Negative effects of alcohol outweigh marijuana; weed still illegal

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With Washington and Colorado passing new laws regarding marijuana, it seems as if everyone has something to say about the subject. 

Most of what is being said is how marijuana should remain completely illegal. I disagree.

Marijuana, despite its illegality, is still being used frequently by people of different ages. Why not make it legal?

If marijuana were made legal, state government could determine its laws. For example, in Utah, it could be sold in designated stores, run by the state, much like our liquor stores. This would increase revenue for the state and also create more jobs.

With marijuana legalized, the federal government could also start focusing on other issues that are much more important, but often overlooked, such as education. Think of all the money the government would stop spending on trying to enforce marijuana laws.

Another thing legalizing marijuana would do is keep prisons from overcrowding. I know a lot of people who ended up with two or more years in prison simply because they were carrying marijuana on them. With all the rapists, murderers and thieves out there not being caught, you’d think a little weed wouldn’t be a big deal. It is.

My friend ended up going to prison for three years because he had an ounce of marijuana on his person when he was pulled over for a speeding violation. Similarly, a coworker of mine only did four months in jail for raping a girl while he was under the influence of alcohol.

Common effects of marijuana are slowed reaction time, increased appetite, red eyes and disorientation. All of these are common effects of alcohol use, which is legal. Both cause damage to your body, but no one seems to give much thought about the latter.

Marijuana does cause lung and throat damage from smoke inhalation and also causes paranoia in some cases. Marijuana also increases your heart beat by 20 to 50 beats per minute. 

While these things aren’t good by any means, they are essentially no worse than the effects of alcohol, which include liver and brain damage in severe cases.

Unlike alcohol, marijuana has medicinal uses. Cancer patients or patients with AIDS are sometimes prescribed medical marijuana to help combat the pain and nausea. Other drugs are used to treat these symptoms, but patients are more likely to get addicted to opiates, such as morphine or oxycodone, than they are marijuana, according to “Motivational Effects of Cannabinoids Are Mediated by μ-Opioid and κ-Opioid Receptors” by S. Ghozland.

The key to legalizing marijuana is for this generation to become more informed. We can’t keep relying on the same old things we’ve heard our parents say. Things are changing, and while people would rather marijuana stay in the taboo part of conversations, it isn’t going to.