marijuana is the cause of much commotion and debating, as the question of legalization becomes more of an issue. There are many sides to this issue, and no one seems to know the answer. Is keeping marijuana illegal a duty for the government to keep the public healthy or are they just trying to prevent thoughtless and harmful acts in society. Marijuana is a substance obtained from the dried leaves and flowering tops of the pistillate hemp plant.

But technically it is known as cannabis sativa. Which is a tall, widely cultivated Asian herb of the mulberry family. There are soooo many different ways of getting this drug into your system. The most common method is the rolling of the finely chopped substance in thin papers to make marijuana cigarettes or joints. It is also smoked through a pipe or through a water filtration system known as a bong.

Marijuana has many different names to it. It is also known as pot, weed, bud, herb, ghana, grass, wacky tab acci, funky bhudda, green, indo, mary jane, hemp, kif, bones, funny stuff, chee ba and many other things. Marijuana was first cultivated in China around 4000 B. C.

It was mainly used as a sedative and analgesic, but today it is commonly used for the "high" or the euphoric feeling it causes. The most active ingredient in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannibinal commonly referred to a! s THC, which wasn't discovered until the 1960 s. There are many cons to the legalizing marijuana. For instance legalizing the drug may cause accidents, lost productivity on the job, and wrecked families. In fact smoking the drug is indeed threatening to your health. Many people feel that smoking pot is a gateway drug to the use of many other drugs.

Legalization is considered unnecessary by many people. They feel that it will increase the amount of drug use throughout the world. They say that in many different cases, drug users who have quit, quit because of trouble with the law. Legalization would get rid the legal forces that discourage the users from using or selling drugs.

They also say that by making drugs legal, the people who have never tried drugs for fear of getting caught by the law, will have no reason to be afraid anymore and will become users (Snyder, 1988). Not only has the drug problem increased, but drug related problems are on the rise. Drug abuse is a killer worldwide. Some are born addicts (crack babies), while others develop addictions later in life.

There are many pros to legalizing the drug marijuana. Drugs are a major powerful force in countries all over the world today. A lot of people are using this drug already. Legalization is an option that has not had a chance, but really should be given thought to.

Although many people feel that legalizing marijuana would make the amount of drug use greater, marijuana should be legalized because it will cut down the huge amount of money spent on enforcement, and will then increase our countries profits and make crime a lot less. In addition it will also be useful in treating different medical conditions. Like cancer for instance. Legalization will be profitable to global economies in two ways. It will allow for money spent on drug law enforcement to be spent more wisely and it will increase revenue. There have been rising costs spent on the war against drugs and countless dollars spent on rehabilitation.

Every year in the United States, ten billion dollars are spent on enforcing drug laws alone. Drug violators responsible for about forty percent of all criminals in federal prisons (Marijuana retains... , 1990, p. A-6).

In 1989, a Republican county executive of Mercer County, N. J. , estimated that it would costs approximately one billion dollars to build the jail space required to house all the drug users in Trenton alone (Tala h, 1993, p. 1-7).

All of this money could be spent on things of greater importance. Not only has the drug problem increased, but drug related problems are on the rise. Drug abuse is a killer worldwide. Some are born addicts (crack babies), while others develop addictions later in life. Drug violators are a major cause of extreme overcrowding in US prisons. In 1992, 59000 inmates were added to make a record setting 833600 inmates nationwide.

A high percentage of these prisoners were serving time because of drug related incidents. Since 1982, there has been a 160 percent increase in inmate population. You can only imagine what that number is today. Most of this increase is credited to drug violators, and infortunatyl, this number will only continue to rise (Lorimer, 1993, p. 214).

1991 was the most murderous year in the United States since 1972, and police estimated that forty percent of these homicides were drug related (Lorimer, 1993, p. 215). Legalizing hemp and other drugs would discourage future criminal acts, therefore slowly, but effectively lessening crime. Legalizing drugs would also increase countries income.

During prohibition, alcohol use was still rampant. People were still drinking, only it was illegal. In the US, the 21 st amendment annulled prohibition and alcohol taxes were increased. The same thing should be done with marijuana and other illegal drug today. The drugs should be heavily taxed to increase revenue. The drugs could be made by the same companies who make such things as aspirin, so the quality would be assured -- no poisons or adulterants.

Sterile hypodermic needles could be readily available at drug stores, thus curbing the spread of diseases such as AIDS, and hepatitis. These could be taxed because the user will be guaranteed of getting 'clean drugs'. Legalizing alcohol did not increase alcoholism, so why would legalizing drugs elevate drug abuse? Another argument as to why marijuana and other illegal substances should be legalized, is because medical professionals have found several uses for the hemp plant. Until 1937, marijuana was legal in the United State for all purposes.

As of autumn 1995, only eight Americans were legally allowed to use marijuana as a medicine (Medicinal, 1995). Hemp is classified as a controlled class C substance. If someone is caught in possession of it, they can be fined and or jailed, depending on how much they possess. Even when the use of this substance could cure their illness or prolong their life (Medicinal, 1995, ). Many people have been apprehended by authorities for growing marijuana even though it was for their own private medicinal use. A woman in New York was busted for growing a ten foot tall weed plant in her front yard.

She was growing it for her son in Brooklyn who suffers from multiple sclerosis. Police arrived at her home and ripped the plant from the ground. After going to trial, she was placed on six months probation (Lukoski, 1994 p. 94).

This is by far not the only incident. For years people have been saying that marijuana should be a legal crop and that possession should be no more of a crime than the possession of alcohol. A recent Harvard survey of oncologist showed that almost half would prescribe marijuana if it were legal. Marijuana is one of the safest therapeutically active substance known. No one has ever died from an overdose, and it has a wide variety of applications. If cocaine and morphine are being prescribed legally as medicine and are not adding in any significant way to the drug problem, then surely neither would hemp.

Some of the conditions in which marijuana would is beneficial include AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, MS and chronic pain. In AIDS patients, marijuana can reduce the nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite caused by the ailment itself and by treatment with AZT and other drugs. When dealing with glaucoma, weed can alleviate pressure within the eye, thereby reducing pain and slowing the progress of the condition. Hemp is useful for cancer patients, as it stimulates the appetite and relieves nausea and vomiting, common side effects of chemotherapy. Marijuana can also prevent epileptic seizures and ease the debilitating pain caused by countless of disorders and injuries.

Many patients have also reported that cannabis is useful for treating arthritis, migraines, menstrual cramps, itching, alcohol addiction, depression and other mood disorders. Even though it could be helpful for millions of patients suffering from the above mentioned conditions, medicinal marijuana remains illegal. Therefore sufferers have two options: 1. continue to suffer; or 2. obtain it illegally and risk the consequences. In the United States, there are only two places in which hemp is grown legally.

In California it is legal to be grown for medical reasons if granted legal permission, and at the University of Mississippi, where scientists grow marijuana to test its physical makeup. In conclusion, marijuana should be legalized as it is very useful in the medical profession, and will allow for money spent on enforcement to be spent more wisely thus increasing revenue. As for whether or not there will be an increase in drug use, one will never know unless we give legalization a chance.