Marijuana Legalization’s Costs

B Prompt: Now that you have read “Marijuana Legalization’s Costs Outweigh Its Benefits” and “Marijuana Regulation Works and Prohibition Fails” decide which side of the debate that you most agree with. Writing Prompt Write your argumentative essay ( choose a position or side and support it)in your own words, supporting one side of the debate in which you argue EITHER that the state of Georgia should legalize recreational marijuana usage OR that Georgia should continue to ban the usage of marijuana and punish those who break this law. Be sure to use information from both texts in your argumentative essay. Now write your argumentative essay. Be sure to:  Organize your ideas with an introduction, several body paragraphs and conclusion. ● Support your claim with logical reasoning and relevant evidence from the texts.  ● Acknowledge that there is another side besides yours in the argument. ● Organize the reasons and evidence logically.  ● Use words, phrases, and clauses to connect your ideas and to clarify the relationships among  ● claims, counterclaims, reasons, and evidence.  ● Establish and maintain a formal style.  ● Check your work for correct grammar, usage, capitalization, spelling, and punctuation  Story 1:  Marijuana Legalization’s Costs Outweigh Its Benefits Legalization will cause a tremendous increase in marijuana use. Based on the experience elsewhere, the number of users will double or triple. This means an additional 17 to 34 million young and adult users in the United States. Legalization will mean that marijuana businesses can promote their products and package them in attractive ways to increase their market share. Increased marijuana use will mean millions more damaged young people. Marijuana use can permanently impair brain development. Problem solving, concentration, motivation, and memory are negatively affected. Teens who use marijuana are more likely to engage in delinquent and dangerous behavior, and experience increased risk of schizophrenia and depression, including being three times more likely to have suicidal thoughts. Marijuana-using teens are more likely to have multiple sexual partners and engage in unsafe sex. Marijuana use accounts for tens of thousands of marijuana related complaints at emergency rooms throughout the United States each year. Over 99,000 are young people. Despite arguments by the drug culture to the contrary, marijuana is addictive. The levels of THC (marijuana’s psychoactive ingredient) have never been higher. This is a major factor why marijuana is the number one drug causing young people to enter treatment and why there has been a substantial increase in the people in treatment for marijuana dependence. Marijuana legalization means more drugged driving. Already, 13 percent of high school seniors said they drove after using marijuana while only 10 percent drove after having several drinks. Why run the risk of increasing marijuana use among young drivers? Employees who test positive for marijuana had 55 percent more industrial accidents and 85 percent more injuries and they had absenteeism rates 75 percent higher than those that tested negative. This damages our economy. The argument that we can tax and regulate marijuana and derive income from it is false. The increased use will increase the multitude of costs that come with marijuana use. The costs from health and mental wellness problems, accidents, and damage to our economic productivity will far out strip any tax obtained. Our economy is suffering. The last thing we need is the burden that legalization will put on us   Story 2:   Marijuana Regulation Works and Prohibition Fails A majority of Americans espouse ending America’s nearly century-long, failed experiment with cannabis prohibition and replacing it with a system of limited legalization and regulation. Recent national polls by Gallup, Rasmussen, The Huffington Post, and Angus Reid show that more Americans now support legalizing the adult use of cannabis than support maintaining its prohibition. In two states, Colorado and Washington, ballot measures to allow for the limited possession and distribution of cannabis by adults are ahead in the polls by double digit leads. In Colorado, pot is more popular than either of the two leading presidential candidates. Come November 7, voters in one, if not two, U.S. states will have decided in favor of legally regulating cannabis. Why? The answer is clear: regulation works; prohibition fails. Since 1965, the FBI reports that U.S. law enforcement have made over 22 million arrests for marijuana violations. Yet cannabis consumption and the public’s access to pot remain undeterred. Cannabis prohibition financially burdens taxpayers, encroaches upon civil liberties, engenders disrespect for the law, impedes upon legitimate scientific research into the plant’s medicinal properties, and disproportionately impacts communities of color. It’s time to stop stigmatizing and criminalizing tens of millions of Americans for choosing to consume a substance that is safer than either tobacco or alcohol. How much safer? A 2009 study estimated that health-related costs per user are eight times higher for drinkers of alcoholic beverages—and more than 40 times higher for tobacco smokers—than they are for those who consume cannabis. Inhaling cannabis temporarily alters a person’s mood and may pose other potential risks to health. However, a pragmatic regulatory framework that allows for limited, licensed production and sale of cannabis to adults—but restricts use among young people—would best reduce risks associated with its use or abuse. Just look at America’s contemporary experience with tobacco, a legally marketed but deadly recreational drug. Teen use of cigarettes has recently fallen to its lowest levels in decades. Conversely, young people’s self-reported use of cannabis is rising and has now surpassed the number of teens consuming tobacco. Why the disparate trends? Simple. In short, it’s legalization, regulation and public education—coupled with the enforcement of age restrictions—that most effectively keeps mind-altering substances out of the hands of children.

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