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Jennifer CurranMr. ConklinHonors US History IIDecember 22, 2017Make America High Again Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in the world. Marijuana is a cannabis that contains trace amounts of THC; the chemical responsible for the “high” experience, and is simply a misunderstood drug. Many assume marijuana, or cannabis, is a dangerous misused drug. However, this drug could act as the exact opposite.  Recreational Marijuana is legal in twenty seven out of fifty states in the United States of America, more than half of the entire country. It is said in the book of Marijuana Legalization, “Globally, between 125 million and 200 million people use marijuana in the course of a year; that is 3-4 percent of the world’s population, ages 15-64, making cannabis the most widely used illicit substance.” (Jonathan P. Caulkins). Considering Marijuanas popularity and the strong attraction people have for it, why not legalize it throughout all of the fifty states in America? This is one of the many unanswered questions countless Americans have been asking for years. Although cannabis consists of cons, the pro’s overpower, and portray how marijuana is a strong product that will do more good for the citizen’s of the United States, than it will bad.Furthermore, when it comes to the Marijuana Intoxication process, marijuana can be ingested or smoked. For the most part, it is smoked (Jonathan P. Caulkins). The intoxication effects of marijuana include sleepiness, relaxation, and mild euphoria (getting high) (Jonathan P. Caulkins). When smoking marijuana, less than half of the THC is inhaled and absorbed by lungs, while the rest is burnt during the process (Jonathan P. Caulkins). When ingesting marijuana (eating marijuana-laced brownies for example) it is less effective as a lower amount of THC ends up in the user’s bloodstream, although the “bioavailability” of the product is much higher if marijuana products are consumed on an empty stomach (Jonathan P. Caulkins). It takes a few minutes for the high to kick in after smoking marijuana, but when consuming marijuana edibles, it takes around 30-40 minutes to kick in. When a 58 year old male from Arlington Massachusetts was asked his views on potential risks with highly potent cannabis edibles, his response was, “The problem is that once weed is legalized, these edibles provide younger people to get high while eating common food that we usually are familiar with as being desserts or snacks. Food could be spiked and people could end up being high without even knowing how they got high.” (Curran, Interview) This causes dangerous risks for many people unaware of the long delay in eating marijuana. (Jonathan P. Caulkins). As well as this delay, edibles cause a longer effect on people, as the high could last up to seven hours. A 20 year old female from Arlington Massachusetts also responded to the same question  saying, “I believe that smoking can harm your physical health more than ingesting the actual product, I do not believe that ingesting marijuana would actually put any harm toward your body.” (Bird, Interview) In that sense, it is true that edibles do have benefits in not causing harm to the human body itself.    Moreover, marijuana alone consists of simple, safe side effects such as decreased- short term memory, dry mouth, impaired perception and motor skills, and red eyes (Jonathan P. Caulkins). These side effects are as bad as it gets when using the drug, and most importantly marijuana is not harmful toward individuals health conditions. In contrast, however, marijuana is often cut with more dangerous drugs that could result in more serious side effects such as sudden high blood pressure with headache, chest pain and heart rhythm disturbances, extreme hyperactivity and physical violence, heart attack, seizures, and sudden collapse (cardiac arrest) (Jonathan P. Caulkins). Therefore, when marijuana is used alone, there is no direct harm it causes to bodies, yet if it is to be laced with another substance or drug, people could undergo a dangerous risk. This clearly shows that it is not the marijuana that has the dangerous effects on humans, but the other drugs that are being mixed in with it (Jonathan P. Caulkins). If marijuana was to be legalized and sold in stores, the stores would have to be responsible and aware of selling pure regulated weed that is not laced with any other harmful drug.   Additionally, marijuana has been proven to be anything but a gateway drug. Marijuana is considered more as a filter to help keep people off more stronger, dangerous drugs. There are rat studies that show how most rats do not like the main active ingredient in marijuana, THC. These rats are forcibly injected with THC, meanwhile they willingly take other strong drugs such as opiates or cocaine without hesitation (Maia Szalavitz). Furthermore, a recent study on rhesus monkeys suggest that when forced to take marijuana, this may actually make taking heroin less tempting and rewarding (Maia Szalavitz). Although these tests were not performed directly on humans, both rats and monkeys are a far closer model to humans in comparison to other species. As well as these studies, when three anonymous people were asked if marijuana was a gateway drug, two responded no while one opposed. The first response came from an 18 year old male senior from Arlington High school in Massachusetts. He said, “Marijuana is not a gateway drug as it is used by many all around the world and a majority who use it don’t become addicted or migrate toward more dangerous drugs at all.” (Gearin, Interview) Similar to his response, a 20 year old female from Arlington Massachusetts responded by saying, “No. Marijuana is not addictive, and as a long time user of the drug I have never been tempted into experiencing with any other stronger drugs.” (Bird, Interview) However, when a 58 year old male from Arlington Massachusetts responded, his answer differed as he replied, “For some people yes, but not everyone. Some people use the drug and never go beyond it, but there’s also people who obtain an addictive personality, and will continue to experiment with other drugs further and further.” (Curran, Interview)”Addiction is a relationship between a person, their genetics, their childhood experiences, their social and economic world, and a substance or activity. Not all addictive people will have all risk factors, and not all those who are vulnerable will get hooked.”(Maia Szalavitz)Further, medical Cannabis, or medical marijuana, is recommended by doctors to benefit patients in need. The marijuana plant contains chemicals that may help treat a range of both mental and physical illnesses and symptoms. Medical Marijuana reduces suicide rates, can fuel brain cell growth, destroys cancer cells, and there is no evidence of significant lung damage (Jonathan P. Caulkins). When a 20 year old female from Arlington Massachusetts was asked about her views on the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes, she responded, “I believe the use of medical marijuana is very important. I have a medical card myself which helps with my condition of anxiety and depression. People who qualify to get medical marijuana should be granted it because it does help so much.” (Bird, Interview) A 58 year old male from Arlington Massachusetts was asked the same question relating to his views on medical marijuana use, and his response was, “If a doctor believes it will relieve the pain of someone who really needs it, I believe that no person should suffer through grave pain if they have a solution to avoid it.” (Curran, Interview) In addition, an 18 year old male from Arlington Massachusetts responded to the same question saying, “If medical marijuana will help someone then yes, definitely. There are lots of other drugs prescribed over the counter that are much more harmful and addictive than marijuana, painkillers and Oxy’s for instance, these drugs destroy lives.” (Gearin, Interview) Medical marijuana should be available for all people in every state, people should be given equal options and opportunities in curing any condition they may have that falls under the many in which marijuana can heal. Lastly, despite claims, data  proves that legalized marijuana has in fact decreased crime rates. Colorado alone has assembled several research studies indicating that legalization has not showed a great spark in violent crime (Brian Heuberger). According to research by the Drug Policy Alliance, “During the first year of implementation of Amendment 64, Denver experienced a 2.2 percent decrease in violent crime rates and an 8.9 percent reduction in property crime offenses.”(Brian Heuberger)  Therefore, coming from one of the most popular marijuana states in the world, it is shown that the drug has encouraged a great violent crime decrease. The more states that approve the legal use of marijuana, will lead to a safer America. Overall, what’s been stated earlier regarding the risks, dangers, and benefits of Marijuana are just a few of the numerous important, need to know facts. It is true to be said that Marijuana is infact a questionable drug. Peoples view on the drug vary from exceedingly pro, vastly con, and countless in between. The drug, however, is not dangerous. It is an appreciable drug, that has a purpose for treating people who have no other resort. Marijuana has the power to cleanse an average bad day, make good days even better, and allow people to view the world with more laughter and admiration. Why would a drug, that can make most aspects of life more enjoyable, be illegal? The simple answer is that it should not. Make Marijuana Legal, and make America the High and happier than ever again.