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Why should marijuana be legalized It has many valuable medical uses is relatively safe and prohibition of the drug not only is ineffective its costly and dangerous In the past year 20 million Americans have used marijuana and 11 million continue to do so regularly Marijuana is one of the most popular recreational drugs ranking right behind alcohol and tobacco two substances scientifically regarded as more hazardous Marijuana is far less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco Around 50000 people die each year from alcohol poisoning Similarly more than 400000 deaths each year are attributed to tobacco smoking By comparison marijuana is non-toxic and cannot cause death by overdose NORML 2002 Many myths circulate about the safety of marijuana such that it causes brain damage it impairs the immune system it lowers sperm counts and that it leads to use of more harmful drugs All of these claims are false Based on experiments conducted on monkeys researchers found that animals when exposed to tetrahydrocannabinol the active ingredient in marijuana also known as THC would be adversely affected in learning memory and have more diseases However it took up to 1000x the dosage needed to produce a psychoactive effect get highstoned to produce any adverse reactions In 100-200x the dosage there was still no negative effect recorded A 1988 study even showed an increase in immune efficiency when exposed to marijuana In several field studies marijuana use in males and females reported no decrease in hormone levels or sperm counts and no fertility problems whatsoever Earlier results of studies that stated that it was harmful to reproductive purposes could not be replicated in lab and field studies One of the beliefs that keeps marijuana illegal is that using marijuana will have a gateway effect increasing use of harsher drugs such as cocaine heroine and LSD Studies show that most users of marijuana never use another illegal drug In the Netherlands where marijuana use among young people
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