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Recreational marijuana users are looked down on by many people in society. People are called trashy, good for nothing, and “bums” because of their use of a plant. Marijuana has been proven to be less harmful than alcohol and cigarette use, so the underlying question is: why? Although cannabis has some effects to the usage of it, alcohol usage causes a greater effect, yet businesses allow it to be distributed without the blink of an eye. In the long run, the sale of weed will boost the economy and may lessen criminal charges that are added into the crime rate. Marijuana should be legal because it is proven to be less harmful than various substances sold daily in society and was made illegal because of poorly researched information by the government in the late 1800s to early 1900s.
Marijuana is a plant in which, if smoked, does not show to have much respiratory health effects. Cigarettes have shown to have a huge correlation to cancer and other respiratory related illnesses, but companies distribute them as if the product will have no effect on the consumers’ health. In the American Journal of Public Health, it states that the choice, “...was never marijuana instead of alcohol and tobacco… but rather marijuana in addition to alcohol and cigarettes.” But, if you think about it, that does not seem too horrendous.
Marijuana is legal for consumers for recreational use in Colorado. Of course, just like alcohol, regulations are placed upon how much marijuana a citizen can purchase at one time (Colorado Pot Guide). In order to purchase cannabis you must be 21 years old, you can only purchase one ounce of marijuana in total a day and seven grams per transaction, and you can only purchase cannabis from eight in the morning to seven at night (Colorado Pot Guide). If you drive under the influence with alcohol in the U.S. you can receive a DUI and become arrested if you are over the limit prohibited of the substance. As for weed in Colorado, the legal limit is five nanograms per millimeter of blood (Colorado Pot Guide).
Every day you hear stories about people wrecking their car drunk and threatening their life or people dying from cancer because they smoked everyday of their life. You do not typically hear is that lives are being damaged because of marijuana use. Honestly, marijuana should have been the most easy to legalize because of the effects it has on your body and health compared to alcohol consumption and cigarette use. Coming from a home where your parents smoke cigarettes their whole life and knowing you cannot stop their health from declining is heart breaking. No child wants to think about their parents dying from cancer due to something that could have been prevented.
Marijuana started to be seen as a “bad” recreational substance from the 1900s to the 1920s (Marijuana Timeline). During this time period Mexican immigrants were flooding into the United States and introduced the recreational use of the marijuana leaf (Marijuana Timeline). Since discrimination against these newly imported immigrants was at a high, no one really took the time to research what marijuana really was (Marijuana Timeline). Anti-drug contributors glorified the fact that the reason cannabis was in America was because of immigrants (Marijuana Timeline). The Marijuana Tax Act was placed upon Americans in 1937 restricting marijuana use aside from extreme medical causes and industrial uses (Marijuana Timeline). More research and projects should have happened to have made cannabis illegal because the reason it was made illegal are not intact (Marijuana Timeline).
Something that is eye-opening to me is that someone almost got their child taken due to cannabis use. In Michigan a woman named Maggie was pregnant (Figueroa). Maggie used marijuana to treat health disturbances and help with her pregnancy since she was not gaining the appropriate amount of weight; the cannabis helped her (Figueroa). Keeping in mind Maggie is a legalized medical marijuana user, one would understand that during pregnancy the treatment would be continuous (Figueroa). Maggie was drug tested in the hospital during labor and when the child was born and tested positive with THC in his system it caused a Child Protective Service months-long investigation (Figueroa). The case ended up being dropped, but, the torment Maggie had to be put through was astonishing. Especially because if you smoke cigarettes while pregnant, sure it is looked down upon, but it would not result in your baby being taken from you even though it has a huge correlation to baby deformities. Statistics show that women who smoke cigarettes during pregnancy heighten the chance of their child having a birth defect (Goodman 1). Mothers who smoked cigarettes during pregnancy had babies at risk twenty to thirty percent more likely to have a birth defect than mothers that do not smoke (Goodman 1). In contrast studies correlating marijuana use to birth defects are not as prevalent (Baby Blog). In one study which encompassed 12,825 cases done after delivery did not find an association between cannabis use and birth defects (Baby Blog).
After thinking and researching for long periods of time, one can conclude marijuana use should be legalized for recreational use. Not only are cigarettes and alcohol less harmful but also the plant does not show correlation to the illnesses that may come along with alcohol and cigarettes. Marijuana should be legal because it is less damaging than many other substances and the reason it was made illegal is based on ignorance and discrimination.