Legalization of Marijuana: Risky or Beneficial?
January 15, 2012
Legalization of Marijuana A random telephone poll conducted by CBS News in October 2011 revealed that 77% of those polled believe that doctors should be allowed to prescribe marijuana for serious illnesses. This compares to 65% just one year prior (ProCon.org, 2011). Popular opinion that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes is shifting as the positive aspects of enacting laws allowing its use come to the public’s attention. Illegal importation of drugs into the United States is a multi-billion dollar industry with all of the profits going to criminal drug dealers. The black market for marijuana would be
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Conversely, former U.S. Senator Dr. Bill Frist asserts marijuana is a dangerous drug without sound scientific evidence proving its benefits (ProCon.org, 2009). Consistent with opinion that marijuana causes respiratory problems and lung cancer, the British Lung Foundation reported that smoking three to four marijuana joints is the equivalent of smoking a pack of cigarettes (ProCon.org, 2009). On the contrary, a UCLA study found that there is no correlation between smoking marijuana and lung cancer (ProCon.org, 2009). That study further suggested there may be a protective effect. This coincides with African tribal belief in the 1600s that cannabis could be use to alleviate hay fever and asthma (ProCon.org, 2009). According to BalancedPolitics.org, there are quite a few alternative uses of the cannabis plant including construction and thermal insulation materials, dynamite, paper, and insect repellant. It is believed that over 25,000 products can be made from it, but legal issues have inhibited the research needed to develop these products (2011). Legalization of marijuana would facilitate research into all uses as well as more formal studies on the long-term effects of regular use. Despite the research possibilities, there is considerable resistance to the legalization of