By Michael Schmidt – Collegian Contributor
The movement fighting for the legalization of marijuana has been gaining steam. Already in California it is legal for a doctor to pre-scribe the drug to a patient for medicinal purposes. While opinions are leaning ever more towards legalization, many are still worried about adverse affects associated with cannabis use.
Advocates for ending the war on drugs will argue that there is no reason for marijuana to be illegal in the first place and that making it so is costly. Many cite the failed prohibition of alcohol as an example of how banning a substance can lead to the creation of organized crime. There are religious groups in which followers are instructed to smoke marijuana. It could be argued that people who are arrested for pot use are being punished for exercising their freedoms.
Critics of legalization often state that the drug causes more harm than good. Many see marijuana as a stepping stone for users to move on to harder drugs, such as heroin. There is also a fear that stoned driving would increase danger on the roads and that marijuana would be easier to fall into the hands of children. Although studies have been disputed, some state that widespread use could lead to physical dangers.
It seems ironic that both parties are essentially arguing for the same thing: improvement of the drug situation in the United States, although their manner of doing so completely differs. One side argues for legalization, while the other pushes for tighter regulation.