The debate is long-lasting and as controversial as ever: should marijuana use be legalized? Advocates of the legalization of the drug maintain that its usage does not involve health complications—at least none that are as significant or harmful as the ones that arise through inhaling cigarette smoke. Additionally, they suggest that marijuana—most commonly used for medicinal and recreational purposes—poses no serious threat to society as a whole. Beliefs such as these, regardless of veracity, have led to marijuana being the most widely used and abused drug. Only alcohol consumption rivals it.
Arguments for Legalization
Indeed, the drug has become a fixture in our society. Despite it being unlawful to possess or consume, marijuana seems to be easy to obtain.
Adolescents in almost any geographical locale have the connections necessary to purchase the drug.
Teenagers and adults especially are capable of getting the drug from just about anyone. This idea has also led many to wonder “why not just legalize marijuana?” Legal or illegal, we’re still using it, right? With such harsh punishments set in place for possession and use of the drug, is it really fair to ruin or damage a teenager’s future for a seemingly light infraction?
Arguments Against Legalization
The fact is marijuana does increase one’s risk of health complications. For instance, scientific research indicates that several short and long term health risks are at play when using the drug. Short term health risks include:
- memory loss
- coordination distortion
- an increase in heart rate which could prove fatal
Long term risks include:
- lung infections
- various chest illnesses
- obstructed airways
- damages to the body’s immune system – which could potentially lead to an almost limitless amount of illnesses.
With all this taken into account, it’s easy to see how marijuana use—particularly marijuana abuse—shouldn’t be taken lightly.
The drug impairs our senses and damages our problem solving and decision making abilities. When under its influences, a person is more likely to make improper decisions. This alone needs to be taken into consideration when debating about whether or not the drug should be legalized.