Should Marijuana be legalized in the United States? It is not only in the United States but also in other parts of the world where the plant has raised great debate because of its varied impacts on human health. It is seen as both medicinal and as well as an illicit drug. It is this fact raises conflicts as to whether there should be laws against the plant. Generally, it is observed that the drug has negative effects on human health. In this case, medicinal importance is overlooked. The paper will therefore go down into details to establish issues against legalizing the drug besides looking at the benefits employed in other arguments for the drug in the following discussions.
Legalization of Marijuana has been a growing issue because of the discoveries that are continuously being made on the plant. The discovery, which varies from medicinal values to economic as well as psychological impacts, continues to create challenge on various states decisions on legalizing the drug. For instance, since the year 1961 the drug has been termed as an illegal commodity in the United States. In the 2012 election, however majority of the Washington and Colorado electorate supported its legalization. Looking at other states like Canada, the drug is greatly attached with medicinal importance and there is effort to make it a legal product for every individual. The plant is grown in various locations around the world. Marijuana is made from the top flowering part of the Cannabis Sativa plant. This plant contains a chemical known as Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. The psychological impact of the chemical is that, when consumed it alters the mind thinking of the user. The chemical varies in potency from plant to plant especially depending on the soil content. Arguments in favor of the drug suggest that, comparing the use of Marijuana and other drugs, there are no reported deaths that are caused by its used while other drugs usage have over 100,000 deaths reported. It is also prudent to note that the drug was previously used as food in China and as pain reliever during Napoleonic wars, (Goldstein, 2010).Issues raised against the drug argues that it is not all people use it and therefore its negative externalities extend to affect others. However, legalizing it remains an issue of debate and freedom.
Marijuana carries various uses that are of benefit to the individual health, as argued by the proponents of legalization. It has been used, for instance, to induce changes in consciousness and mood as well as to relax and calm down. Marijuana has been christened as the “recreational drug” by many of its advocates due to the number of users that enjoy its psychoactive effects. For instance, in China use of Marijuana has been acknowledged for its high returns as it has wider market. It is also appreciated for activating discussion among people as it is seen as engaging, (Rosenthal, 2005).Marijuana is also argued for its benefits in controlling epilepsy. It has some natural ingredients that are believed to reduce seizures from epilepsy (Goldstein, 2010).However; various researchers cite that the use of Marijuana can have side effects both in the end and in the short run to an individual’s overall health. The short-term effects comprise of inability to concentrate and distorted sense. The long-term effects are detrimental as they touch on the respiratory system, low sperm count, and testosterone levels in men, impact on the premenstrual and ovulation cycles of women. It also brings about fatigue, decreased libido, fertility impairment and changes in body composition (more fat mass and decreased muscle mass).This arguments indicates some concrete reasons against legalizing the drug. It shows that the plant is more of a drug with less medicinal value as well as economic ones. The mental effects revealed displays that using the drug is simply generating an adult who is mentally crippled.
Numerous studies have been carried out indicating that Marijuana use helps reduce symptoms of certain medical conditions. The drug can help glaucoma, cancer, and multiple Sclerosis patients as per the major findings. However, there have been other consequent studies that dispute those claims. Some studies have shown that using marijuana reduces nausea and vomiting of cancer patients undergoing Chemotherapy. It is notable that while more than 18 states have successfully legalized marijuana for medicinal use until recently recreational marijuana was illegal.
The marijuana legalization debate has generated a lot of sentiments and opinions from various quarters. Supporters of the drug argue that its prohibition has brought about the ineffective curbing of marijuana. They justify their argument by citing that through legalization the drug trafficking and costs associated with marijuana will be brought down significantly. This will impact negatively on illegal drug dealers’ profits forcing them out of the trade (Goldstein, 2010). Legalization would lower prices and open competition which would see many drug cartels lose a lot of their business. This argument is necessary although it does not look keenly on other long-term factor in terms of individual health. Legalizing Marijuana will generate a society with mental problems, as most of them will have to depend on the drug for their reasoning instead of using the natural way of thinking. More so it will be costly to the government in terms of health to curb on side effects resulting from usage of the drug.
Legalization of Marijuana is looked at as an advantage to the exchequer. It is presumed that the action will raise much revenue in form of tax the states in America. This is because it will join the number of substances that are subjected to sin tax. It is forecast that over $60 million can be generated by the year 2017.This revenue if injected into the state economy it will be used to fund projects and initiatives that will impact positively to the general citizenry as a whole. There is also additional advantage in reducing costs involved in carrying out arrest and enforcement of the prohibition in various localities. The law enforcers can be freed up to focus on more serious crimes such as rape, murder, terrorism et cetera. The court docket load will also be reduced hence enhancing its efficiency in serving the greater public’s deserving cases. This argument generally reveals the ignorance that will be generated to the public. Not all individuals will use the drug in a correct manner and especially the emerging generation will consider it a normal consumption. It leaves us to questions as to whether there will be need to create awareness in terms of usage since it is clear that the drug has its own negative effects. There can be arguments favoring personal freedom to support legalization but all goes against ethics of the general public servants entrusted with responsibility to take care of people in the society. Although its usage is seen as victimless but it a derived effect on other actions that are not morally accepted despite the disagreements on definition of what is moral and what is not (Rosenthal et al., 2003)
It is clearly indicated that by legalizing Marijuana, there will be other costs arising that might be detrimental than those we desire to reduce. The costs will manifest themselves in form of funds for drug education, rehabilitation centers, and marijuana treatment programs. Their claims are supported by studies that cite that 9 % of Marijuana users end up as addicts that are in dire need of clinical help. Facts that will see the authorities use much of their facilities and resources once the drug is legalized and creates more addicts among the American populace (Caulkins et al., 2013). The critics of this measure further solidify their argument by citing that Marijuana even though it might be not harmful as tobacco causes intoxication. The intoxication can generate to other faces that may be detrimental to the drug users and their immediate neighbors. They argue that intoxication will make cases of traffic accidents and crime rates soar within the neighborhoods or vicinities that the drug abusers find themselves in.
In addition, there is also an issue of physical damage, which is brought out in consumption of the drug. According to pundits, Marijuana has been said to be the main cause of memory loss tied to brain and lung damage, depression, cancer and death. Brain damage reduces cognitive ability of an individual. This argument thus reveals that there are high negative effects resulting from the use of the drug on the health of an individual. It intoxicating elements are the bearing factors that make its legalization as unfavorable action to the citizens of US. It will be an act of violating the health appeals of the public. Comparing with legalization, it is fair to argue that it has never reduced despite its legalization. It is evidenced that it has brought down many homes as many individual, hoping to derive some wealth from the activity, having used their family resources thus ending up losing everything. In addition, use of marijuana has also acted as a stepping-stone to other hard drug usage e.g. heroin, cocaine et cetera. It is therefore fair to indicate that arguing for legalization with proposition that there is hope for such side effects to reduce is only revealing the weakness and compromising on the progress of individuals and general society(Goldstein, 2010). Any attempt to legalize will be a climbing ladder to introducing other forms of hard drugs as well as unreliable arguments that has less health and economic contribution to the people of the United States.
The opponents of the marijuana legalization also fear that many minors may fall into the marijuana use trap. They cite that even unhealthy legal products such as alcohol and cigarettes are prohibited from being sold minors. The minors’ bodies are not well developed to handle the intake of such substances. Well, this problem is even worse for the cannabis sativa use. Developing minor bodies and brains can be affected a great deal by the use of marijuana. Through legalization of this drug, so does its accessibility to minors rise (Rosenthal et al., 2003). Regularly minors get their hands on cigarettes or alcohol, these critics argue, should not be the case for marijuana.
In recap, there are always two sides to an issue. The legalization of marijuana can be said to be supported by its advocates as its benefits outweigh the costs. Despite this, it is indicated that this benefits are simply in favor of the less weighty costs associated (Goldstein, 2010). This is clearly indicated by the position taken by critics who oppose the argument, as through legalization the harmful impact to the society and citizenry will outweigh the perceived benefits. It is a continuous debate that will riddle many due to the different scientific research that keep on disputing one another on the real effects of Marijuana as a drug. Regardless of all this arguments, it is open to my concise preference that legalization of Marijuana should be completely be done away with. It is open and clear that psychological impacts involved are negative and there is no way at any point the society should compare psychological costs to some external benefits argued by proponents such as increase in tax revenues among others. There is no need to develop a rich source of income to serve a mentally crippled population.
Boire, R. G., & Feeney, K. (2006). Medical marijuana law. Oakland: Ronin Pub.
Caulkins, J., Angela H., Beau K.,& Mark K., (2012). Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. N.p., 2012. Print.
Goldstein M., (2010). Legalizing Drugs: Crime Stopper or Social Risk? Minneapolis, MN: Twenty-First Century Books, .Internet resource.
Rosenthal E., Kubby & Newhart S. (2003). Why Marijuana Should Be Legal. New York: Thunder's Mouth Press. Print.
Ruschmann, P. (2003). Legalizing Marijuana. New York: Infobase Pub.