effect on users.


Alain Joffe, MD, MPH, W. Samuel Yancy, MD. 2004 “Legalization of Marijuana :Potential Impact on Youth” PEDIATRICS Vol. 113 No. 6: pp. e632-e638

Alecca , JoNel Toxic mix of pills, alcohol fuels spike in deaths. 2008 Consulted: March, 10. 2010

Almanac, Detroit. 2006. “The Hippies and Beyond" The Sixties in America Reference Library Thomson Gale. pp. 151–171 .

American Heart Association (AHA) “Effects of Smoking”. 2010 Consulted: April 5, 2010

Bousfield, Arthur; Toffoli, Garry. 1991 Royal Observations. Toronto: Dundurn Press Ltd.(7) p. 41.

Edell, Dean Dr. 2003. “Marijuana Verse Cigarettes Link between cannabis and death.” Comparing cannabis with tobacco. BMJ Volume 327. pp 635-6

Henry, J. 2003. “Comparing cannabis with tobacco”. BMJ .Editorial 326: 942-943

Iversen, Leslie L., PhD, FRS, The Science of Marijuana (London, England: Oxford University\ Press) 2000. The Scientific and Medical Evidence p. 178,

Klein, Joe. (Why Legalizing Marijuana Makes Sense). 2009,8599,1889021,00.html#ixzz0myvu78j8

Consulted: February 23, 2010

Leinwand , Donna. Prescription drugs find place in teen culture. 2006. Health and Behavior published in USA TODAY Consulted: April 17, 2010

National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) revised 2009. “Smoked marijuana as a cause of lung injury”. Monaldi Arch Chest Dis 63(2):92–100, 2005.

National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. ("Recent Research on Medical Marijuana ). 2009. NORML Policy on Personal Consulted: March 7, 2010.

Roth, Rebecca (Serendip). 2001 Medical Marijuana Biology 103 Consulted: May 1, 2010

Saad, Lydia. (Gallup Survey). 2009
Consulted: March 15,2010.

Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). (A division of the US Department of Health and Human Services Medical Marijuana). 2002 Consulted: March 20, 2010

University Medical Journal. 2009 “Intestinal Lymphatic Transport Enhances the Post-Prandial Oral Bioavailability of a Novel Cannabinoid Receptor Agonist Via Avoidance of First-Pass Metabolism”. Trevaskis NL, Institute of Pharmaceutical Sciences. 26(6):1486-95.

US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, (DEA)"In the Matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition" (Docket #86-22), September 6, 1988, p. 57.

Webster, Stephens. (For chemo effects, Etheridge says marijuana ‘amazing’ medicine) 2009. Interview with Melissa Etheridge Consulted: May 1, 2010.

Figure 1.1

Figure 1.0…...

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...Why Not There is a huge argument in the United States on legalizing Marijuana. I will be discussing both sides of the argument against and for legalizing Marijuana. I think it is important to discuss both sides of legalizing marijuana, mostly because you need a variety of fact before you form your own opinion on legalizing Marijuana or to not legalize it. There are many good reason to legalize Marijuana; taxation, jobs, drug wars, , and crime rates dropping. When it comes to taxes it would help out or debt problems. “There is already a huge tax revenue from Tabaco products and alcohol. To legalize marijuana would just create another addition to the funds for the government.”(citation2) This country could use the extra help from this drug to get us out of this massive debt problem. If you had to think about the jobs this drug could produce if it were legalized. You would have farmers, processers, shipping, packaging, stores. When it comes to farming there are many helping hands around farms but opening up another field for marijuana there would require a lot more help opening up more jobs. For the processing side of things you need employees to go though and make sure the plants are good for selling. By this I mean cleaned clipped and bug free. Then they would have to give the marijuana to packaging. In packaging employees would have to make sure the right type of Marijuana is labeled correctly and has the right logo on it for that company. Now this part of the process...

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Legalizing Marijuana

...principles upon which our government was founded.” In today’s society, this statement still applies in reference to the illegal use of marijuana. Marijuana prohibition causes far more harm than marijuana itself. Keeping marijuana illegal, is expensive and causes crime. Out of four possible connections between drugs and crime, at least three would not exist if drug prohibition laws were repealed. First, crimes, which occur billions of times a year, are producing, selling, buying, and consuming strictly controlled and banned substances. If drug prohibition laws were repealed, these activities would obviously cease to be crimes. Next, many users commit crimes, such as robbery, dealing, prostitution, and running numbers to earn money to support their habits. If marijuana was less expensive and easier to obtain, which would be the case if it were legalized, the crimes committed under these circumstances would dramatically decline. The third drug-crime link is drug trafficking. Without prohibition laws, those people trying to make a living by selling and distribution would not be thrown in jail. Support for legalizing marijuana is at its highest level in 30 years (USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll). Since 1996, voters in eight states have passed initiatives supporting marijuana for medical purposes at least. Polls show more than 70% of voters support medical marijuana. Polls in Canada and England show half the population now supports legalization. The USA Today/CNN/Gallup Poll found......

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...Legalizing Marijuana Kendall Joseph James York Sociology 120 September 18, 2011 Introduction In recent years there has definitely been an extremely unprecedented interest about whether or not marijuana along with its constituent compounds should be allowed to be used as medicine. There have been eight states since 1996 that have approved the medical use of marijuana. Although there are some people who simply dismiss the idea of medical marijuana as a subterfuge enabling liberalization, which they are afraid that there is a small chance that it will spread the plague of drug abuse. Having marijuana legalized could legitimate the drug as both safe and effective . Marijuana's industrial, medical, and recreational uses has definitely played an important role in regards to increasing its fame, there are even some presidential candidates that have even acknowledged the fact that they have even smoked marijuana before. Marijuana is an extremely safe drug simply because of its primary active ingredients THC along with other cannabinoids produce psychoactive effects and there is no fatal dose at all. However, there are other psychoactive drugs like alcohol, opiates, nicotine, and caffeine that can have fatal overdoses. This is why marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest, therapeutically active substance that is known to mankind. Although, there are some people who may feel morally violated in regards to legalizing marijuana and doing drugs may be a......

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Legalizing Marijuana

...Sam Crawford Professor Garrison English 110.01 25 March 2011 A Cry for Decriminalization “Don’t touch marijuana, don’t even come close to it; it will lead you to use hard drugs like heroin and cocaine!” This is the fear-based statement I always heard through my youth and is often fed to other kids in an attempt to keep them safe and prevent them from making decisions that they will regret in the future, but how true is it? Marijuana is currently legal for medical use in sixteen states, most often to counter the side effects of cancer-treating drugs. Unfortunately, marijuana is highly criminalized in the United States and as a result its danger is increased. When you stop and think about it, it seems odd that substances like alcohol and harmful prescription drugs are not only legal but widely used. In fact, the legalization of marijuana could help Americans, and not just those who would use it. Therefore, I believe that this illogical fallacy that marijuana should be illegal on the basis of its potential harmful effects should be tossed aside. The active ingredient in marijuana that gives it such distinctive properties is tetrahydrocannabinol which can be used to treat chemotherapy-induced nausea and vomiting as well as anorexia and cachexia, which strips the body of muscle mass and crucial fats that keep in functioning properly. Alcohol on the other hand destroys the liver and steals innocent lives in automobile accidents,”There were just short of 180,000...

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Legalizing Marijuana this essay about is marijuana, and it may be surprising to some but it is all around us. Marijuana is even being referred to in today’s media. The way that they are doing this is through the mainstream media sources that people prefer; like music, movies, and TV shows. Now being a 20 year old adult and having my own personal experience with Marijuana and knowing its effects on others, and myself. I always ask why it’s not legal. Why is it that this drug has become illegal all over the world, but they allow cigarettes, alcohol, and prescription medication. The war to legalize marijuana in the United States of America has been and is now being fought nonstop since the existence of the drug itself. Marijuana has been tested and proven to have a very positive impact on the American society for multiple reasons. Some of these reasons are for America’s economy, the health of certain people, and even crime. These reasons could very well help America turn around its national debt and help thrive the country in the future. This naturally grown plant known as marijuana is known all around the world. This plant is known to be a herbal medicine that gives users a “high” and is legal in a lot of countries in the world, but also illegal in a lot of countries around the world. Some places are very strict when it comes to enforcing the law that bans marijuana while others are very lenient. Today, the population of people that are deciding to side with pro marijuana legalization for......

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Legalizing Marijuana

...August 17,2014 PHI 105 Legalizing Marijuana In the last few year’s marijuana has been a major topic in the media. There is a huge debate on whether or not marijuana should be legalized and how it would all play out if it were to be legalized. Some think marijuana should be legal while other seem to disagree, however, when you look at the benefits behind legalizing it, there is no reason for it not to be. Marijuana should be legalized as it provides benefits for the critically ill, taxation on the legalization product can increase revenue, and the legalization of marijuana can allow it to then be regulated and/or its legalization can reduce criminal activity associated with marijuana (such as smuggling, dealing, using, etc.) For many years, marijuana has helped aid the pain of critically ill patients across America. Health and comfort should be what the government is concerned with. Marijuana can help people in their everyday life like simply relaxing. Marijuana is used for more than just recreational purposes such as treating pain, reducing nausea, and increasing one’s appetite. “Worldwide studies have shown it to be useful for treating pain, reducing nausea and increasing appetite, among a growing list of other things” (Vorenberg. S). When not abused, marijuana’s symptoms are mild and not often people are uncontrollable. While legalizing marijuana cannot only benefit the critically ill, it can help out our government and increase its revenue. Marijuana is tough on......

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...Legalizing Marijuana: The ethical issue and problem Dorcas Rivera SOC 120 Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility Instructor: Robert Gala September 23, 2013 Legalizing Marijuana: The ethical issue and problem Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug. Therefore, legalizing marijuana, not only now, but for many years, has been the topic on rather or not it should be legalized. Even though marijuana has been legalized for medical use in 18 U.S. states, this has caused big controversy in our country and the ethical issue and problems it presents. In this article I will explain; what is marijuana, the risk of marijuana use, the effects of marijuana (in the brain and body), and the pros and cons of legalizing it. I will also explain how one of the classical theories, utilitarianism, would resolve the problem. On the other hand, I will contrast the response with the perspective brought to the issue by, ethical egoism. Lastly, will ended off choosing which of the two are closer to my view. Marijuana is a green, brown, or gray mixture of dried, shredded leaves, stems, seeds, and flowers of the hemp plant. You may hear marijuana called by street names such as pot, herb, weed, grass, boom, Mary Jane, gangster, or chronic. All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. In other words, they change how the brain works. They all contain THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), the main active chemical in marijuana. They also contain more than 400 other chemicals. Marijuana's...

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...Legalizing Marijuana in the United States Jennifer Wilkins English Composition I Engl 1301 July 21, 2009 Bertha Webster Legalizing Marijuana in the United States Introduction Marijuana is a substance that has become very much a part of American culture. By definition, marijuana derives from the Indian hemp plant thought to have originated in the mountainous districts of India, north of the Himalayan Mountains ( Nearly 95 million Americans have either used marijuana occasionally or regularly (Belville, 2009, p.60). Marijuana’s history is long and extensive. Marijuana comes from a Mexican word meaning “Mary Jane”. Marijuana has been grown for medical use for thousands of years. It is an established scientific fact that marijuana is not toxic to humans; marijuana overdoses are nearly impossible, and marijuana is not nearly as addictive as alcohol or tobacco ( Today in the United States there is an ongoing debate whether marijuana should or should not be legalized. Legalizing marijuana can cut the cost to the government for the on-going “war on drugs”, be used medically in numerous proven ways, and eliminate the failure of prohibition. Cost of the “War on Drugs” In the United States, all levels of government (federal, state, and local authorities) participate in the “War on Drugs.” More than thirty years after the “War on Drugs” was......

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Legalizing Marijuana

...“I believe marijuana should be legalized.” There are several different reasons why marijuana (pot) should be legalized. By legalizing marijuana it would reduce crime with criminal gangs. Marijuana is too expensive for our justice system and should instead be taxed to support beneficial government programs. Marijuana use has many positive attributes, such as its medical value and use as a recreational drug with relatively mild side effects (Alt 2007). For many years there has been a "war on drugs" in this country. Legalization of marijuana would reduce the money flow in our American economy. It would also add to foreign cultivation and smuggling to the United States very profitable. It would send billions of dollars overseas in an underground economy while diverting funds from productive economic development (Alt 2007). Instead of penalizing people for possessions charges the states should legalize, regulate and tax marijuana sales. According to Phillips, Wayne he believes that by legalizing marijuana it could create more jobs and strengthen the Canadian economy and help build their international image. It would help reduce federal spending and taxes. It would help safeguard youth and communities, stop the enabling crime organizations. Canada would gain respect as a nation that reflects intellect over ideology. Legalizing it would also go to offsetting pressing needs (Phillips, Wayne 2012). On Seattle television King 5 News, two former US attorneys, John McKay and...

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...Legalize Marijuana Shannon Bunting November 12, 2011 Elizabeth Hermans ITT Technical Institution The legalization of marijuana would benefit the United States for several reasons, which is why the government needs to seriously consider legalizing it. There are many advantages medically that help many patients who have terminal illnesses. The money from legalizing marijuana could also generate several billions in new revenue a year. Marijuana is also safer for people than alcohol, cigarettes and many of the prescription drugs that are available. Despite the many arguments as to why marijuana shouldn’t be legalized there are many benefits as to why it should be and the government needs to take a look into the issue. Medical marijuana has been known to help patients with terminal illnesses be able to handle the pain and nausea. Studies have shown that it makes patients be able to eat and keep their food down which enables them to maintain their weight. The active chemical in marijuana is THC and is what allows the patients be able to manage the pain for many illnesses. Studies have also shown that when patients use medical marijuana it causes the sells to undergo a process called autophagy. What this does is it makes the cancerous cells feed on each other leaving the healthy cells alone. It has also been known to help keep Alzheimer’s patients from getting worse. The THC in marijuana has the ability......

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Legalizing Marijuana

...Legalizing marijuana involves both lower stakes and less uncertainty than legalizing any of the other major illicit drugs. Not that the consequences of marijuana legalization would be small or easy to project; legalization would be a big change with unpredictable results. Many have supported the marijuana legalization they actively encourage the non-medical use of drugs. Even worse, they will discover that most of the public who listen to views that are sympathetic to drug legalization and or decriminalization perceive these views to be pro-drug, no matter how often the speakers disavow this interpretation of their views. A principal argument for legalization of drugs generally is the anticipated reduction in crime, violence, corruption and other problems associated with black markets associated with cocaine/crack, heroin, and meth not marijuana, so legalizing marijuana would not do much to solve those problems. Support for the legalization of currently illegal drugs strengthens those forces in the society that want to see the use of illicit drugs go up, including those who benefits from the lucrative but deadly illicit marijuana traffic. Aside from impairment and harm, marijuana prohibitions believe in the gateway theory in which users of a substance are introduced to more harmful drugs through underground trade. Marijuana consumption leads to situations in which users are presented harder drugs. As the theory goes, an individual slowly experiments with more drugs as he......

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