Legalization of Recreational Marijuana
Marijuana, also known as pot, weed, kush, or dank, is a debated topic nationwide. Surveys have shown that ” more than half of American adults have tried marijuana at least once in their lives …nearly 55 million of them, or twenty two percent, currently use it”(Ingraham). Many people believe that there are only few negative effects affiliated with smoking weed, but there are many poor and preventable outcomes that are not always taken into consideration. The effects of marijuana on people of all ages,the difficulty of regulation,, and public safety are all reasons as to why marijuana should not be legalized for recreational use.
Although the use of marijuana for personal reasons can lead to different unfortunate symptoms after multiple uses, there are some positive,short term side effects that are proven beneficial to the human body. A study done by the Canadian Special Senate Committee on Illegal Drugs noted that people who smoke weed for personal reasons were “predominantly middle class, employed in a wide range of occupations, and used marijuana recreationally to enhance relaxation and concentration while engaged in leisure activities” (Osborne-Fogel). Marijuana has been proved to help with relaxation and is beneficial in helping people suffering from depression. The legalization of this drug would be a cheaper alternative than other forms of therapy. Marijuana is helpful to people who suffer with anxiety and depression. It helps the person smoking feel like they have control of their situation and that everything is going to be okay.
While it is not common to experience negative symptoms right as a person begins smoking weed, the longer and more often it is consumed, the higher the chances of the side effects. Not enough research has been conducted to confirm all of the outcomes of regular marijuana usage, but some major findings have been presented. “Marijuana is the most commonly used illicit drug during pregnancy…2 to 5 percent of women use marijuana during the course of pregnancy”(Nall) . If a mother is smoking weed while pregnant, she has increased her likelihood to go into premature labor and for her child to be born very small with breathing issues, small head circumference, and a greater likelihood to be stillborn. Babies that are born to a mother who smoked pot during the pregnancy often require special treatments or are placed in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) until they are able to function regularly. Legalizing marijuana puts young children’s health at risk in the sense that they too will be exposed to the drug. Children that are exposed to weed experience side effects such as trouble thinking and problem solving, memory loss, learning disability, and loss of coordination. All of these side effects are usually temporary, but in some cases they can occur throughout the child’s life. As people start to smoke dank in their late teens to early twenties, they too will begin to experience different health issues physically and mentally. While under the influence of marijuana, a typical person who smokes regularly tends to feel calm and relaxed. While this may be a good feeling, long term effects are not as appealing. Smoking weed regularly leads to addiction to the drug.Accordingto the National Institute on Drug Abuse, “thirty percent of those who use marijuana mat have some degree of marijuana use disorder”(NIDA). It also leaves the person with social anxiety, memory loss, mood swings, paranoia,and lung problems. Things that were once simple tasks, like speaking in a group setting, can become difficult for a person to do after multiple uses of marijuana. Difficulty in breathing and complications within the lungs are major issues that result from inhaling the smoke from marijuana . Heavily smoking weed can lead to constant coughing and phlegm build up. Even is the smoker decides to stop using cannabis, these symptoms may not go away. While all of these issues can be presented in a non-marijuana smoker, it becomes more likely to happen if a person decides to use the drug on a regular basis. As a whole, the legalization of recreational marijuana would make the United States home of people suffering with health issues that could have been prevented if the drug was not legalized.
Aside from all of the negative effects marijuana has on the people themselves, it also creates problems for public safety as well. The regulation of marijuana is not as simple as the regulation on alcohol. When a person is driving under the influence of alcohol, a police officer can perform a breathalyzer test to evaluate the amount of alcohol in the drivers system. Whereas a person who is driving under the influence of marijuana cannot be tested on the scene to see the amount consumed and therefore, it is nearly impossible for police officers to ensure that person is safe to operate a vehicle when there is no way of testing the levels related to smoking. Although there is not a way to confirm how high a driver is, police officers still do look for signs to see how impaired the driver actually is. The officer may ask the driver to follow his finger as he moves it around his or her face. This test is allowing the officer to check the horizontal gaze nystagmus (HGN). If the eyes are involuntary jerking horizontally, that usually is an indication that they person is under the influence of a drug. Research has found that smoking weed adversely affects one’s ability to drive safely, yet some studies have found that it is still safer than driving under the influence of alcohol. THC, the psychoactive component of cannabis, has no set number to make you be over or under the legal limit. Unlike alcohol, THC can remain in the bloodstream for a time span as long as a few day to two to three weeks. Thus, making any evaluations from an officer near impossible to perform correctly. Although some people will argue that dank makes them feel more cautious, calm, and more attentive while driving, research has found that to be false information. In the states with legalized marijuana there has been an increased number of car wrecks that have occurred while the drive was under the influence. All of that being said, this aspect alone creates many problems for the people. The amount of deaths will increase as more wrecks continue to happen. If the people do not perish in the accidents, but still need medical assistance, they will be forced to pay expensive medical bills and fees related to the car wrecks. Innocent people will also be involved in these wrecks, and loved ones will be lost no matter who is at fault.