Marijuana, also known as cannabis sativa is the dried flowers and subtending leaves and the stems of the female cannabis plant. It is used as a drug and the concept is to allow the chemical substance of the plant to cross the blood- brain barrier acting primarily upon the Central nervous system affecting the brains function causing changes in perception, cognition consciousness perception, mood and behaviour in a person. The use, possession and the trade of marijuana became illegal in most parts of the world in the early 20th century.
Cannabis sativa can be consumed in different ways, smoking, which involves inhaling marijuana from small pipes, bongs, paper wrapped joints or the tobacco leaf wrapped blunts is the most common way of consumption (Benjamin, 112). The drug enters the body through the lungs. Eating/drinking –the active ingredients of cannabis are extracted and added to foodstuff entering the system through the digestive tract rather than through the lungs. This type of consumption of marijuana tends to be both slower and more efficient than smoking, completely eliminating the noxious effects of consuming heated smoke.
The debate as to whether to legalize Marijuana or not has raged on for quite some time now and it’s not about to end in the near future. Those in favour will argue that the benefits of the drug surpass the negative effects if controlled. So far so good, the prohibition of marijuana has not really worked as it has resulted to an enormous black market eroding the civil rights and more so corrupting our justice systems (Klein, 2). People living with AIDS and anorexia use marijuana to add on their weight, cancer patients smoke the drug to dispel the nausea effect that they get from the chemotherapy. Others illness where the doctors have prescribed marijuana include arthritis, migraines epilepsy and glaucoma. It would be ironical and cruel to deny marijuana to the very sick people who could get a lot of relief from it. So this drug has the benefit of the medical use and therefore if made3 legal it would really come in handy.
Besides, proponents argue that legalizing marijuana would provide an avenue through which the government can increase revenues and cut expenses. Just like other substances like drugs and alcohol are levied high taxes, the same can be applied to marijuana. A study done by Harvard University estimate that if marijuana was to be taxed at the same rate applied to alcohol and tobacco, the government could earn up to $ 6 billion in revenues and save up to $ 8 billion which is wasted on marijuana prohibition programmes. Apart from increasing revenues to government, legalization will ensure that law enforcement officers focus on more important security issues because there will be less trafficking, cops will not spent most of their time chasing abusers and arresting them. Therefore police officers will not spent most of their time carrying out arrests, surveillances, prosecutions and imprisonment of offenders. Another effect of legalization is that it will lead to a drop in violence. Mexico is a country that has always been cited as the worst case when it comes to drug violence and this has even spilled to the US, especially along border towns. By making it illegal, the stakes have been raised with it being traded on the black market. The Black market operates on bribery, threats and kidnappings and by making the trade legal, these can be eliminated.
Moreover, when compared to cigarettes and alcohol, the risks both health and societal that are associated with even chronic drug are mild yet these items are not yet banned. When one smokes marijuana there is no hung over unlike alcohol whereby the hung over is there and the poisoning from alcohol is a real risk. As for the marijuana drug one doesn’t have to take much to get the desired effect so the chances of overdosing are minimal and it is the least addictive of all the drugs. This therefore means that one will end up inhaling less smoke. In addition, the marijuana plant can be used to make fibres that are used to make canvas, ropes, the seeds of the plants can be used to make soap and lamb oil. Being a plant like any other if many are planted then a lot of carbon dioxide would be eliminated from the air.
On the other hand, the Government has the right to protect the public health of its citizens. Drug use normally causes a myriad of problems in our society which include lost productivity in jobs, accidents, wrecked/Broken families. Legalization of this drug would therefore make things worse. A study by the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that “marijuana smokers are thirty times more likely to use cocaine than those who've never smoked it” (Klein, 3). Other studies have been carried out and confirmed a strong relationship between the usage of marijuana leading to using other drugs like cocaine and heroin. Withdrawal symptoms for people trying to quit include sleeplessness, anxiety, decreased appetite, drug craving among others. Smoking marijuana isn't more effective than regular therapies; in fact, the drug has carcinogens that are very irritating to the lungs. Marijuana causes the heart rate immediately after smoking causing the risk of heart attack. The drug affects the heart rhythms, causing palpitations and arrhythmias. This risk is greater in the elderly and those with cardiac vulnerabilities.
In my opinion, in order for us to know whether it should be legalized or not, intensive and extensive research should be done. Governments should not just give a lip service to the need for further study but they should release it freely to scientists to study.
Benjamin, Daniel. Undoing Drugs: beyond legalization. New York: Bantam
Books, 1999. Print
Klein Joel. Why legalizing marijuana makes sense. Time.com, 2 April 2009. Accessed
4 April 2011 Web