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Legalization of Marijuana

             Legalization of Marijuana has quickly become a controversial issue in America. In the United States, legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes is spreading to the state level. For example, in November 1996, the people of California and Arizona voted to legalize marijuana for medicinal reasons. As a result of Proposition 215 in California, patients now smoke marijuana provided their physician recommends its usage. A prescription is not required, and marijuana continues to be illegal to prescribe.
             The Clinton administration responded that it "would not recognize these decisions, and would prosecute physicians who recommend or provide marijuana to their patients." Although California and Arizona are the only two states to have already passed laws regulating marijuana usage, twenty-six states and the District of Columbia have laws and resolutions regarding marijuana usage. These laws and resolutions range from establishing therapeutic research programs, to allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana, to asking the federal government to lift the ban. Despite the states" desires to have marijuana legalized for medicinal purposes, the US National Institutes of Health examined all existing clinical evidence about smoked marijuana and concluded that, "There is no scientifically sound evidence that smoked marijuana is medically superior to currently available therapies." Based on the conclusion made by the US National Institutes of Health, marijuana should remain illegal.
             Although it does have many medicinal benefits - including improving the appetite in chemotherapy and AIDS patients, reducing muscle spasms associated with epilepsy and multiple sclerosis, and alleviating eye pressure in glaucoma patients - there is no proof that marijuana is the most effective treatment. The main active ingredient in marijuana (THC) is already available in its legal form, Marinol; it does in fact have therapeutic applications; therefore, the whole substance of marijuana does not necessarily need to be legalized.

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