Volume 2, Number 5 - Oct 20 2011

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Cassandra Bazile

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To Legalize or Not to Legalize

By Cassandra Bazile

The idea of the legalization of marijuana has been on the minds of many with respect to its social and economic effect. For some, the legalization of marijuana will inevitably reduce crime rates as well as bring about a new and powerful industry during this recession.

Many companies, such as the tobacco and pharmaceutical industry already exist, and the thought of bringing in much needed revenue during this economic downturn would change the status quo. But what would be the long term effects of legalizing marijuana?

Amsterdam, a city infamous for its lax laws, has now banned weed-loving foreigners from buying and enjoying marijuana, and will limit the sale of weed to only residents.

It’s a common misconception that legalizing a “soft” drug such as marijuana would cause crime rates to drop because people would no longer have to hide their habits.

In Amsterdam,  drug trafficking has increased surrounding the sale of pot. Thus, the argument that legalizing pot would greatly reduce crime is easily dismissed.

Since the time California introduced the legalization of medical marijuana in 1996, Americans have seen the pot industry grow in their own nation.

According to statistics, Florida already has the harshest criminal penalties for marijuana possession and trafficking in the nation, but what would legalization really do for the cause? Yet, there is no evidence these tough laws decreased marijuana use among Floridians.

In terms of social repercussions, the negatives outweigh the positives.

Although legalization activists and many marijuana users believe smoking pot has no negative effects, scientific research indicates that marijuana use can lead to multiple health issues—for instance, heart disease, due to high levels of cyanide. Other toxins, such as ammonia and nitrogen oxides cause lung cancer, a similar side effect cigarettes have.

Marijuana proponents have argued that other legalized drugs, such as alcohol and tobacco products, are more harmful than pot.

Even though there are lobbyists sent to congress by the pharmaceutical and tobacco industries influencing governmental decisions, allowing another drug to be openly served to people would make matters worse, as it has done in Amsterdam.

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