As it is, America already has enough problems with its people. In 2009–2010, 35.7% of U.S. adults were obese (Source
). As of 2009 (unfortunately, the most recent results I could find), 15,183 deaths in America were caused by alcoholic liver disease, and 24,518 deaths were alcohol-induced, and this number doesn't include accidents and homicides (Source
). Between 2000-2004, an estimated 443,000 death were related to smoking (Source
). Welcome to the country where many of our citizens seem to enjoy overdoing tons of different things that end up being incredibly bad for them, and there should be absolutely no reason for the government to add marijuana to the list. Sure, they could tax the crap out of it and make themselves more money. Sure, they could clear out the jails of those arrested under charges relate to just pot and save some money, and no, they can't catch everyone that illegally grows, deals, and/or smokes cannabis, but there is no reason they should let them go.
While those promoting the legalization of the drug claim that it is close to harmless, they are quite far from the truth. While high, many are subject to distorted perception, impaired coordination, difficulty with thinking and problem solving, and problems with learning and memory due to the high concentration of parts in the brain known as cannabinoid receptors, which the THC in cannabis reacts with to give the person the high they get from smoking cannabis, in the areas of the brain that deal with these senses, as well as pleasure. Research has even shown that in chronic users, the impairment of learning and memory can last for days, even up to weeks, after many of the other effects of the drug have worn off. There was even a research study done at the University of Wollongong that showed that long-term use of cannabis could adversely affect all users by showing through brain imaging that the brain regions thought to regulate memory and thought emotional processing were reduced in cannabis users by 12% compared to the 7% in non-cannabis users. What this means is that, in this study, cannabis users were found to be more prone to psychotic experiences like paranoia and social withdrawal, as well as memory loss (Source
). In a country of people who seem to enjoy overindulging and making bad choices, heavy use of marijuana could easily become the source of many mental problems, and by then, the damage would be done. Trying to ban cannabis use after all this damage would fail as miserably as Prohibition did--by the time they tried to ban cannabis again, too many would have become addicted to it for the government to right the wrong it made in making the drug legal. The thing is, the adverse effects of marijuana don't just stop in the mental department, it affects other areas of the body and aspects of life as well.
While those that are pro-legalization claim that no one can die from smoking too much pot, they seem to be quite unaware that smoking pot increases the heart rate from anywhere between 20% to 100%, which leads to a drop in blood pressure and increases the smoker’s risk of having a heart attack, something that can be quite lethal. Meanwhile, while there is no proven link between marijuana and lung cancer, marijuana users can end up with some of the same respiratory problems as smokers do, such as more frequent acute chest illness and a higher risk of getting lung infections. It’s not just what marijuana can do your body that can hurt pot smokers, either, as a more recent study found that those who had smoked marijuana within three hours of beginning to drive were twice as likely to crash (Source
)—most likely because of the reflex-slowing effect and coordination impairment getting high can cause, and bad enough vehicle crashes can kill a person; we see it all the time with alcohol. Unfortunately, as I mentioned before, the reason alcohol is still legal in the United States is because Prohibition started too late; too many had already gotten a taste of alcohol and liked what they tasted to keep alcohol banned. To freely allow another sense-impairing drug to be legalized in the United States at this point would be like adding another nail to the coffin the United States is trying to claw its way out of right now.
It has also been claimed that pot is not an addictive substance. Again, those claiming this fact are wrong. While pot does not contain a chemical like nicotine, which causes a chemical addiction, people themselves could become addicted to the feeling of being high itself and end up with a mental, compulsive addiction, and there is a whole host
of problems I've mentioned in the paragraphs before this that come along with repetitive marijuana use, some fatal.
Also, I'd like to point out that while medicinal marijuana is legal in some states, many of the conditions it is prescribed for have the potential to be deadly and the good outweighs the bad in many of these cases. Most medicinal marijuana is prescribed to cancer patients, people with AIDS or HIV, people with glaucoma, and people with multiple sclerosis. Specifically for cancer patients, medicinal marijuana is given to ease the patient's pain, counteract some of the nausea that is brought on by chemotherapy, and give them a larger appetite to keep them from losing too much weight. However, while those who use medicinal marijuana probably feel better because of it, doctors and scientists are searching for ways to reproduce the beneficial effects of marijuana in a way that does not bring its adverse effects along as well.
In conclusion, America absolutely does not need to legalize marijuana. Unlike its use in the medical field, the negatives would completely outweigh any "benefits" that the legalization of marijuana would have. At this point, legalization would only digging America deeper into the hole it is trying to get out of, something this country definitely does not need.
And then there's this one last source, which I used throughout the article.