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close_to_done[1] - 1 Marijuana Legalization My Initial...

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1 Marijuana Legalization My Initial Hypothesis As a college student I have noticed the common drugs of choice for my peers are marijuana and alcohol. Both are readily available and used by many. Alcohol is legal at the age of 21, while marijuana is illegal. Alcohol is sold at stores on every street corner in America and marijuana is sold illegally on street corners across America. In 2001, there were 331 alcohol overdose deaths and no marijuana overdose deaths (Center for Disease, 2002). These numbers are only getting worse as studies show binge drinking and alcohol abuse is increasing. Alcohol is one of the most toxic drugs, and using just 10 times what one would use to get the desired effect can lead to death (American Scientist, 2007). It has been concluded that: “Long-term marijuana use is far less harmful than long-term alcohol use” (Iversen, 2005). Is there a sincere reason that we live in a country that legalizes something as dangerous as alcohol but, makes something as harmless as marijuana illegal? Time will tell but the facts are clear that something needs to be done about the legalization of Marijuana or the laws of Alcohol. The Empirical Evidence Everything points to marijuana being nowhere near as harmful as any of the drugs that are on our nation streets, legally or illegally. The American Scientist (2007) reports: The most toxic recreational drugs, such as GHB (gamma-hydroxybutyrate) and heroin, have a lethal dose less than 10 times their typical effective dose. The largest cluster of substances has a lethal dose that is 10 to 20 times the effective dose: These include cocaine, MDMA (methylenedioxymethamphetamine, often called "ecstasy") and alcohol. A less toxic group of substances, requiring 20 to 80 times the effective dose to cause death, include Rohypnol (flunitrazepam or "roofies") and mescaline (peyote cactus). The least physiologically toxic substances, those requiring 100 to
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2 1,000 times the effective dose to cause death, include psilocybin mushrooms and marijuana, when ingested. (p. 3) After intensive research, I have not come across any documented cases of deaths from smoking marijuana. Dr. Jack Henningfield produced a study, comparing the dangers of popular drugs. In this study he compared Nicotine, Heroin, Cocaine, Alcohol, Caffeine, and Marijuana. Henningfield (1994) documented marijuana as being the least dependent of them all. Also, the presence and severity of withdrawal symptoms were the lowest of all the drugs (Henningfield). The withdrawal for alcohol and heroin were significantly higher than marijuana (Henningfield). Studies have found how alcohol use contributes to the aggressive behavior and acts of violence, whereas marijuana use reduces the likelihood of violent behavior (Hoaken, Peter, Stewart, 2003). This shows the obvious aggression that alcohol creates. About three million violent crimes occur each
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