In the past few years, several states such as North Carolina and Maryland have sought to decriminalize marijuana. Other states across the country, such as Connecticut, Montana, and even California have legalized weed for medicinal use. Last year the infamous Colorado and Washington states managed to legalize marijuana sales to anybody as long as they purchased the marijuana from government subsidiaries and taxed at the time of purchase. While many believe that these changes are a productive and modern step forward for medicine and the country’s financial gain, but they are ignoring the bad that legalizing marijuana will bring. Marijuana is a drug that can have a negative impact on the body, as well as one’s life. Marijuana is also a gateway drug that can lead to other, more abusive substances.
Too many people focus on the idea that marijuana will solve many medical ailments instead of remembering that it is, in fact, a narcotic that enters the body, alters the mind, and leaves damage. According to Sara Markowitz, author of “Alcohol, Drugs, and Violent Crime,” marijuana can alter an individual’s mood in drastic ways. While they may be very calm and lucid, sometimes individuals may get moody and angry (28). Marijuana, much like any other drug, can also potentially ruin an individual’s social life. Family and friends may become distant once drug use begins, studies showed in Richard Aranow’s article “Special Issue: Marijuana at the Millennium: Medical and Social Implications (200).” Once a drug that makes you popular with other individuals who partake in it, it can swiftly push everybody else out of a person’s life. Typically, Aranow found, friends and family would attempt to help loved ones who begin to use drugs but at a certain point, they will no longer put themselves through that emotional trial, and they will leave (203). Losing your family and friends seems like an impractical reason to try drugs.
Something many people forget, in their haste to try the seemingly harmless marijuana plant is that it is a gateway drug. Much like alcohol, marijuana opens the door for the individual to begin experimenting with other drugs. These other drugs can be more damaging, as written in Andrew Golub and Bruce D. Johnson’s article, “The Shifting Importance of Alcohol and Marijuana as Gateway Substances among Serious Drug Abusers (609). According to Golub and Johnson three out of every seven individuals who try marijuana will eventually go on to try something harder. More importantly, 50% of the individuals who try harder drugs end up addicted to them which leads to a slew of problems (611). Individuals begin to face financial instability, psychological trauma, emotional instability, physical harm, violence, depression, and loneliness. They also face the eventual possibility of overdosing or doing irreparable damage to major organ systems including their heart and their brain, all because of marijuana (612).
The general public who vote for marijuana state that it is harmless. The drug causes happy feelings that are considered good. The drug is also becoming widely revered for its medicinal properties. Marijuana assists many patients in many things. For instance, chemo patients experience less nausea while using marijuana. Insomnia patients are able to sleep, and those who suffer from chronic pain or depression find their symptoms relieved without the disruptive side effects of designer drugs . There have been claims made that the marijuana would also be profitable if the country began taxing it. Less law enforcement hours would be spent fighting the drug war and the taxes would provide revenue to our failing country. However, according to Steven W. Bender’s article, published in the Albany Government Law Review, it is not that the drug war is not worth fighting, it is simply that it has gotten so overwhelming that it is too expensive to fight. It is now cheaper to legalize the drug and tax it, which does not speak highly about how healthy it is (43-46). Robert A. Mikos also states in his book, “State Taxation of Marijuana Distribution and Other Federal Crimes that” the safety of the drug does not supercede the profit made from its legalization. In laymen terms, whether it is safe or not, the country is broke, and it is a source of income. This decision is not only unjust, but incompetent.
In sum, marijuana should be criminalized again in places where it has been made legal. It is true that there are medicinal properties to it, but the individuals who benefit from it survived before they grew to depend on it, and they will survive after it is gone. The risk of allowing this mood altering substance that is potentially addictive to flood that market simply because the country is poor is irresponsible. It also has a tendency to coax individuals into trying harder drugs that they most certainly become addicted to. This potential for getting more individuals addicted to harder drugs that cause more problems would surely only surge life back into the drug war, but instead this time law enforcement would be fighting against something much more difficult as heroine or cocaine. It is simply not logical. It creates rifts in relationships and sometimes even causes death. A small silver lining of tax revenue is not enough to ignore the fact that legalizing marijuana was shortsighted and not sensible.
Aranow, Richard. "Special Issue: Marijuana at the Millenium: Medical and Social Implications (Revisited)." Journal of Psychoactive Drugs (2006): 198-206. Print.
Bender, Steven W. "Overdose: The Failure of the U.S. Drug War and Attempts at Legalization: ARTICLE: JOINT REFORM?: THE INTERPLAY OF STATE, FEDERAL, AND HEMISPHERIC REGULATION OF RECREATIONAL MARIJUANA AND THE FAILED WAR ON DRUGS." Albany Government Law Review (2013): 39-52.
Golub, Andrew and Bruce D. Johnson. "The Shifting Importance of Alcohol and Marijuana as Gateway Substances among Serious Drug Abusers." Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs (2003): 607-614. Print.
Markowitz, Sara. "Alcohol, Drugs and Violent Crime." International Review of Law and Economics (2005): 22-45. Print.
Mikos, Robert A. "State Taxation of Marijuana Distribution and Other Federal Crimes." 2010.