Should Marijuana Remain an Illegal Substance

Topics: Morality Pages: 5 (1920 words) Published: March 11, 2002

Marijuana has become a more and more acceptable drug over the past few years despite its many side effects, not only on the user, but also on society as a whole. Due to these side effects on society and the marijuana user, it would be in the best interest of everyone that marijuana remains an illegal substance. On one side of the issue you have marijuana users saying that it is their choice on whether or not they should be allowed to smoke marijuana. The question we have to ask ourselves is, are individual freedoms so important that we are willing to allow these individual freedoms to continue without consequence, even if their actions are harmful. The purpose of this essay will be to put forth a strong argument that will prove that marijuana should remain an illegal substance.

Before I go any further I want to clear up a few things. When I say that marijuana should remain illegal I mean that in Canada marijuana use and trafficking should be treating exactly the way it is now under the Criminal Code of Canada. I don't mean that there should be anymore restrictions placed upon marijuana. I also mean that the exceptions where marijuana use is allowed should remain the same. Secondly when I refer to marijuana use and marijuana users I am only talking about when the substance is smoked I am not talking about any other methods in which marijuana is used.

The most obvious reason it keep marijuana use illegal is the harmful effects it has on the smoker. Some of the short term effects of marijuana use include: problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, trouble with thinking and problem solving, loss of co-ordination, and increased heart rate (due to possible anxiety). The long-term effects include cancer; damages to the lungs and airways; and finally damages to the immune system. Studies show that someone who smokes five joints per week may be taking in as much cancer causing chemicals as someone whom smokes fifteen cigarettes daily. As well people who smoke marijuana often develop coughing and wheezing. They tend to have more chest colds than nonusers do. They are also at a higher risk of getting lung infections like pneumonia. Different studies on animals have found that marijuana can damage the cells and tissues in the body that help protect people from disease. When the immune cells are weakened, you are more likely to get sick. Then there is the most serious effect of all in which marijuana inflects upon the user and that is its effect upon the brain. Studies show that when people have smoked large amounts of marijuana for years, the drug takes its toll on mental functions. Heavy or daily use of marijuana effects the parts of the brain that control memory, attention, and learning. A working short-term memory is needed to learn and perform tasks that call for more than one or two steps. Smoking marijuana causes some changes in the brain that are like those caused by cocaine and heroin (these changes are not healthy ones).

With all the health side effects presented here it is amazing to find out just how many people use marijuana. Avid users claim that it is not only a lifestyle choice but also it is a matter of liberty and freedom (personal choice). Lobbyists for the legalization of marijuana would say that because Canada is a free country, which gives people the right to free choice that it is morally wrong to make marijuana illegal. These lobbyists would point out that people make choices everyday that go against their health's best interest. Take the example miners who go down into the mines everyday exposing themselves to fumes which they know are bad for their health, yet they choose to go down and mine with the governments permission. When the lobbyist argues that the use of marijuana is a right that all people should have the ability to make by themselves, they are forgetting that people's rights are restricted. Even in...
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