Legalization of Marijuana is a controversial topic, and like any other contentious subject, it faces a great number of support and opposition. According to Gerber, the drug was termed illegal from the early 1990s, but after the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 possession of marijuana was termed as a crime, as it was even used in the industries (Gerber14). With time, the American Medical Association (AMA) championed against the claims that marijuana causes insanity, and was not of the same level as opium and cocaine. Gerber argues that by 1969, the Marijuana Tax Act was declared unconstitutional and passed the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (Gerber 24). At the time President Nixon and later Reagan were on a war against drugs; thus, possession of marijuana had immense penalties on the peddlers (Gerber 78). From the above, it is warranted to argue that banning of marijuana was not based on facts, but on assumptions, and claims based on the benefits of certain personalities in the country. Therefore, marijuana should be legalized because it has medicinal use, it will reduce crime, and it will generate tax revenue and the facts for its prohibition are invalid.
Many people ask, why should marijuana be legalized? But the question being asked here is why should marijuana be illegal? First of all, there is no good reason as to why marijuana should not be legalized. Individuals deserve a right to make their own choices of what is fit for them to use and use it properly. The government only has a right to make choices on individual’s choices if they hurt other people or endanger other people’s lives. This should not be applied to marijuana because people using it, use it at their own will and also, marijuana is far much less dangerous compared to other drugs like tobacco and alcohol. Therefore, the government should not tell individuals what they should do as long as they are not harming other people, which is in the case of marijuana. There is no better reason that exists and provides support for not legalizing weed
One of the main reasons in support of the legalization of weed is from a medical point of view; marijuana is medicinal. Medicinal marijuana is the use of cannabis and its extracts as a remedy for curing or managing medical conditions. This form of medication has been in use since 2, 757 BC, and today continues to elicit mixed debates about its legalization, and subsequent use in medical institutions. The idea surrounding the legalization has been generating heated debates from all quarters. Despite documented evidences of the health benefits of marijuana, various governments around the world have delayed to give the issue a positive approach citing a lack of consistent scientific data to back up the claims (Califano 967). Opponents argue that this form of medication is obsolete, as there are improved and safer methods that can perform the same roles as marijuana. Besides, governments fear that upon its legalization, there is a high likelihood of abusing the substance, and this could further worsen one’s state of health. Opposition of this move also stems from the idea that since smoking is the cheapest way of using marijuana, users could resort to this method rather than the safer methods such as the use of vaporizers, and this could create smoke-related complications such cancer.
However, marijuana should be legalized because, there is overwhelming evidence that proves that indeed, marijuana relieves patients of certain forms of pains, vomiting, and other symptoms arising from other ailments such as cancer and AIDS (Gerber 59). Marijuana also cancels the side effects of the drugs used to treat or manage these ailments. Opponents assert that, smoked marijuana is dangerous; however, even though cannabis has been smoked in Western nations for several years, no cases of lung cancer have been attributed to cannabis. Gerber (67) affirms that. AIDS patients receiving cannabinoids had improved immune systems that those on regular medication, besides, the patients gained weight by up to 1. 8 kilograms (pp. 262). For this reason, marijuana should be legalized because of its medicinal use because it will help save many lives and cure a number of diseases.
In the opinion of Battle and Pinkstone, marijuana is indicated to be a leeway to harder drugs (liberty. edu). Goldstein continues to argue that, over 75% of the persons who use marijuana do not indulge in other hard drugs (liberty. edu). In any case, the leeway to drugs according to the ordinary view point would arguably be indicated to be alcohol, or any form of wine. In this case the government must change their focus and find other reasons for disqualifying marijuana. On the same line, the argument that marijuana is indicated to be addictive is not logical according to medical conclusions (Califano 967). Caffeine and alcohol is even indicated to be addictive; thus, the government must reform the arguments that marijuana is addictive, and should not be legalized. When marijuana is compared to other legal drugs like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana is significantly less harmful, yet a lot of focus is put on it leaving dangerous drugs untouched. For instance, cigarettes are said to be causing more than 400, 000 deaths each year, yet nothing is being done to prohibit cigarette smoking. In addition, both tobacco and alcohol are legal yet their impacts are very destructive on the lives of people compared to marijuana. Therefore, marijuana should be legalized because; it is not harmful to people’s health compared to alcohol and tobacco.
Legalizing of marijuana will also have a great impact in the social lives of people in regards to security and safety of people. Flister, argues that legalizing marijuana will greatly reduce the number of cases of drug gang violence (97). The legalization of marijuana will eliminate all marijuana crimes because, the marijuana business will no longer be considered as a criminal business. There will be no black market for marijuana as people of the required age will be allowed to purchase it in public. Moreover, people will use it responsibly because it will have no restrictions. The author further argues that this move will also reduce the number of deaths caused by illegal trade of marijuana. Flister also supports the legalization of marijuana will greatly increase the tax income of state governments (99). When marijuana is legalized, it will be taxed and this revenue collected could be used to fund other important programs that will be useful to the community, and the nation at large. Also, the money being spent to enforce marijuana laws will be spent somewhere else because, the government spends millions of dollars to enforce the control of the use and trafficking of marijuana, but with no results. It should be known that if marijuana is not legalized, it will lead to an increase in illegal activities, and more gang groups thus increased crime rates. From this claims one could easily support the fact that marijuana should be legalized in order to reduce crime rates, and save money being used to enforce marijuana laws for other purposes.
One major argument against the legalization of weed is that, if legalized, it will get into the hands of children, and they will abuse it. Also, it will be abused and lead to increased crime. This has been proven to be untrue because, according to many studies done on substance abuse, it is very easy for children to get access to marijuana, than it is for alcohol and therefore, this point is not valid (Flister 100). Additionally, if legalized, there will be no gang groups because marijuana will be available publicly. These gang groups exist because they are the people who sell marijuana in black markets. Therefore, there is counter argument against the legalization of marijuana that has not been challenged.
Someone wonders why weed is still illegal in the country yet it can be easily accessed by everyone. According to Rodger, to this day, there is not strong evidence or an intelligent argument against the legalization of weed that cannot be quickly refuted (stanford. edu). Many politicians only fear supporting it because they fear negative feedback from their supporters. The public has gotten it all wrong that if marijuana is legalized, then it will be encouraging the smoking of marijuana. People are allowed to smoke cigarettes, take alcohol, caffeine, sugar and even eat fast food s in our state but are not allowed to use marijuana yet it is not as dangerous as the things mentioned above. Marijuana should be outlawed but controlled and taxed because its prohibition creates a line of black market which can lead to organized crime.
Both the opponents and proponents have genuine issues, but one thing that comes clearly out of the debate is that before the legalization of marijuana, certain policies have to be put in place. According to Thompson, one of the policies that must be adopted before medicinal marijuana is legalized is to place an age restriction on users (brandeis. edu). Since teens have a high likelihood of using marijuana for purposes other than medicinal, only persons aged 21 years and above will be allowed to purchase the substance, just as has been done in some countries and states. If the age limit rule is not put into place, teenagers might assume that the legalization of medicinal marijuana implies that the substance is safe for non-medical use and may be tempted to use it for recreational purposes. Therefore, only persons aged 21+ should be allowed to purchase medicinal marijuana as they are more responsible.
In conclusion, the legalization of marijuana is a complex issue that involves various stakeholders. These include the government, teenagers or underage persons, opponents and proponents, and health experts. As evident from the above, the marijuana myths are separating the statesmen from the truth. I am of the opinion that marijuana should be legalized as each person has the right, freedom and liberty to use marijuana so long as no harm is caused on the person. Additionally, the government cannot force a person to live healthily by controlling what they inhale, since the kinds of food that are consumed by individuals are also toxic. The government does not have the control over everything people intake, the same case applies to marijuana. With the war against marijuana escalating with the years, the question still remains on the dedication of the US government on the dedication towards banning other hard. On this note, it would be logical enough if the government shifts more of its energy on alcohol effects, and other security issues that are more important than marijuana arrests.
Battle, Derrick and Pinkstone, Zacharey Marijuana Legalization Pros/Cons. Liberty University, 13 Oct. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. ‹ http://www. liberty. edu/champion/2013/10/marijuana-legalization-proscons/›.
Rodger, Paul. Should California Legalize Marijuana? California University, n. d Sept/Oct. 2010. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. ‹http://alumni. stanford. edu/get/page/magazine/article/? article_id= 28594›.
Thomson, Alex. Ethical Inquiry: July 2013: The Ethics of Legalizing Medical Marijuana. International Center for Ethics, Justice and Public Life. N. d Jul. 2013. Web. 10 Mar. 2014. ‹http: //www. brandeis. edu/ethics/ethicalinquiry/2013/›.
Flister, Larissa Duccati. The Economic Case for Marijuana Legalization in Canada, Journal of Alternative Perspectives in the Social Sciences, 5. 1 (2012): 96-100. Print.
‹http://www. academia. edu/2412227/The_Economic_Case_for_Marijuana_Legalization_in_Canada›.
Califano, Joseph A. Should Drugs be Decriminalized? No. British Medical Journal, 335. 7627 (2007): 967. Print.
Gerber, Rudolf. Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition. NY: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2004. Print.
Health Education. Marijuana. N. d. Available at: http://brown. edu/Student_Services/Health_Services/Health_Education/alcohol, _tobacco, _&_other_drugs/marijuana. php›. Web. Accessed on 9th March, 2013.