Updated: Oct 26, 2020
By Julia Lewis
Image retrieved from @shedeservesflwrs on Instagram
I’m sure everyone here has heard of the drug marijuana. You may have heard it coined as “devil’s lettuce”, “weed”, “pot”, “grass”, etc. It is likely that most of the people you have heard talking about it have labeled it as a “bad drug”. However, scientists have said that it could actually be a medical miracle to treat certain diseases, such as anxiety and even the results of chemotherapy in cancer treatments.
Now, before we get to the good stuff, let’s start off with how it works. According to WebMD, marijuana contains cannabinoids, and there are more than 100 different kinds of said chemical inside marijuana. Cannabinoids are very similar to the chemicals in our body that deal with memory, movement, and pain. When marijuana is used the correct way, these chemicals can benefit the human brain. WebMD states that by taking marijuana, it can reduce anxiety, relax MS –– multiple sclerosis –– related tightened muscles, and even improve weight gain in people with cancer and AIDS. Now, when I read all of these benefits and many others like them, I’m all for legalizing medical marijuana. So why is it that the government in some places is against it? Where I’m from, it’s still illegal. But I am constantly seeing push back from the public to change that. This just leaves me to wonder; how come it hasn’t been legalized?
When looking at all of the possible positive impacts of legalizing marijuana, let’s also consider the fact that in states where it is yet to be legalized, many people –– only trying to use it as treatment –– are getting sent to jail. After a third offense, someone could get up to three years in jail as a misdemeanor or felony, and up to $5,000 in fines. Even if someone is possessing marijuana, or committing any crime for that matter, I don’t understand why they have to be sent to prison. Rehabilitation and being able to better yourself seems like a way better option than having to suffer in prison, most likely returning to old habits stealthily in the future. But that is a whole other topic. If states decided to legalize marijuana in general, not even just for medicinal reasons, the offenders wouldn’t have to suffer through prison and/or jail period. Although marijuana holds some side effects, such as worsened memory and lower grades, it generally isn’t an addictive drug like nicotine or cocaine may be considered. When I go to research the death levels of marijuana users, there are no definitive answers on the internet. There are only statistics for marijuana-related deaths, which are not the same as people actually dying from the drug. If we take a look at nicotine, the CDC states that there are on average at least 480,000 deaths from smoking cigarettes per year, with an additional 41,000 from secondhand smoke exposure. Upon seeing all of this information, nicotine appears way more harmful than marijuana. So why aren’t government officials focusing more of their time and money on banning cigarettes than they are on keeping marijuana illegal? In the future, hopefully legalization in all states becomes a reality instead of just merely a hope.
Written by writer Julia Lewis