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Marijuana Legalization for Medical Use Only

Discount Medical Marijuana - 2 by User:ODea is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.
“Discount Medical Marijuana – 2” by User:O’Dea is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0.

Medical marijuana is a treatment to help cancer patients with side effects, including pain, anxiety, and appetite. Medical marijuana benefits cancer patients and is regulated by physicians who are certified to prescribe it, therefore, it should be legalized. Recreational marijuana is not intended for the average person and its production isn’t controlled, so it should be illegal.

Opposers who support the full legalization of marijuana claim that the drug is relatively harmless. Marijuana’s health effects include addiction, dulled reflexes, damage to the nervous system, reduced fertility, and many more. Although these aren’t significant, marijuana is considered by many to be a gateway drug. Dr. Steven Wagner worked at Cancer Treatment Centers of America and often saw marijuana being used in patients. He also considers it to be a gateway drug for those who aren’t being prescribed it medically. Dr. Steven Wagner explained, “The fear is that people will develop a tolerance and then will look for those stronger drugs.” More powerful drugs have life-threatening consequences such as liver, kidney, or heart problems, cancer, overdose, damage to blood vessels, and more.

Opposers also claim that full legalization will curtail the black market in the drug that causes violence and crime. Dr. Wagner considered the opposing viewpoint. He stated, “People that are addicted will break laws to try and it, so it reduces crime.” However, it can cause other dangers, such as driving under the influence. When under the

influence of marijuana, a person’s perception is skewed, which can cause accidents when driving. Dr. Wagner agreed. He explained, “You could be smoking it all day, and if you get into an accident, there is no way to quantify it.” Dr. Wagner later goes on to say, “That’s what the states are having trouble with; regulating it.”

New Jersey fully legalized marijuana in 2021. Maddalena Karr, a high school sophomore living in New Jersey, doesn’t agree with the decision. She believes it should be legalized for medical purposes only. When asked what changes she has noticed, she said, “There’s a lot more stores and dispensaries.” According to Statista, the average price per ounce of marijuana from dispensaries in New Jersey is $298.92. These stores are often too expensive for marijuana users, so they turn to cheaper, less secure ways of getting it. Dr. Wagner noted, “If it’s legal everywhere and everyone can sell it, you don’t know what you’re getting. It could be laced.”

Karr is also concerned about the impact marijuana legalization will have on the younger generations. She explained, “If they see people older than they do it, then they think that it’s ok, and they can do it too.” She has seen behavioral effects in her loved ones who use marijuana, and she doesn’t want younger people to be impacted.

Kids must be educated about marijuana and all harmful drugs at middle school age. This will make them aware of the drugs’ impacts so they are deterred from it as they get older. Marijuana should be legalized for medical purposes only, and recreational use shouldn’t be legal.


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About the Contributor
Jacqueline Wagner, Student Writer
Jacqueline Wagner, Grade 12. Interests/hobbies include dance, Mini-THON, Link Crew, executive council, Formula 1, drawing, writing, and spending time with friends and family. Jacqueline's goals include going to college to major in communications.

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