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Hot Button: Legalize Marijuana?

Dispensing medical marijuana in vending machines may be legal in California, but should we legalize marijuana all together? While some states support medical marijuana, no state has moved for a general legalization despite widespread use and general ambivalence. Even politicians fess up to smoking pot like it's no big deal. So why does the US government take such a zero-tolerance stance on marijuana?

Common arguments made by the different sides of the debate include:

For legalization:

  • Marijuana is not more harmful than alcohol.
  • Legalization would lower drug prices and thus reduce crime.
  • Drug dealers would lose business.
  • Drug busts trap people in a system that turns them into lifelong criminals.

For arguments against,


Against legalization:

  • Marijuana is a gateway drug.
  • Marijuana causes physical damage.
  • Drugs are morally wrong.
  • Drug-related arrests get dangerous people off the streets.

Also, Check out this interesting collection of opinions — by psychiatrists, historians, scientists, etc. — on the subject. What do you think about legalizing pot?


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