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Unlawful or Unconstitutional?  
Ron Kappy

….Another man who did extensive research on how marijuana effects human health was Dr.Lester Grinspoon, MD (associate clinical professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School). The following are Dr.Grinspoon’s conclusions:

  1. Marijuana is not physically or mentally addictive and there is no evidence that it leads to narcotic use.

  2. Marijuana in and of itself is not criminogenic (it doesn’t provoke a criminal type of behavior or attitude).

  3. ‘Getting high’ does not lead to any kind of sexual deviation.

  4. Under ordinary circumstances, marijuana use does not lead to psychoses

  5. There is no evidence that marijuana use leads to any brain or cellular damage

  6. No proof exists that marijuana usage leads to any personality disorders (Street 1983)

Although most of the current research is disproving some of the fallacies about marijuana, there are still some detrimental effects that can not be refuted. As with any drug (including alcohol) marijuana would pose a serious threat to pregnant women, automobile drivers, train operators, airline pilots and people operating heavy machinery.

Also, since today’s marijuana cigarette is approximately  20 times as strong as its ancestor in the 60’s (THC content in the sixties was approximately .5% where today it’s 10%). It is obviously more harmful than the average tobacco cigarette (Miner 1990). This doesn’t necessarily mean that marijuana is much worse than cigarettes, however, because although one joint is worse individually, cigarettes and alcohol are actually much more habit forming than marijuana. Also alcoholics and cigarette smokers build up a tolerance, causing them too consume much more of their respective substances, where as research indicates no known tolerance build up to marijuana (Malone 1990). 

Although there is a great deal of controversy surrounding the harmful effects of marijuana use, modern medicine is starting to realize the therapeutic benefits that the drug could have in society. The following are some of the ways in which marijuana is used medicinally:

  1. It is used to help relieve glaucoma patients.

  2. Helps relieve pain suffered by cancer patients.

  3. Stimulates the appetite and reduces nausea associated with chemotherapy patients.

  4. Can possibly relieve bronchial asthma.

  5. Helps induce sleep (Street 1983).

Aside from medical treatments, other people find that marijuana is effective in stimulating certain aspects of their lives, as in Amanda’s case. Other people believe that it helps them deal with personal problems, as in the case of Monique. Monique is a stockbroker on Wall Street and she claims that she smokes ‘pot’, because it relieves ‘tortuous menstrual cramps’, and helps her fall asleep when she suffers insomnia (Malone 1990). A study done by doctor James A Cocores discovered that many women find that marijuana helps them introspectively, that is to say it helps them in analyzing themselves and their relationships (Malone 1990).

And aside from the health aspect of marijuana, it is the economic issue which also must be discussed. Obviously, since the number of marijuana users is so high, the current set of laws governing the drug are not very effective. The current system of laws seems to support quite a large (multi-billion dollar) underground network of traffickers and users. If these laws were reformed, however, to support decriminalization, it could mean a tremendous boost to the economy at both the state and national levels. Decriminalization would ‘breath new life’ into many agricultural jobs as well as jobs in quality control, research and inspections (Street 1983).

Next update….closing arguments.  

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