Decriminalization of marijuana will expose the lives of the people to greater risk after showing that it lacks substantive medicinal value and will only encourage the possibility of drug abuse. Based on the report of Dupont (2010), studies have shown that in 2008, 4.2 million people from the 7 million population in the U.S. between the ages 12 and higher have been identified as dependents of marijuana. This is a confirmation that 2/3 of the American population are suffering from marijuana abuse (DuPont, 2010).
According to Buckner, Heimberg, Matthews & Silgado (2012, p. 151) one third of America’s population who are dependent on marijuana are also suffering from anxiety disorder. The study of Buckner et al. (2012) stated that based on the Social Interaction Anxiety Scale (SIAS) used in the study, it was shown that individuals with High Social Anxiety (HSA) will have a higher probability to use marijuana to cope up with their problems. It can be concluded that high rate of cannabis dependence was present among people with HAS compared to those persons suffering from Low Social Anxiety (LSA). This will now prove that there is a strong causal relationship between social anxiety and marijuana-related problems. Therefore, marijuana should not be legalized because it will result to a bigger problem for the government since many individuals who experience high anxiety are drawn to use marijuana as their coping mechanism. Once marijuana is legalized, it becomes accessible to the public.
Marijuana should remain to be a forbidden drug under the law since prohibition on its use had decreased the number of users. The law which bans the use of marijuana should not be abolished since it shall serve as a regulatory measure for those who want to use it for leisure. Ruschmann (2004, p. 100) stated that this will be beneficial for the youth because it will discourage them to use marijuana for the fear of being punished by doing a criminal act.
Based from the destructive and unsafe effects of marijuana to the body, it is undeniable that legalizing it will mean do more harm than good especially for the young adults. A number of verified reports have revealed that recreational use of marijuana endanger the lives of users as a way to cope with stress. Decriminalization of marijuana will benefit the government through imposition of taxes. However, the health of the people should be the primary concern of the legislature.
Preventing the legalization of marijuana will help improve the health, education, and productivity of the people. Hence, it is recommended that the government should design preventive measures in order to protect the people from the adverse effects of marijuana, especially for the young adults.
Decriminalization of marijuana in order to promote its medicinal use will result to increase usage of marijuana, after removing the regulation. One of the expected outcomes will be the addiction to marijuana of college students who have relied on the drug despite the expected criminal consequences. The strongest predictor of marijuana problems among college students is the dependence symptoms because they depend on the drug to help them sleep and for relaxation. However, while marijuana may appear to have medicinal effects for pain management, it cannot disregard the fact that unregulated use of this substance can cause serious drug addiction which can cause more harm than benefit to the users, especially the young adults (Doweiko, 2009).
According to (Goode, 2010, p. 159).Although abstinence from the use of marijuana will not produce a physiological withdrawal syndrome among its users, the outcome is a psychological dependence and deprivation that can cause anxiety, restlessness, irritability, or even a state of depression leading to suicidal attempts. Marijuana also has negative effects on the perception and memory of a person. Experts have shown that the ability of the drug to increases the heart rate can result to fatal cardiac diseases. Doweiko (2009, p. 157) stated that has been medically proven that the chronic use of marijuana affects the physical condition of the brain. In fact, the studies have shown that smoke coming from marijuana cigarettes is more fatal than the smoke coming from a tobacco. In effect, legalizing marijuana in small or large dosages can harm the human body and overshadows the medicinal value of the drug (Goode, 2010, p. 159). Other negative effects of using marijuana can even increase the possibility of acquiring cancer since the smoke contains some of the same cancer-causing compounds found in tobacco.
One of the initial states that implemented the legalization of marijuana is Proposition 215 or the “Compassionate Use Act” which was enacted in California in 1996 which garnered the minimum approval rating to legalize the use of marijuana. However, the report of Room, Fischer and Hall (2010) compared attitudes of young adults aged 16 to 25 years in selected communities in California and 10 control states. It was shown that a marijuana policy for medicinal benefits caused a significant impact on adolescents (Room et al., 2010 p. 125). The State of California allowed it residents to use marijuana for medicinal purposes. But after a recent study conducted in this study has shown the rates of recent marijuana use increased in California when compared to other control states. Therefore, this is a clear manifestation that the legalization of marijuana only increased the recreational use and opened the opportunity for young adults to use it for other purposes.
Buckner, J. D., Heimberg, R. G., Matthews, R. A. and Silgado, J. (2012). Marijuana-
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Doweiko, H. E. (2009). Concepts of Chemical Dependency. California: Cengage Learning.
Dupont, R. L, MD. (2010). Why We Should Not Legalize Marijuana. Marijuana and Money.
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Goode, E. (2010). Marijuana. New Jersey: Transaction Publishers.
Room, R., Fischer, B. and Vayne, H. (2010). Cannabis Policy: Moving Beyond Stalement. New York: Oxford University Press.
Ruschmann, P (2004). Legalizing Marijuana. New York: Infobase Publishing.