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Violence surrounding drug dealing would be lessened by legalizing
marijuana because small time drug dealers would essentially be forced out of business. Larger companies who could produce high quality marijuana at lower cost would prevail. Most people would buy from these companies because they would know the product was free of adulterants and would contain no poisons. Wars between dealers of marijuana would end, and the sale of marijuana could be monitored by government the same way as essentially any other legitimate business. Sellers would be made accountable and a culture of responsibility would be formed. Desperate acts of theft and violence associated with its distribution would disappear as the black market disappears. Additionally, marijuana abusers who are currently being forced to live a life of shame and secrecy could openly seek help. Dangerous drugs such as crack cocaine and LSD are consistently placed in the same category as marijuana. These drugs are admittedly dangerous, but research has never been able to identify a link between crime and marijuana. Countless Americans have been branded as criminals and thrown into prison for merely possessing or smoking marijuana. Truly violent criminals are often paroled early for sheer lack of prison space because users of marijuana occupy the space. Why not leave the rapists and murderers in prison and let marijuana users engage in a relatively mild form of personal stimulation? Marijuana is safe and effective for medical use. Studies have proven that it is effective in reducing nausea and vomiting and that it can stimulate the appetite. This could help cancer and AIDS patients who face emaciation. Marijuana reduces tremors, restores balance, stops muscle spasms, restores bladder control, and restores speech and eyesight for multiple sclerosis patients. It can even prevent epileptic seizures. It can also alleviate pain and sometimes stop the progression of glaucoma because it reduces intraocular pressure. Marijuana is relatively harmless. Researchers from Kaiser Permanente in Oakland and the University of California School of Public Health in Berkeley compared the health risks of smoking tobacco, smoking marijuana, and drinking alcohol. They found that smoking tobacco was a greater hazard than smoking marijuana, and that the dangers of drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana were about the same. Their studies indicated that regular use of marijuana did not lead to a higher mortality rate. The DEA has also admitted that marijuana does not pose a very big health risk. There is a difference between "relatively harmless" and "safe". Drinking water is relatively harmless until you drink too much, upset your electrolyte balance, and suffer death. Driving a car is relatively harmless until you drive into a tree. Nothing is safe for all people all the time. Marijuana, like anything else, will pose health risks when abused or used irresponsibly. Virtually anything may be addictive. Housework may be addictive, but to say that it is would be ludicrous. To millions of people like me, housework is anything but addictive. Roller-skating may be addictive. Should we put warning labels on roller skates? For a drug to be classified as addictive, it must be proven that numerous individuals have trouble discontinuing its use or that it interferes with other life activities. National epidemiological surveys show that one third of Americans over the age of twelve have used marijuana. Of those same people, only nine percent have used marijuana in the past year and only 2.8 percent have used it in the past week. Additionally, many daily users consumed marijuana in a way that did not interfere with other life activities. These studies tend to suggest that the majority of people who try marijuana do not become addicted. According to DAWN (Drug Abuse Warning Network), emergency rooms are not flooded with marijuana users. In fact only about one percent of all people admitted to the emergency room mention using marijuana alone (as opposed to in combination with other drugs, which increases the percent slightly). In fact, mentions of over-the-counter pain medications were more frequent. Numerous attempts have been made through research to prove that marijuana induces an amotivational effect. The truth is this effect does not exist. Studies have shown that marijuana has no effect on motivation, grade point average, or job productivity. In fact, in Jamaica, marijuana is often used to increase productivity when workers must endure longer hours. The legalization of marijuana would have many benefits for the federal budget. First of all, the sale of marijuana could be taxed. Right now, drug dealing is a tax-free operation. If marijuana were made legal, an arrangement could be made to license the production of marijuana cigarettes. The producer would have to pay a licensing fee and the customer would be taxed at the time of purchase (as well as any retailers in between). The companies making the cigarettes would also have to pay income taxes. As marijuana has many medical uses and is fairly expensive ($160 to $400 per ounce), pharmaceutical companies also stand to make a profit. Drug paraphernalia could be openly sold and profits could be made there as well. The court system would profit as well. Courts would not be burdened by all of the marijuana cases that come before it. The cost of imprisoning marijuana users is enormous. If they were not convicted to begin with, we wouldn&rsquot need a place to put them. The war on drugs is accomplishing as much by chasing marijuana users as a fire fighter would by trying to put out a forest fire with one fire truck. If it is fought back in one place, it pops up in another. Drug enforcement officials are wasting their time and money trying to fight marijuana use. If marijuana were legalized, the money could be better concentrated on keeping minors off drugs. Achievable objectives could be set for law enforcement. Illogical patterns of law enforcement could end and a more responsible approach to controlling marijuana could be developed.


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