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Prohibition and Marijuana History Does Repeat Decriminalization or to not decriminalize That is the big question Will the decriminalization of marijuana be the next revolution of America Marijuana prohibition has been in effect since 1937 with trends that closely resemble those of alcohol prohibition-meaning an increase in crime distrust and dissension If the goal of marijuana prohibition is to stop Americans from using it then it has failed just like the other prohibition failed to make America a dry country It is important to go back and look at the factors leading to marijuana prohibition-especially the stages of exaggeration silence and the imposition of severe penalties-before looking at the effects of prohibition during the last half-century Let me first point out that I am an advocate of marijuana and will not argue that marijuana is not harmless Research shows that marijuana damages short term memory distorts perceptions impairs judgment and complex motor skills alters heart rates and has the potential to trigger severe anxiety paranoia and lethargy wwwndsncom Yet I also feel its effects are in many ways less harmful than those of alcohol and tobacco-for instance alcohols potential to cause cirrhosis and tobaccos links to lung cancer and heart disease Both are considered carcinogenic In addition alcohol is cited as a factor in half of this countrys highway fatalities half of all arrests made for any criminal charge-including homicides-and one-fourth of all suicides In 1972 the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse estimated the social costs of Americas alcohol habit to be 15 billion a year wwwndsncom it has steadily increased since then When comparing tobacco alcohol and marijuana there is strong evidence that marijuana has the least addictive power wwwperettocom However this does not hide the fact that all three can have a strong impact on an individual As with all drugs they are capable of disrupting home life affecting job performance and causing withdrawal from society In my
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