Marijuana is generally treated as an illegal drug and the majority of treaties and federal laws forbid the growing, selling and possessing of marijuana. However, the current civilization is beginning to embrace the idea of marijuana legalization in the United States. According to the survey report by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (2013), there is a dramatic increase of favorable views of legalizing marijuana from the 1960’s to the current year of 2013. Almost half of the respondents even consider smoking no longer immoral and more people believe that smoking marijuana is not a moral issue. In the same press release, these changing attitudes of Americans are also anchored from the arguments that the government efforts and costs of enforcing anti-marijuana laws are more than they are worth. Some states like Washington and Colorado have taken a legal enforcement of allowing the consumption of small amounts of marijuana for recreational purposes. Among the other arguments presented comes from the views of those pushing for the legalization of marijuana in America is such fact that it will eradicate the black market production and distribution of marijuana and to fully implement a standard regulatory measure in the same way that alcohol and tobacco are regulated (Caulkins, Hawken. Kilmer, and Kleiman, 2012). Another aspect of positive views on marijuana legalization is to allow the same for medical purposes only while other rationed that the legalization of marijuana may be in the strictest sense be applied only in its production by particular industries (like the medical field) and to impose who can take the same (such as allowed for adult consumption only). Overall, the majority of the point of views with respect to marijuana legalization implicates the exercise of policy designs by the lawmakers. Other arguments that are raised by the pro marijuana legalization involves the more practical step of reducing the budgetary allocations for criminalizing the use of marijuana to various agencies like the Department of Homeland Security that exercises custom control and immigration watch that protect the United States borders from the influx of illegal drugs, which seem to be ineffective and costly measures. Likewise, a large state budget allocation is also sent to the anti-illegal drugs enforcing agencies including those devoted to the rehabilitation and penalizing the criminal act of using, producing and marketing marijuana in the country. Despite these cost implications, the outcome remains insufficient to eradicate the black market of marijuana. Other positions for the legalization of marijuana is that the state is infringing the right of consenting individuals to use marijuana peacefully in the privacy of their homes. They pursue decriminalizing the use of marijuana, with the cause of making the state to exercise protection to its citizens against search and seizure and for every individual to be secure in their persons, houses, paper and effects. The strongest contention on legalizing marijuana is on its medical value. There is an apparent evidence to show how marijuana effectively eradicate the debilitating effects of various diseases like AIDS, arthritis, cancer, chronic pain, mood disorders, depression, migraine, headaches, multiple sclerosis and stroke as among many others (Rosenthal and Kubby, 2003). Because of this medical value of marijuana, many are pushing through for the reclassification of marijuana and be allowed for distribution for medical purposes.
On the other hand, despite these good arguments why marijuana should be legalized in the United States, the Republicans maintain their stand on the issue as being against the legalization of marijuana, including medical marijuana. The Republican standpoint of being against to marijuana legalization, despite being now on the minority side considering the greater number of Americans who are in favor of its legalization, is mostly influenced by religious, moral and conservative views. They view marijuana as a gateway for people to freely use drugs that can increase criminalities in the country and may cripple the foundation of many families because of its negative effects. The Republicans believe that medical marijuana is not the only solution for alleviating pain caused by various diseases and presently there are already numerous pain management programs that are effective. In his 2012 Presidential campaign, Republican leader Mitt Romney was very vocal about his stand against marijuana legalization. In his speaking engagements during his presidential campaigns, he firmly opposes in giving medical marijuana an entry way for accessibility to the society. However, a considerable number of Republican members are showing a shift on their stand from being against marijuana legalization outright into allowing the government to evaluate the possibility of marijuana moderation. Republican presidential candidate Gary Johnson even proposed of considering the implementation of a rational drug policy where he is willing to give full presidential pardon among those sentenced in prison for marijuana use (Graves, 2011), while John McCain communicated his intention of considering the legalization of marijuana in the United States in his speech in Arizona and this possible changing stance is complemented by the stand of her daughter Meghan McCain who is in favor of pot legalization (Lavender, 2013). Generally, the initial stance of the Republicans against legalizing marijuana is seeing the drug as a political symbol that threatens to corrupt the American values. However, with the changing views of the American people is quite strong that it just might soften the standpoint of the Republicans to address the changing needs of the modern American culture.
Caulkins, J.P., A. Hawken, B. Kilmer, and M.A.R. Kleiman (2012). Marijuana Legalization:
What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press.
Graves, L. (2011). Gary Johnson, GOP Presidential Candidate, Would Consider Full Pardons For Nonviolent Marijuana Offenders. Retrieved September 18, 2013 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/10/19/gop-presidential-candidate-full-pardon-for-marijuana-sentences_n_1020676.html.
Lavender, P. (2013). John McCain On Marijuana: 'Maybe We Should Legalize.’ The Huffington Post.
Pew Research Center for the People and the Press (2013). Majority Now Supports Legalizing Marijuana. Retrieved September 18, 2013 from http://www.people-press.org/2013/04/04/majority-now-supports-legalizing-marijuana/.
Rosenthal, E. and Kubby, S. (2003). Why Marijuana Should Be Legal. New York: Thunder Mouth’s Press.