Legalizing Marijuana What's Next

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Having successfully completely the last of his final exams, Joe Smith, a college student decided to celebrate by spending his friday night at a party. Smith knew well that the atmosphere of the party would not be complete without alchohol and marijuana. He did not smoke or go to campus parties often and he had only a little champaign once at a friend's wedding. What Smith did not know was that after this night he would never have the chance to take an exam, go to a party or even see his family members again. Joe Smith died that night. He was hit by a drug-impaired driver. More specifically, a marijuana impaired driver. Legalizing marijuana would not only cause more cases like this but would eventually lead to a downfall in society.The braod concensus in America is that a "driving under the influence" problem exists. Drivers who impaired are blamed for the loss of thousands of lives in urban and highway accidents. Intentional or not, drug-impaired drivers indiscriminately kill innocent victims whose behavior did not contribute to their death. In the case of Joe Smith, drug use is indirectly the cause of his death. If the prohibition of marijuana were to be lifted the affects of society as a whole would be devastating. According to H. Laurence Ross's "Confronting Drunk Driving," if "alchohol [were] to be introduced as a new drug, it would very likely fail to be approved by the Food and Drug Administration on the grounds that its side effects are too damaging..."(37).If there ever stood the chance that alchohol would become prohibited thencertainly marijuana should remain prohibited. The occurence iof drug related accidents would become more prevalent if there were no restrictions on the usage of marijuana. Many physically harmful affects go along with marijuana usage. Legalizing marijuana does not change that marijuana smoke contains far more cancer-causing chemicals than cigarette smoke. Marijuana impairs brain functions and diminishes motor functions. In "The Marijuana Question," Jones and Lovinger refer to an experiment that was performed by two university students in Miami. One of the students purposely smoked marijuana and got behind the wheel of a car while the other observed. The affects of the marijuana"...brought hallucinantions, distortions, dsitractions and difficulty braking." Obviously the results of this experiment proved that it is not only dangerous to drive in such conditions but the realization of this makes it criminal. With the rise in crime do to the smoking of marijuana, society will decline. Of course, as long as growing, selling, or possessing marijuana remains illegal, the participation of any of these acts is technically a crime. Lifting the prohibition on marijuana would perhaps diminish the smuggling and selling of it, but abuseof the drug is more likely to occur. According to "The Marijuana Question," when deprived of the drug,users become"...ill-tempered,less docile,more impulsive, negative, and quarrelsome"(381). Attributes such as these promote violence which in most cases lead to crime. Marijuana usage directly and indirectly causes emotional and psychological affects that greatly impact society in a negative way. As with Joe Smith's untimely death, the affect of mari

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