As a kid growing up, you’re constantly told of the dangers of drugs, and since it is illegal, marijuana is a drug and therefore it is dangerous. Again, the “dangers” of marijuana can be traced back to the 1930’s and the negative propaganda that surrounded it to appease private interests and reinforce racial stereotypes; never on actual dangers to your health. In 1974, Dr. Robert Heath of Tulane University conducted a test in which lab monkeys were given thirty marijuana joints daily to test for harmful side effects. After 90 days, many of the monkeys started to die and the university reported that the monkeys had died from a mass dying of brain cells and they concluded that the consumption of marijuana destroyed the brain. The official test observations and results, however, were withheld from the public for six years until finally, in 1980, they were released to NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) due to a lawsuit NORML had brought to the university. Upon further investigation of the study, it was revealed that Dr. Heath actually pumped the equivalent of sixty-three joints via gasmasks into the monkeys everyday in just a five minute time frame; much more than the first reported thirty joints a day. The monkeys were reported to have died because of brain damage, but in reality they died of suffocation; when the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, one of the first things to start dying off are brain cells (http://www.jackherer.com/chapter15.html Accessed June 7, 2010). To this day, there has been no test like the Heath/Tulane study.
Marijuana should not be Legalized
Most of us have either seen or smoked marijuana, either in a recreational or medical setting. What is common about the drug, locally and internationally, is its illegal status. But this has not discouraged some people from partaking of the drug and the consequences for this legal disregard is socially and economically catastrophic. There exists a divide on opinion regarding the legal status of the drug with some loudly calling for its legalization especially in major powers like the US. The debate on the legalization of marijuana is not new and has raged for several decades with both the proponents and opponents of this motion using emotional appeal and factual evidence to back their claims. Marijuana is one of the most abused drugs across the world and the call for its legalization has a significant impact on governments and individuals. This has informed my opinion that marijuana should not be legalized since doing so will lead to increased addiction, social evils like crime and additional burdens to the world’s health care system through treatment of this addiction and drug induced accidents.
Marijuana is addictive and one of the most abused illegal substances in major cities across the world. Legalizing the drug will just increase addiction by making it readily available to the users and tempting non users to engage in its consumption. This will in turn lead to reduced productivity and increased social evils in form of crime since drugs reduce inhibitions. Education might also be affected either through teens dropping out of school or their performance being greatly affected by marijuana use. Those who have had the privilege to study in public universities here in Kenya will attest to the extent which student’s abuse the drug which they have ascribed nicknames like weed, bush, kush and “ndome.”This abuse leads to risky behaviors like experimentation with alcohol, other drugs and reckless engagement in dangerous sexual activities. Needles to say sustaining this addiction requires money and student’s who have no ready source of income result to dangerous behavior like robbery or prostitution to get cash for basic needs and marijuana. The side effects include increased AIDs prevalence, unwanted pregnancies and an increase in the rate of abortions.
Those calling for marijuana legalizations have citied taxation of the drug as a way for government to control its use and increase its revenue. However, statistics have shown that legalization of drugs does not increase its effective control or add revenue in relation to social cost as demonstrated by the two legal drugs; alcohol and tobacco. For instance, in the United States, the federal cost of attending to alcohol related conditions amounted to $185 Billion as compared to alcohol related revenue totaling $14.5 billion. Medical data collected in trauma wards have shown that most deaths and major injuries on our roads are caused by marijuana smoking drivers. Marijuana, like alcohol, impairs the judgment of the driver and the resultant effect is unnecessary carnage. Innocent lives are lost simply because a few people chose to engage in illegal fetish. What would happen then if the drug was made legal, how many innocent lives would the world lose under the hands of a few hedonistic individuals. How many more resources would we need to assign to treatment rather than focus on other welfare programs meant to make this world a better place? No, legalizing marijuana is not just impractical; it’s downright immoral.