Will the legalization of certain drugs reduce the crime rate in the UnitedStates? This question has baffled United States lawmakers, reformists, andcitizens alike for so long that many people probably consider it a rhetoricalquestion. With this in mind, I think that the only solution would be to go tothe research and see what studies would say about the dilemma. For thisparticular paper, I found some research that looked at the legalization ofmarijuana in the United States, and I think for all intensive purposes, it isthe best drug to discuss in respect to legalization anyway. To be completelyhonest, I think that marijuana should be legalized in our country. That is justa personal opinion, that Im sure is shared by the majority of kids that aremy age as well.
But, personally I do not use marijuana for medical or medicinalpurposes, but at least fifty percent of the people that I associate with do useit so I am familiar with it. One of the reasons that I think it should belegalized is the fact that alcohol is legal. In all of my experiences with thetwo drugs, I believe that the effects of alcohol definitely outweigh those ofmarijuana. Lets just say that I would much rather be on the highway withsomeone who is stoned on pot than to be on the highway with someone that isreally drunk. I also think that legalizing marijuana would cause the supply anddemand to shift and the price would plummet, alleviating the need of some to roband kill for enough money to support their habit. I could argue my point forparagraphs, but instead, I will see what research says about it, and who knows,I may change my mind.
The article that I used for this paper came from the June1998 issue of The Journal of Legal Medicine. It is entitled Is the debate aSmoke Screen for Movement Toward Legalization. The author cites in thearticle an episode of the sitcom Murphy brown, where actress Candice Bergensmokes a joint on national television for medicinal purposes while sufferingfrom breast cancer. The author believes that the nationally televised sitcomendorsed a drug that has not been accepted by the FDA yet and that the event maybe a foreshadowing of the future of the drug in our country. In the article, theauthor posed the same question that we are faced with in this essay? The authorbelieves that before the US legalizes the drug, that they should look at anothercountrys experiences with crime where the drug is legal. In this particularcase, he uses Holland as a comparison.
The statistics that he found were veryshocking to me. The author of the article found that: between 1984 and 1992,marijuana use among males between the ages of 12 and 18 increased by 277percent. During this particular time; shootings increased 40 percent, carthefts increased 62 percent, and hold-ups increased 69 percent. Whether ornot these statistics can be proven to be due to the legalization of marijuana ishard to prove, but they definitely make one think about it. Also in the article,the author reveals that: 75 percent of criminal offenders in the UnitedStates believe that they were under some influence of marijuana at the time ofthe crime, and 7 percent of those who committed homicides believe their actionswere directly related to their use of marijuana. Although there are flaws onboth sides of the dispute, one of the strongest points to the anti-legalizationmovement is the argument that marijuana is a gateway drug which leads to the useof harder, more addictive drugs.
In this particular article, the author cites astudy in which out of all of the persons studied, 20 percent of persons whouse marijuana were three to ten times more likely to go on to use cocaine, and75 percent of persons who used marijuana 100 or more times later usedcocaine. Another strong argument is that if the US legalizes the drug formedicinal purposes, then it will precipitate the legalization of marijuana on ahigher scale, a more recreational scale. So, the only thing that I can concludeis that the legalization of marijuana is a very problematic dilemma that theUnited States has been faced with for many years. Both sides have considerablearguments, but there is still so much controversy and gray area that follows thesubject. Like most other Americans, I have a lot of difficulty taking eitherside.
I think that the only way to resolve the problem is to continue toresearch marijuana, its benefits and its dangers, and see which onesoutweigh the others. It is then and only then that lawmakers should make theirultimate decision about the fate of the drug in our country. BibliographyIs the Debate a Smoke Screen for Movement Toward Legalization? The Journal ofLegal Medicine. June, 1998##FOOTER##