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Legalize It Essay

914 words - 4 pages

Ravi Patel
Legalize It

In 2000, George Bierson’s "Marijuana, the Deceptive Drug", was published by
the Massachusetts News. Bierson concludes that marijuana is harmful in many ways,
including brain damage, damage to the reproductive system, and weakening of the
immune system. He also attempts to convince the reader that marijuana is a "gateway
drug" that leads the users to venture into much harder drugs. I believe that research to
support anything can be found if one is looking hard enough, but that the fallacy of
Bierson’s conclusion is due to his ...view middle of the document...

One of the longest standing arguments against the use of marijuana is that it gives
users a "gateway" to harder or more illicit drug use. Bierson states in his article that
"Marijuana is the seed from which the scourge of drug abuse grows. If we stop the
marijuana, we will stop the rest of drug abuse". I have several issues with this statement:
first, the simple fact that many heroin and cocaine users used marijuana first does not
conclude that the latter is the result of the first. Correlation is not causality. Bierson’s
vehement argument against marijuana alone become suspect, as most of these heroin and
cocaine abusers had also previously used alcohol and tobacco. According to government
surveys, a conservative estimate of 80 million American have tried marijuana in their life,
and 20 million admit to using it recently; if marijuana were truly a gateway drug, we
would see a higher percentage of regular users. Instead we are seeing an even smaller
percentage of abusers of cocaine or heroin. In fact, most people who use marijuana most
often quit on their own before the age of 34. If anybody is still compelled to buy into the
"gateway" theory, a real-life example is available for all to see: In Holland, marijuana has
been partially decriminalized since the 1970's. Reports show that the use of cocaine and
heroin has significantly decreased, thus contradicting the hypothesis of marijuana as a
gateway drug. Instead, these statistics appear to point to the conclusion that marijuana is
more likely a substitute for harder drugs rather than a launching pad.
Streeter 3
While I do feel that Bierson has failed to present conclusive evidence of the
harmfulness of marijuana through the points made, it is not a proper statement to claim
that marijuana is "harmless" either. Even though the properties of marijuana have shown
not to be...

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