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The criminalization of marijuana in the US

The criminalization of marijuana is a hot topic that has engendered many controversial views. In the United States, the enactment of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was widely seen as the solution to curtailing its abuse in the country. The legislation sought to stifle its use by imposing an excise tax on its products. However, decades passed and many states contended this prohibition, and, consequently, lead to its legalization. Many proponents extol cannabis for its therapeutic benefits: it is known to relieve nausea, muscle spasticity, certain types of chronic pains, and improve the appetite of people living with cancer or AIDs. On the other hand, opponents make a compelling case for supporting its ban. The underlying premise is that chronic marijuana use has adverse health implications both physically and mentally; besides, it is very addictive and hence prone to abuse.

An assemblage of research has been conducted to enlighten people on the positive effects of marijuana. However, most of these studies are inadequate because they only focus on one perspective. For years, physicians have cautioned cannabis users on the potential threats it poses to their health. To begin with, the mental effects that stem from chronic usage are significant and should not be ignored. Some of them include hallucinations, altered senses, delusions, impaired memory, and difficulties in solving problems. Marijuana has been found to weaken cognitive senses and memory retention. After smoking, people have trouble performing simple tasks and recalling things. Moreover, some traffic surveys in the U.S. revealed that the substance was responsible for 8.6 percent of the accidents on the nation’s roads. The detrimental mental effects should be sufficient to ban the drug’s use.

Another area of concern is the negative impact on an individual’s physical health that the drug causes. Inhaling marijuana causes breathing problems, which can aggravate lung illnesses because of the irritation caused by the smoke. Moreover, it increases the heart rate, which can trigger heart attacks in users with histories of chest conditions. Furthermore, the substance is harmful to pregnant mothers, who maybe be coerced into using it to alleviate nausea problems. However, doctors claim that its usage can impair proper brain development of the fetus. Such children have been found to have lower attention spans and weak problem-solving abilities. Therefore, pot should be restricted to prevent the awful impact it has on people’s physical health.

Besides the bodily effects, marijuana is an addictive substance that causes many dependence issues in people. For example, in the U.S., a 2008 survey revealed that about 7 million people were addicted to a form of illicit drugs. Out of these, 4.2 million, who were aged 12 and above were marijuana users. Such numbers are alarming and legalizing its use would only exacerbate the issue by increasing the number of users. It is estimated that currently, about 15.2 million people are heavy pot smokers. Some of the areas where the consequences would be deeply felt include academics, where performances of many students would deteriorate, and drop-out cases would rise. Moreover, families would be affected as adult smokers become inefficient in their responsibilities. Therefore, marijuana should be prohibited to reduce behavioral problems, which can affect the quality of people’s lives.

Overall, the legalization of marijuana is a sensitive issue that has been hotly contested for many years. Some of the negative effects of the drug are mental disorders, such as weakened memory retention and cognitive senses. On the other hand, some of the physical effects include breathing challenges, increased heart rates, and impaired brain development of fetuses whose mothers smoke while pregnant. The likelihood of suffering from heart attacks and contracting lung infections should be a weighty reason for justifying the ban on marijuana. Therefore, even though the substance has some implied medical benefits, its destructive effects on people’s physical, mental, and social well-being should warrant its criminalization.

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