Sunday, November 4, 2007

Down the Line

This blog is starting to wind down and there is one final conclusion I can make regarding legalizing marijuana. The only foreseeable way for marijuana to be legalized is for it to only be legal to those who use it for medical purposes. As Americans, we are not ready for the type of change that full legalization will bring. Maybe 10, 20, or even 50 years down the line, America will be accepting and open enough to allow for marijuana to be legalized, but the only way this plateau will ever be reached is by first inducing a sympathetic argument for those who use marijuana medically.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Self Analysis

After delving into the issue of legalizing marijuana, many things have been realized in the process of my work. Since I have been using mainly internet sources, the credibility of my sources has been a focus of mine. When dealing with an issue as marijuana, the perception given is that the topic is not serious. Therefore you find sites that are not backed by credible information, and even if they are well supported academic sites they can still be viewed as not credible. I have realized that the only sites you can use for medical marijuana that have merit are strictly medical sites like the AMA. By using these credible sources, your blog becomes significantly more revered which makes you look more like this rather than this.
When people argue, they want to make the issue into two sides. I’ve realized that there are many shades of gray in argumentation and the only way to use arguments like these are to acknowledge the other sides. One significant point that has shades of gray when talking about legalizing marijuana is the effects of legalization on crime deterrence. Since an argumentative point like crime deterrence has can only be projected since nothing like legalization has ever happened, studies will show that it won’t have a significant impact on legalization while some will argue that legalization will set poor model for the youth of America thus increasing crime. Very few times in argumentation are there clear cut sides, so you have to stay consistent with your argument.
My stance on legalizing marijuana has not changed, but the six-lane highway that I was once on has turned into a two lane road. By that I mean before starting this blog, I was blindly set on legalizing marijuana. After studying more in depth on medical marijuana, I have focused my opinion strictly on legalizing marijuana for those patients recommended medical use. This blog has forced me to become more focused in my arguments and stances and in this case going from a wide stance of total legalization to a regulatory stance for medical marijuana.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Extended Reading

When you first look at the topic of legalizing marijuana, there are many things to consider whether it be for personal use, medicinal use, industrial use, health risks, etc. Two sites that are comprehensive in many aspects of marijuana are NORML and MJLegal. Both sites will get a reader who is new to the topic a comprehensive introduction to and an overview of the topic. You will find objective information which will allow any reader to be able to decide a stance on the legalization of marijuana.
If you wish to focus more on the medicinal uses of marijuana in more detail then there are many sites to do that. The American Medical Association( AMA) gives information regarding the health aspects, diseases with which marijuana can be used as treatment, as well as information regarding pharmaceutical drugs made with marijuana.
The criminal aspects of legalizing marijuana are often spoken about when legalization is talked about. Crime deterrence and money spent on enforcing marijuana laws are topics which pro legalization supporters harp upon because of the efficiency that legalization could cause in our police systems. Those not supporting legalization will cite that it will lead to other drugs as well as set a poor model for the youth of America, both causing crime to increase. You as the reader must take this information and decide for yourself whether legalizing marijuana, specifically medical marijuana, is good for the country. I can only show you the way through these websites; you have to take that step

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Class Links

I really appreciate those that read my blog. If you like my blog , you will be interested in or at least appreciate the following blogs.
This blog expresses another viewpoint on the legalization of marijuana. The writer who is also in favor of legalization of marijuana is interested in the medicinal purposes of marijuana like me. However, she focuses on the drugs that can be made from marijuana and then used medicinally. Her blog is worth visiting to see the other side of medical marijuana. I think that less focus should be on the regulation of marijuana if it was legalized for medicinal use where she thinks that marijuana should be regulated to the point where only drugs made from marijuana should be legalized. Not only does she provide an objective view, but it’s backed by quality sources with a visually appealing layout for an enjoyable blog experience.
This blog focuses on the separation of church and state which is an interesting argument that can be related to marijuana laws being influenced by a conservative religious influenced governing body. The writer says that it’s time to accept that our country was built on religious values and influences, but that our country is not regulated and defined by one set of values. The writer does an excellent job of diffusing the situation which can be a heated argument because many still believe that through prayer in school , etc. , our country is still regulated by religious values.
Alcohol101’s blog focuses on lowering the drinking age to 18. This blog is worth visiting to see how deep an argument can be defined. He has stated that if the drinking age was lowered to 18 that certain regulations would have to come with it, mainly an increase in penalties for drunk drivers. He analyzes the issue on many different levels, He states broadly first that the drinking age should be lowered. He then follows up with saying that the 21 year old drinking age is limiting Americans rights and that this is wrong. He concludes by saying safety is the most important thing and that an increase in penalties for drunk driving and a lowering of the drinking age will accomplish the previous arguments of not letting the government limit our freedoms and keeping safety a priority.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Implications Post

The movement for the legalization of medical marijuana is constantly growing and won’t hit its zenith until it is actually legalized. The medical marijuana debate hinges on whether more marijuana medicines for AIDS and cancer patients can be studied and developed. Legislators will be forced to act if more studies on the positive effects of marijuana on AIDS or cancers are published. The first probable step for legalization would be to legalize marijuana for patients who have doctor’s recommendation only. This restriction could eventually be loosened to the point where marijuana is sold in pharmacies to people that are 21 and older in a similar fashion as tobacco and alcohol are.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Theory Post

Medical marijuana is an establishment that is hard to discredit as far as its medical purposes and clout that has been gained through testing. However, the potential restrictions, regulations, and guidelines that would follow legalization for medical marijuana is as divided as the Mason-Dixon. The central regulation that defines the medical argument is whether it should only be legal to those with physician’s consent. Pessimists might say that those who choose to use marijuana medically would deny conventional western medicine for marijuana when the choice was presented to them. Creating a legal option for patients who have been recommended marijuana as a medicine by their physician is only justice to those patients who have been denied medicine for the last thirty years. Also the potential revenue from medical marijuana is eleven figures, which is a substantial amount. The only significant drawback could come from the honor system that’s instilled between patients and physicians. A potential market could develop from physicians who sell recommendations to personal users as well as medically prescribed users. We as Americans can only hope that lawmakers can see the benefits of legalizing medical marijuana for those with physician’s consent outweighing the potential abuse from the morally casual in America.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Pick your Poison, one's Legal and one isn't

Many Americans have vices/ habits that are hard to deviate from. Some choose food, gambling, alcohol, or sex. Some choose marijuana or tobacco. Those that choose the latter will take on health risks but the two main differences between marijuana and tobacco are that: 1) tobacco is legal , 2) tobacco is more harmful. Effects of marijuana on the body are listed as: increased heart rate, slowed neuron processing, respiratory problems, and decreased immune system awareness. When compared to tobacco, the health effects of marijuana seem insignificant. Cigarettes alone have been linked to asthma, heart disease, lung cancer, emphysema, and the list goes on. Chewing tobacco causes cancer in the mouth and gums. The cigarette companies have the audacity, though somewhat forced by the government, to put labels saying these products cause cancer and yet the government still allows cigarettes to be sold where marijuana is not legally sold. There is also no proven positive medical use of cigarettes which begs the question “Why are cigarettes legal and marijuana isn’t?”

Friday, October 19, 2007

California Setting a Good Model for other States

California has an active and liberal focus on medical marijuana. The proposition 215 bill passed in 1996 gave weight to the medical marijuana field by allowing medical marijuana to be distributed by physicians and allowing patients to have it. The passing of proposition 215 allowed for scientific and medical development to occur . This has resulted in more than 250 illnesses being researched and approved for use medicinally with marijuana. The freedom shown from the California legislative branch sets precedence for future legislation whether it be federal or state level lawmakers.

Robert Randall, Father of the medicinal movement

One of the ways that marijuana is most likely to be legalized is by having its medicinal use publicized to a greater extent. One of the easiest ways to sway support is to bring a sympathy appeal and cause civilians, lobbyists, and congressmen and women to empathize with those who use marijuana medicinally. The first real publicized event associated with medicinal marijuana use was when Robert Randall became the first person to receive medical marijuana from the government in 1976. The Food and Drug Administration deemed marijuana a necessity for the prolonging of his sight which had be crippled by glaucoma. This one man had swayed the opinions of lawmakers in the federal government enough to where they recognized the necessity of marijuana in medical fields. Randall also was key in the development of California’s proposition 215, which allowed for the cultivation of marijuana with a doctor’s recommendation. Positive change can be obtained for legalization efforts if its medicinal purposes are the forefront of the pro-legalization argument.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Analysis Post

Legalizing marijuana is a topic with many few shades of gray because people in America are not only pro-legalization or pro-drug enforcement but can view legalization in a couple ways. The two main avenues that this argument walks is first whether it should be decriminalized and if it is decriminalized then should it be legalized in America. Legalization makes Americans who consider it question many aspects of their life like religion, morals, and family while considering the bigger picture of government, freedoms and medicine.

As history has shown, the American government has approached legalization of marijuana first by considering decriminalizing it. In 1972, The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse acknowledged that there could be problems with continued use of marijuana, but insisted that decriminalization was the best option. Oregon decriminalized marijuana in 1973. In 1977, President Jimmy Carter stated that," Congress should immediately move towards decriminalization."Even as recent as 2005, the city of Denver has decriminalized up to and ounce of marijuana for personal use. The evidence that decriminalization is possible is all publicized and well documented.

Even though decriminalization has been brought to light, most in favor want to take a step forward towards legalization. People in favor or legalization of marijuana cite many positives that could stem from it. If marijuana was taxed and regulated like alcohol, it would produce savings and tax revenues between 10 and $14 billion. The money spent by police enforcement could be allocated to more serious crimes. Also, since 90% of marijuana related arrests are of users, you could save more money by not having to house users in prisons. Prohibition of marijuana does not lead to deterrence of its use which is an argument that is highly publicized by the DPNA. Thus if money spent on deterrence from enforcement or education was reallocated towards other areas of police or governing, the government would be using its money more efficiently.

Marijuana legalization would also make it easier to obtain marijuana for those who use it medicinally. Marijuana has been said by the American Medical Marijuana Association as well as the American Medical Association that its medicinal purposes are undeniable particularly for muscular disorders and glaucoma. Right now, medical marijuana is hindered by federal laws that conflict with state laws as in California which allow for the use of medical marijuana.

Those in favor of legalization often state that prohibition is limiting their rights as Americans to freedom of expression. America was founded on the freedoms that Americans enjoy and by prohibiting an action that more than 10 million Americans practice, the government is destroying those ideals. Also, they see marijuana in a similar situation that alcohol was in the earlier 1900s when prohibition limited the rights to alcohol. Marijuana is a less addictive drug and less harmful than alcohol and yet it is still legalized and marijuana is not.

When the other side of legalization, a pro-drug enforcement and anti-legalization stance, is presented, religion, morality, and the future of Americans are the issues that are questioned. Those not in favor of legalization cite that their faith leads them to stray from marijuana which has negative connotation associated with it as well as being likened to the devil. Also, many religions are against intoxication of any kind which comes with marijuana. They also support the studies that show marijuana as a gateway drug which is related to the future of children in America. Many studies say that children ages 12-17 are incredibly likely to try other drugs that are considered more dangerous like cocaine and heroine.
Another argument that is associated with legalization is the morality of marijuana. The message America would be sending children by allowing the sale of a substance that was once banned shows large contradiction. There is a huge negative stigma associated with marijuana and government propaganda like by presidents and congress has made marijuana a low point on the scale of morality. Legalizing marijuana is an anti-establishment type of movement and Americans are slow to change.

When summing up pro legalization and anti legalization sides, other questions, doubts, and thoughts come to mind. For instance, when arguing a religious backing for either side, should religion affect drug policies made by the federal government? This seems to be a conflict of the church and state division which is one of the major issues that was addressed when America was founded. Another idea that could cause friction is whose set of morals should the government stand by. Since the country is generally divided down the middle politically and are affected regionally by externalities like money, religion, and ethnicity, who is to say what morals should be a standard for America. The thought by most pro legalization supporters is that if legalized, at least people are given a chance to choose whether they embrace marijuana instead of the current situation where there is no chance to accept marijuana because of the laws against it.

Legalization of marijuana is a hotbed topic among Americans today. Whether America leans towards pro-legalization or anti-legalization, a consensus will never be drawn on issues related to morality, religion, medicinal use, or crime deterrence.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Mile "High" City

One of the most publicized events associated with legalizing marijuana came when in Denver, Colorado in 2005, up to an ounce of marijuana was legal for 21 year olds and up. More cities should follow the actions of Denver. Denver’s police force along with other cities like Seattle and Oakland has deemed marijuana the lowest priority for police enforcement. I believe this is extremely important for these cities to set precedence towards decreasing enforcement on marijuana and increasing enforcement on more detrimental crimes. The problem that still lies in Colorado is that it is legal in Denver, but as far as state constitutions go, it is illegal. If more prominent cities would legalize or decriminalize marijuana to some degree, the marijuana legalization movement could take off nationally. This could eliminate the contradictory and confusion created by differing municipal, state, and national governments on marijuana.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Inequities of Regulation

Marijuana has been identified as a substance that can be used for medicinal purposes since the mid 1880s. When the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1941, the American Medical Association (AMA) was one of the most vocal protestors of the ban because of the obvious medical purposes of marijuana (NORML). It’s the only true medicine used to treat some rare muscular diseases and glaucoma. Even with the proven scientific research and support for marijuana medically, it is not regulated the same was as other blackballed substances like tobacco and alcohol. Tobacco and alcohol have no medicinal purposes and have only been shown to cause damage to the body. Tobacco and alcohol are regulated and sold legally while marijuana is banned and has an unjustly greater negative connotation than that of alcohol and tobacco. It’s not fair for the government to be against regulating a product that has less medical drawbacks than that of products in a similar class.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Winless War Against Deterrence

Legalizing marijuana is hindered by those who think that decriminalizing marijuana will increase the use of marijuana in America. There is actually no relationship between increases in enforcement of marijuana laws and deterring use of marijuana. Most users also feel that they are a part of a massive body of users and that they are insignificant in the eyes of enforcement. Most marijuana users will continue their use of marijuana even after previous arrests and citations. When increasing enforcement of the current marijuana laws, the government is not successful in its target goal of curbing marijuana use. As long as the government continues to publicize that the main goal in drug regulation is to prevent or curb the use of marijuana in America, they will be lying to Americans and restricting their freedoms in the process.