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The sample example is an argumentative essay for English class.
Legalization of Marijuana in all the States
Washington DC and Colorado were the first US states to vote for the legalization of recreational marijuana in 2012. Amendment 64 added onto Section 16 of Article 18 in the State of Colorado Constitution the liberalization of recreational and medicinal use of marijuana. A similar amendment in Washington DC, dubbed I-502 “legalized the possession, production, and retail sale of marijuana” (Makin et al., 2019). Consequently, it has not been illegal for adults aged above 21 years to possess and consume marijuana in these states. While the legalization directive in Colorado allows adults above 21 years to grow up to six cannabis plants, Washington DC residents are prohibited to cultivate this plant in their homes.
The main agenda in the legalization of cannabis in the two states was the decriminalization of marijuana use and possession, a move that would allow the police to allocate resources to handling other crimes (Makin et al., 2019). Other arguments for the legalization of marijuana have been medical use, commercial benefits, and the elimination of racial discrimination in the United States. Although the rate of arrests and incarceration of crimes related to marijuana use have drastically reduced in Washington DC and Colorado (Makin et al., 2019), the use of this herb results in high cardiovascular morbidity, increased rate of traffic accidents among users, and a high prevalence of emergency medical and mental cases attributable to marijuana. It means, therefore, it would not be appropriate to legalize marijuana in the states since this move would amplify the negative effects observed at the state level.
A section of proponents of marijuana legalization cites the medical benefits of this drug. Despite scholarly evidence negating the presence of known benefits of this substance, it is widely noted that the self-reported effect of this drug alleviates pain and diminishes suffering in patients with terminal illnesses (Caulkins et al., 2015). While these perceived benefits have a strong correlation with the use of marijuana, it is impossible to quantify their overall positive impact as compared to measurable negative outcomes like psychosis, cardiovascular illnesses, and cannabinoid hyperemesis syndrome (Shelton et al., 2020).
Cardiovascular conditions result in high mortality every year. The majority of these conditions emanate from an unhealthy diet that disturbs the normal metabolism in the body. However, data from research on the relationship between cannabis use and the development of heart diseases shows that over 2 million Americans with cardiovascular disease have a history of consuming marijuana. Some of the biochemical processes involved in cannabinoid cardiotoxicity are heart failure due to increased myocardial demand for oxygen, sympathetic activation of vascular muscles leading to hypertension, platelet activation, and increased low-density lipoprotein (DeFillipis et al., 2020).
The consumption of marijuana in various forms is higher in states where the drug is legal than in those that have legalized it. According to Steigerwald et al. (2018), “the prevalence of marijuana use in the past year was 20% in states where recreational use is legal, 14.1% in states where medical use is legal, and 12% in states where no use is legal.” The trend is the same regardless of where users consume cannabis vapor, cigarettes, or edibles. In states where the drug is legal, Shelton et al. (2020) note that the number of emergency department (ED) visits related to its use is higher than where it is not legal. Most patients that report to the ED after consuming the substance complain of intoxication, psychiatric conditions, and gastrointestinal problems (Shelton et al., 2020). The drug exacerbates chronic mental problems like depression or triggers acute conditions such as panic attacks, suicidal thoughts, and psychosis. Road traffic accidents caused by motorists driving under the influence of marijuana can also lead to severe injuries that usually land in the hospital EDs.
The data gathered from the various states that have already legalized marijuana for medical and recreational use shows that the criminological targets of these initiatives have been realized. In other words, police have been able to reallocate resources to more serious crimes like murder and street violence. Consequently, the clearance rates of such crimes have improved compared to the period before the legalization of marijuana (Makin et al., 2019). Proponents of legalization will argue that a nationwide liberalization of marijuana will translate to a significant reduction of crime at the national level. However, a careful cost-benefit analysis shows that the nation will have more mentally and physically incapacitated individuals, a factor that will tremendously lower the productivity of the national workforce as well as increase the healthcare budget.
In conclusion, legalizing marijuana in all states is not a prudent move for the government to take. At the moment, it is not possible to quantify the benefits that states such as Colorado and Washington DC have realized after legalizing the drug. However, data on the morbidity associated with widespread marijuana use is available through various studies. It follows, therefore, that legalizing the substance at the national level will amplify both the perceived benefits as well as the observable harms, resulting in a high number of people with cardiovascular illnesses, gastrointestinal problems, injuries sustained during motor vehicle accidents, and mental conditions like psychosis. Cost-benefit analysis of the legalization of marijuana should instead inform the states where its use is legal to tighten the control protocols or suspend the legalization altogether.