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NAU SOC 301 - SOC_301_Essay_2

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Kristina SimonovicSOC301Reflection Essay 224 June 2018Legalization of Recreational CannabisThe article, “Medical Marijuana in a Time of Prohibition” makes many strong claims regarding the current legalities of cannabis. In 1970, the federal government classified Marijuanaas a Schedule I illicit drug as by the Comprehensive Drug Abuse and Control Act. To this day, marijuana remains on the Schedule I list, which according to the article, “describes it as having a high potential for abuse, no accepted medical use in the United States, and lack of accepted safety for use under medical supervision” (Grinspoon 1999). Despite 29 states legalizing the medicinal use and another 9 states legalizing the recreational use, cannabis remains illegal under federal law. Classified as a Schedule I illicit drug, cannabis is considered to be more dangerous than cocaine, opiates, and methamphetamines. As of recent events, Canada became the second country to legalize the recreational use and sale of cannabis. Uruguay was the first and is the only other country in the world that has federally legalized recreational cannabis. I believe the U.S. would benefit from the legalization of recreational cannabis. The first reason is that, “Once patients no longer have to pay the prohibition tariff, cannabis will be much less expensive than the medicines it replaces” (Grinspoon 1999). Another reason is that, “Marijuana is remarkably versatile. Case histories and clinical experience suggest that it is useful in the treatment of more than two dozen symptoms and syndromes, and others will undoubtedly be discovered in the future” (Grinspoon 1999). Marijuana is undeniably a very effective form of treatment that is safer and less harmful thanmost other medications with similar effects. Marijuana should not be classified as a Schedule I illicit drug. In contrast to a drug classified as Schedule I, “Over the counter drugs are considered so useful and safe that patients are allowed to use their own judgment without a doctor’s permission or advice” (Grinspoon 1999). Aspirin is considered an over the counter medication and can be purchased at anytime, not to mention, “it takes 1000–2000 lives a year in the United States” (Grinspoon 1999). In addition, “The remarkably versatile ibuprofen and other NSAIDs can also be purchased over the counter, because they too are considered very safe; ‘‘only’’ 7000 Americans lose their lives to these drugs annually.” (Grinspoon 1999). On the contrary, “In its long history, marijuana has never caused a single overdose death” (Grinspoon 1999). People should be able to have a choice in treatment of their alignments, however severe they may be. Recreational legalization of cannabis is necessary because the federal government shouldn’t have a say in the severity of your condition to determine whether or not it qualifies youto legally use cannabis as your form of treatment. According to the article, “Many people use it not only to ease everyday discomforts, but also to heighten creativity or help them in their work. It can serve as an intellectual stimulant, promote emotional intimacy, or enhance the appreciationof food, sex, natural beauty, music, and art” (Grinspoon 1999). The fear of drug abuse should notbe the reason that cannabis remains federally illegal. Opiates and amphetamines have substantially high addiction rates, yet they are legal to anyone who has a prescription for them. There is a lack of concern for drug abuse of substances that are far more harmful than marijuana.Until recreational cannabis is legalized, “There will be constant conflict with one of two outcomes: patients do not get all the benefits they should from this medicine, or they get the benefits by abandoning the legal system for the black market or their own outdoor or closet gardens” (Grinspoon 1999). Ultimately, everyone should have accessibility to marijuana if that istheir choice of treatment. With the Trump Administration currently in office, the future of recreational cannabis is unforeseeable; however, if the U.S. was somehow able to legalize it federally, “Only then would it be possible to realize the full potential of this remarkable substance, and its medical potential in particular” (Grinspoon 1999).REFERENCESGrinspoon, L. 1999. Medical marihuana in a time of prohibition. International Journal of Drug Policy, 10(2),


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