The legalization of marijuana has been proven to be one of the most controversial issues lately. An ambiguous description of this controversy as it is often given in the media is that it is a war between the moral god-fearing Christian, and the no-good “pothead”. This, however, could not be farther from the truth. Both arguments are legitimate, in fact, they are too legitimate. Since right now marijuana is illegal, and the “pothead” side of the debate cannot surpass equality with the “Christian” side, change in the near future does not seem promising. Gangs, violence, racketeering, all of these terms are associated with narcotics. If marijuana was legalized, then the black market and violence would be significantly decreased. People who use marijuana would not be put at as much risk. And wasn’t public safety one of the main concerns of this law? Contrary to popular belief the legalization of marijuana will not cause widespread acceptance of its use by any means. The end of prohibition did not make the town drunkard any more respectable, why would this have a different effect. Those who are against use of marijuana will not suddenly turn to the “dark side” because it is now legal. Since marijuana is not more harmful or addictive than tobacco or alcohol, it should be placed in the same category. As for the notion that the outlawing of marijuana decreases its use is absolutely ridiculous. The very fact that users have to buy marijuana illegally makes it easier to obtain. The government has no tax on it and the cost is determined by many sources, all of which are competing against each other making the prices lower. As for the legal aspect, the law against marijuana use is difficult to enforce and often not enforced at all. To most people marijuana use has become comparable to a speeding ticket. The health risks in involved in smoking marijuana are slow brain function, risk of cancer, and impaired judgment. Not too bad when compared to the long list of diseases that are caused by tobacco. Besides isn’t freedom of choice one of the most cherished mottos of our great country? If a drunk wants to stumble around in a daze, and a chain-smoker wants to destroy their lungs, why can’t we use marijuana? Every drug, in spite of its legal status, has those that abuse it. That does not mean that everybody that uses the drug will abuse it. Alcoholic beverages are served everywhere, and most people drink occasionally, that doesn’t mean that everybody who drinks is an alcoholic. Adults make their own choices about tobacco and alcohol, well aware of the risks, so they should also make their own choices about marijuana use. Marijuana should be legalized, but only for those over 18. An argument against legalization is that Christians believe the body is a temple of God and it is unholy to fill the body with toxins of any kind. What do you call wine? Jesus drank wine. Was he unholy? What about Tylenol? Nyquil? All of these are toxins but we don’t get arrested for taking Tylenol when we have a headache. If you believe that you shouldn’t put toxins in your body then don’t. But preventing another person from doing so is infringing on their freedom of choice. Another point is that individuals over 18 are not responsible enough to make a responsible decision when it comes to marijuana. At eighteen males can be drafted, you are a legal adult, you are allowed to voice your opinion in democratic elections, you can smoke cigarettes, but the use of marijuana is too big of a decision. We can put our country into the hands of eighteen year olds who are fighting in our military and voting for our leaders, but they can’t be trusted with the simple choice of using drugs. That doesn’t make any sense. The legalization of marijuana for those who are over eighteen will also make it more difficult for younger children to use. The sale of marijuana can be monitored and taxed by the government. The legalization of marijuana will allow the government to place a tax on it and lower the national debt. Although some argue that this will increase addiction and increase the need for rehabilitation programs, this will not come at the cost of taxpayers. First of all I have had the unfortunate opportunity to visit a rehabilitation center, and found that there was not one person who was trying to beat a marijuana addiction. I listened to the sob stories in the NA and AA meetings and not one person had one about marijuana. Oh, there were plenty of alcoholics who had never done another drug in there lives, but not one that was solely a marijuana user. The controversy surrounding marijuana has turned into a one-sided propaganda war. Television and radio are now polluted with ads promoting the continued outlawing of marijuana portraying only one side of the argument. This is understandable as a public support of the legalization of marijuana would be the death nail in any network or even cable channel. It is ironic that channels like MTV who’s main audience is entertained by Beavis and Butthead and who’s most popular songs contain lyrics with drug references, violence, and sex would host a slew of anti-drug commercials. The fight for legalization of marijuana has been reduced to an underground idea that will not gain mainstream attention unless it is backed by a media outlet that has the “balls” to back it. Thus, I fear that this issue will never be properly confronted and will remain in the subtext of drug culture forever.