Legalization of marijuana
Talk of marijuana legalization in the United States today and you will be sparking a considerably heated debate among the politicians and the citizenry alike (Bello, 2007). Apparently, this has been one of the most contentious issues in the political circles of the United States lately. During the presidential debate of the recently completed presidential elections, the question of legalization of marijuana was among the top issues raised as a way of gauging the standpoint of the politicians. In answering the question, the presidential aspirants remained skeptical about the issues as either answer would have had significant impact on the support on their race to the white house. The fact that no one was willing to give a straight answer on the issues for fear of losing considerable support is an indication that, indeed, the issue is a matter of controversy in contemporary society. The people upholding either opinion are almost equal in number. This paper endeavors to discuss why marijuana should be legalized.
The arguments for the legalization of marijuana
Apparently, prohibiting marijuana and legalizing alcohol and cigarettes can be challenged from a moral standpoint. The type of intoxication a person should use, is supposed to remain subject to the personal liberty of the individual in question. Challenging the legalization of alcohol and illegalization of marijuana is not a difficult thing to do since, rationally; illegalizing the drug is a way of curtailing the people’s right to choice and personal liberty (Hoffman & Weber, 2010). Making choices should be liberal especially to people of majority age. Research indicates that, indeed, alcohol and cigarettes are more dangerous than marijuana. Some researchers argue that unlike cigarettes, marihuana is purely natural and does not contain such dangerous substances as tar. While alcohol and cigarettes cause liver cirrhosis and lung cancer respectively, there is no known ailment directly connected to marijuana. As such, arguing from a health standpoint, illegalizing marijuana is not at all justified
Speaking of health, there are verified reports that marijuana has some scientifically proven health benefits. A perfect illustration is the case of cancer. Cancer is arguably the most dangerous condition in the history of the medical world. Cancer has no treatment and the processes carried out to mitigate it are a matter of chances. For instance, chemotherapy is not absolutely effective. Perhaps the solution, according to some scientists is the consumption of marijuana in regulated amounts. This will help keep away cancer. Other researchers argue that marijuana sees are the only things with the highest amount of proteins (Bello, 2007). Protein is a very important nutrient in the body of a human being. It therefore follows that people should be encouraged to consume marijuana in food. For this reason, the government should consider legalizing marijuana.
Legalization of marijuana is one of the most effective ways of reducing crime. Apparently, crime that is incidental to the consumption of illegal drugs constitutes a significant part of the statistics. People selling illegal drugs will always sell them at an exorbitant price due to an overwhelming demand being served by a handful of suppliers. Legalization of marijuana only means lower prices. Low prices for marijuana will reduce the number of crimes committed with the intention of getting money to access the illegal drugs (Earleywine, 2007). Such crimes as mugging, conning, burglary and the like will be less heard of in society. Essentially therefore, legalization of marijuana is equal to killing many birds with the same stone. For instance, it will satisfy the consumers, reduce crime, and boost health and reduce the consumption of such dangerous things as alcohol and cigarette.
Research indicates that the costs of prohibition are not worth the fight. Such monies should be channeled elsewhere so as to be put into more constructive use. For instance the monies can be used to boost the facilities at the hospitals and schools. If an estimate of the amount spent on prohibition can be articulately evaluated and tabled before the citizenry, people would remain in utter shock. The amounts of money and resources spent on prohibiting marijuana include such costs as the cost of apprehending suspected criminals, the cost of taking them through the prosecution, the costs of a state counsel and the costs of having to rehabilitate the individual (Goldberg et al, 2009). Legalization of marijuana will lead to saving of all these costs. Saving such amounts can contribute to the wellbeing of the economy since the money can be used to enhance other parts of the economy.
Apparently, there are more serious crimes that need to be taken through the criminal justice system. Legalization of marijuana will decongest the criminal justice system to make it more effective in handling such serious crimes as terrorism. Decongesting the state prisons and penitentiaries will allow the other prisoners to enjoy better conditions in jail, devoid of noise and congested air. This will also give the police time to conveniently go about solving more serious crimes and enforcing the law without any hitch (Bello, 2007). It is pointless chasing around petty criminals like marijuana smokers when there are bigger threats to society. Economists say that the money spent on the war on drugs is a sunken cost. A huge sunken cost is an expense incurred without any corresponding income or benefits. The war on drugs is a futile effort. Instead of the spending the billions on drugs, the money should directed elsewhere.
Another primary reason why legalization of marijuana should be advocated for by all standards is because, through such effort, the government will be able to raise its revenue through taxation. Through taxation, the government will raise adequate funds to fight higher drugs such as methamphetamine and cocaine. Additionally, it is imperative to mention that through legalization efforts, the country will be able to break existing trade connection and unearthing the drug lords and terrorists associated with marijuana. This is considerably easy where intelligence comes in to work with the people that are currently consuming marijuana under the legal framework.
Despite all the above convincing points, critics find a fault in every point. For instance, the most significant argument held by the anti-legalization campaigners is the actuality that the medical benefits claim made by the proponents of the idea, is not yet scientifically measurable. Further, the critics and anti-legalization campaigners argue that Marijuana is a habitual drug that may cause complications later in life (Hoffman & Weber, 2010). For instance, the user may turn to be a mental retard or a psychiatric case due to the hallucinations it is associated with. Critics argue that marijuana cannot be measured to determine which an average dose is. For instance, Marijuana cannot be taken as pills. It is the consumption of rolls of the dry leaves.
The second counterargument is the belief that marijuana problems in judgment. This may cause serious accidents, especially on the road. Distorted judgment can really cost the nation in terms of losing human lives and having to pluck out the menace from society. Sober judgment is usually the most important aspect of decision making. Yet another counterargument is the fact that the Internal Revenue authority may not find it easy taxing the vendors of marijuana as documenting the transactions can be quite a hassle. Other critics argue that almost all arguments for legalization are ideal and not at all practical.
Rebuttal of the counterarguments
In rebutting the counterarguments, I would say that the measurability is not an issue at all when it comes to the legalization of marijuana. After all, all the legal intoxicants in the society lack measurability. For instance, alcohol cannot be measured as it does not obey the rule of diminishing marginal utility. Apparently, this counterargument does not hold water as the other intoxicants are more dangerous that marijuana, from a medical standpoint. Talking o the drug being habitual is not a point worth winning the debate. Arguably, the most addictive intoxicant in the world today is tobacco. Yet, tobacco is on the shelves of virtually every store. As much as marijuana may cause problems in judgment, this is no different from alcohol and other intoxicants. It is not anything new. Worth mentioning perhaps is the actuality that upon legalization, the government should design a time schedule of selling and consequently consuming the drug so as not to interfere with office hours. As such, I still strongly believe that marijuana should be legalized in present times.
Summarily, the main reasons why marijuana should be legalized are reduction in crime, cancer therapy, decongesting the CJS, generating government income, creating employment, and higher prohibiting costs. Gurus in social science argue that these merits, coupled with morality and social equity outweigh the arguments posed by the opponents. In straightforward terms, the legalization of marijuana is supported by both economists and social scientist. While the opponents of marijuana legalization dwell on the perceived negative image associated with the drug, the proponents insist that alcohol and cigarette are more dangerous options. The few shortcomings that exist in the name of counterarguments are considerably weak. For this reason, marijuana should be legalized.
Bello, J. (2007). The Benefits of Marijuana: Physical, Psychological and Spiritual. Lifeservices Press.
Earleywine, M. (2007). Pot politics: Marijuana and the costs of prohibition. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Goldberg, J. H., Millstein, S., Schwartz, A., & Halpern-Felsher, B. (2009). Intertemporal tradeoffs: Perceiving the risk in the benefits of marijuana in a prospective study of adolescents and young adults. Medical Decision Making, 29(2), 182-192.
Hoffmann, D. E., & Weber, E. (2010). Medical marijuana and the law. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(16), 1453-1457.