Essay, Research Paper: Drug Legalization

Alcohol and Drugs

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Will the legalization of certain drugs reduce the crime rate in the United
States? This question has baffled United States lawmakers, reformists, and
citizens alike for so long that many people probably consider it a rhetorical
question. With this in mind, I think that the only solution would be to go to
the research and see what studies would say about the dilemma. For this
particular paper, I found some research that looked at the legalization of
marijuana in the United States, and I think for all intensive purposes, it is
the best drug to discuss in respect to legalization anyway. To be completely
honest, I think that marijuana should be legalized in our country. That is just
a personal opinion, that I’m sure is shared by the majority of kids that are
my age as well. But, personally I do not use marijuana for medical or medicinal
purposes, but at least fifty percent of the people that I associate with do use
it so I am familiar with it. One of the reasons that I think it should be
legalized is the fact that alcohol is legal. In all of my experiences with the
two drugs, I believe that the effects of alcohol definitely outweigh those of
marijuana. Let’s just say that I would much rather be on the highway with
someone who is stoned on pot than to be on the highway with someone that is
really drunk. I also think that legalizing marijuana would cause the supply and
demand to shift and the price would plummet, alleviating the need of some to rob
and kill for enough money to support their habit. I could argue my point for
paragraphs, but instead, I will see what research says about it, and who knows,
I may change my mind. The article that I used for this paper came from the June
1998 issue of The Journal of Legal Medicine. It is entitled “Is the debate a
Smoke Screen for Movement Toward Legalization.” The author cites in the
article an episode of the sitcom Murphy brown, where actress Candice Bergen
smokes a joint on national television for medicinal purposes while suffering
from breast cancer. The author believes that the nationally televised sitcom
endorsed a drug that has not been accepted by the FDA yet and that the event may
be a foreshadowing of the future of the drug in our country. In the article, the
author posed the same question that we are faced with in this essay? The author
believes that before the US legalizes the drug, that they should look at another
country’s experiences with crime where the drug is legal. In this particular
case, he uses Holland as a comparison. The statistics that he found were very
shocking to me. The author of the article found that: “between 1984 and 1992,
marijuana use among males between the ages of 12 and 18 increased by 277
percent.” During this particular time; “shootings increased 40 percent, car
thefts increased 62 percent, and hold-ups increased 69 percent.” Whether or
not these statistics can be proven to be due to the legalization of marijuana is
hard to prove, but they definitely make one think about it. Also in the article,
the author reveals that: “75 percent of criminal offenders in the United
States believe that they were under some influence of marijuana at the time of
the crime, and 7 percent of those who committed homicides believe their actions
were directly related to their use of marijuana.” Although there are flaws on
both sides of the dispute, one of the strongest points to the anti-legalization
movement is the argument that marijuana is a gateway drug which leads to the use
of harder, more addictive drugs. In this particular article, the author cites a
study in which out of all of the persons studied, “20 percent of persons who
use marijuana were three to ten times more likely to go on to use cocaine, and
75 percent of persons who used marijuana 100 or more times later used
cocaine.” Another strong argument is that if the US legalizes the drug for
medicinal purposes, then it will precipitate the legalization of marijuana on a
higher scale, a more recreational scale. So, the only thing that I can conclude
is that the legalization of marijuana is a very problematic dilemma that the
United States has been faced with for many years. Both sides have considerable
arguments, but there is still so much controversy and gray area that follows the
subject. Like most other Americans, I have a lot of difficulty taking either
side. I think that the only way to resolve the problem is to continue to
research marijuana, it’s benefits and it’s dangers, and see which ones
outweigh the others. It is then and only then that lawmakers should make their
ultimate decision about the fate of the drug in our country.
Is the Debate a Smoke Screen for Movement Toward Legalization? The Journal of
Legal Medicine. June, 1998

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