Marijuana is a drug that has been under controversy for some time now. A huge proportion of the US public believes that marijuana should be legal as it would save people a lot of money, help police deal with hard core crime and also have medical advantages. The opposition believes that legalizing marijuana would allow kids to get hold of it at a younger age, allow social problems to be created like date rape and stoned driving and also have effects on the health, users may not be aware off.

These arguments are all valid and seem logical in their own right which is why society is still asking, ‘should we legalize marijuana’, without an answer in sight. Should we legalize Marijuana? ‘How Drugs Influence Behavior, A Neuro-Behavioral Approach’ [1] states that there are about 300 million users of marijuana around the world, and 28 million in the US alone. Prolonged use of marijuana has caused the immune system of the individual to be effected causing him or her to become more prone to infections.

The other effects of marijuana on the body include, relaxation of the muscles causing reduced blood pressure, disorientation, sleepiness, inattention and an altered reality. It also impairs memory and creates hallucinations and delusions. The nervous system is affected and the link between the body and the mind is affected causing a complete malfunction. [2] Most these effects are temporary and wear off in time. However, marijuana is also used by doctors to help in pain relief [3]. Marijuana has been used in medical institutes for the relief of cancer and also to relieve nausea and dizziness in AIDS patients.

Oncologists have found that marijuana is more effective than Marinol [FDA approved drug] for pain relief in many patients. Socially the impact of legalizing marijuana would mean that people would be able to use it without legal interference. As it impairs the brain function, use of marijuana could also be used to influence others. Smoked at parties, it could become a date rape drug. Sound like a conspiracy theory? Not quite, we have seen time and time again that people given any sort of power without control will use it for their own ends.

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If marijuana became legal and was used in such a manner, how would the defense prove any unlawful acts. Smoking the drug would be legal and women under its influence would not be in control of their own actions. So where would the law draw the line? However, in many cultures and religions use of marijuana during religious ceremonies is the norm. By making marijuana illegal then, the law intrudes in their freedom to practice religion. At each end of the argument there is a counter argument and each has a balance. This is where morality and freedom of choice come into play.

Are we morally bound to use marijuana if it helps people in pain or not? Do we have the right to stop its use when it is a part of someone’s religion? Yet, do we not have a social responsibility to ensure that someone’s free will is not compromised, which is what happens when marijuana is used? Conclusion The pros and cons of marijuana are numerous and can be argued and counter argued without ever reaching a conclusive answer. It is an individual opinion whether marijuana should be legalized or not and so far the majority of the individuals in society have not been able to agree on a decision.

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