The general purpose of this speech is to inform the students about the issues affecting the legalization of marijuana.
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Specifically, the purpose of this speech is to educate the public most especially the students that legalization of marijuana is not the proper solution to our country’s drug problem.
I aim to share my researches to students so that they will become better informed that legalizing the use of marijuana does not promote the best interest of our country because it is addictive, it has adverse consequences to our health, and there is a strong association between its use and violent crimes.
Did you know that almost 20% of high school seniors smoke marijuana? Are you aware that 15 million Americans who are 12 years and older have used marijuana at least once in their lifetime? Did you know that there are 2-3 million new users of marijuana each year? This is the finding of Dr. Khalsa of the National Institute on Drug Abuse which was reported by Damian McNamara in his article entitled “Start marijuana use prevention efforts early.” Some say that if this drug problem cannot be stopped then we should just allow it and allow the government to earn from its sales.
Our country currently experiences a serious drug problem. Much of this problem is brought about by the lack of knowledge about its adverse effects. According to Dr. Khalsa, Ph.D., “Young people think this drug is innocuous and does not do much harm. Drug use goes up with this perception and down with the perception that it is dangerous.”
Some states seem to have ignored this drug problem. They have passed laws allowing the use of marijuana for medicinal use. In addition, citizens in some states have passed laws that provide for legalization of the use of marijuana as the treatment for some illness. It is my contention that legalizing the use of marijuana is not the proper solution to our drug problem.
Today, I aim to share with all of you the reasons why use and sale of marijuana should continue to be prohibited and criminalized. The following are the reasons for adopting this national policy:
The statistics and studies that I will cite are all founded on actual studies conducted by scientists, researchers and experts in this field. Some statements have been quoted from experts who have been studying the effects of marijuana for years. Journals have also been consulted such as Journal of Addictive Diseases and Journal of Drug Use as sources. They will prove to us that decriminalizing use and sale of marijuana will not promote the best interest our nation.
Effects of Legalizing Use of Marijuana
The first point that I would like to raise is that long-term use of marijuana is addictive. The user may at first be curious and use marijuana just for fun with friends its effect. Curiosity and experimentation may lead to its frequent use as he may think that it helps deal with stress like taking final exams or transferring to new apartment or place of employment. It is very likely that he may eventually use this drug to deal with everyday situations becoming dependent on it. Despite its effect, the user may become addicted to this drug. Studies show that its long-term use may be addictive to some people. According to a 2001 study conducted by National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, out of an estimated 5.6 million Americans aged 12 or older who reported problems with illicit drug use in the past year, 2 million of them met diagnostic criteria for dependence on marijuana. Some of you may say, so what if it is addictive.
That brings me to my second point. Use of Marijuana has adverse effects on our health. According to the National Institute on drug abuse, use of marijuana has been associated with problems that affect the brain which include “problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem-solving, loss of coordination and heart rate.” In another study, they found that the risk of heart attack more than quadruples in the first hour after smoking marijuana because of its effect on blood pressure, heart rate and reduced oxygen-carrying capacity of blood. Other studies have also found that users of marijuana regularly may experience the same respiratory problems that tobacco smokers do such as a daily cough and phlegm production, more frequent acute chest illness, a heightened risk of lung infections and a greater tendency of obstructed airways. These studies have been reported by the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Those who are in favor of legalization of marijuana say that regulating marijuana by imposing the sales tax on marijuana will be better for our country since it would funnel the currently unregulated money from marijuana sales to the government. In effect they are saying that if we cannot control the sale of marijuana in the black market then we should just legalize it outright and earn money from it. It that happens then we can expect crime rates to shoot up after legalizing use of marijuana.
According to a study conducted Alfred S. Friedman and Kimberly Glassman which was published in Journal for Addictive Studies in 2001, greater frequency of use of marijuana is associated with greater likelihood of committing weapons offenses. These studies say that only the use of alcohol has the same effect of increasing the tendency to commit violent crimes. Marijuana was also found to be associated with commission of Attempted Homicide/Reckless Endangerment Offenses. This means that allowing the use of marijuana for Americans will expose many of us to greater danger of being assaulted by a gun or a knife. Many of us may become victims of attempted homicide or incidences of Reckless Driving.
If long-term exposure to marijuana is very addictive for some person, has adverse effects on our health and increases the likelihood of violent behavior, then what benefit can it give to our nation? Clearly, legalizing marijuana by regulating its sale will not be beneficial for our nation’s interest.
Marijuana should not be legalized. I have discussed four important points which are all supported by studies and researches. These are the use of marijuana has been found to be very addictive, has adverse effects on our health, associated with violent criminal behavior and it does not benefit our country.
Clearly adopting the policy of toleration for its use simply because law enforcement officers cannot control this problem is like allowing your child to use drugs simply because he cannot be stopped from using it. We cannot ignore the physical, physiological, mental and social effects of marijuana. The solution, therefore, is to get the participation of parents, teachers, priests and ministers, and members of the society in the war against drugs. Law enforcement officers cannot do it alone. They need help from responsible members of the community so that this fight could be won.
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