The debate regarding the legalization of Marijuana had long been subjected to controversy and intrigue given the arguments that Marijuana is capable of becoming a medical tool if given the go signal for longer research. There is also the argument that it could increase a government’s revenue and income should the regulation policies of legalizing marijuana would be promoted by the government. However, it is undeniable that marijuana, like the other prohibited drugs, has a lasting effect to users which may cause mental incapacity and eventually, addiction that may foster crime and affect the younger members of society. Nonetheless, compromise can be made to ensure that drug addiction to marijuana can be prevented in a recreational level and at the same time, enable medical research to flourish for the benefit of those medically impaired and can be cured by marijuana. Marijuana should be legalized medically as it has been proven by doctors that it has medical properties that can cure otherwise debilitating diseases, however, it must remain illegal for recreational use as a single illegal use of marijuana may present significant consequences that can cause addiction and crime if not actively monitored by the authorities.
History had noted in its records that Cannabis, and its dried version marijuana, had been used by the ancient civilizations in various causes especially in medicine. Some used it as a source for oil and fiber; others used it as a healing medium for their religious practices, while a few would use it for medicine. Both the West and the East had records detailing how marijuana had been used as a medicine for various ailments. In the West, the Spaniards introduced cannabis to its fellow Western nations as a source for oil that can be used as medicine or aromatherapy. For the East, the Chinese used cannabis or “ma” as a means to produce medicine for gout, malaria, and even the instance of absentmindedness. The records were written in the “Book of Drugs” which records entries from 2737 BC. In one of the records, Chinese Emperor Shen Nung noted that marijuana had been able to cure several illnesses. Another book written in 500 BC also supported the early Chinese writings regarding marijuana’s medical properties. The Chinese held much regard to cannabis considering the capacity of the plant to both create fiber for clothing, and cure the Chinese’s common ailments even up to this present day. Indians had also seen marijuana and cannabis as an important key item for rituals, healing, and cooking .
With the name of Cannabis and Marijuana tarnished as years progressed, there were still those who have noticed the medical properties of the drug for diseases and ailments that have yet to be cured by normal medicine. In the United States, states had legalized marijuana for medical practice since the 1990s. In California, they have allowed physicians and researchers to check the medical components of marijuana. Aside from California, 15 states had allowed marijuana to be used for medical practices. Several citizen groups have also been advocating for a possible revision of the federal law to understand the capacity of marijuana to actually cure and not harm the public. The federal government continues to assert that federal law is more powerful than the desires of the public or the state. Nonetheless, many still pushed for legalization of medical research for marijuana in their states and as of today, this research continues in several states in the country.
Recently, many supporters have noted that medical cannabis or medical marijuana would be beneficial given if the government legalizes it. According to the AMA or the American Medical Association indicated in November 2009 that cannabis should not be considered as a prohibited drug, rather as a medicine that is capable of curing the vilest diseases if allowed to make research. It is also noted that medical cannabis would be accessible for research soon as noted by the Americans for Safe Access, a known pro-medical cannabis group, which stressed to the DEA to amend and withdraw their claim that cannabis is a drug that can be detrimental if it is used. The DEA continued to decline and reject calls for allowing medical cannabis/marijuana to be allowed. However, the government had released a “Request for Proposals” framework to restudy the possible benefits of medical cannabis/marijuana and find means for its production and distribution .
Given the records of studies showing that marijuana is capable of curing or aiding patients with their complications and diseases, it is essential to understand its capacities and ensure that the public would not use it for anything else aside from medicine. The fears of the public regarding marijuana use is warranted and while its medical properties have been showcased by various studies, it is essential that regulations must be imposed to ensure the public would not be exposed to illicit marijuana use. Making marijuana illegal would prevent several concerns from coming to life. First and foremost, unregulated marijuana use presents negative consequences to its users, especially if they begin young. In the 2010 US National Survey on Drug Use and Health, it had been recorded that 17.4 million Americans, ages 12 and up, were reported to be marijuana users. Marijuana had also been recorded as the preferred drug of young drug users for the past few years, increasing up to 21.5% in 2010. It is also the preferred drug to use to initiate potential users of drugs. Given the increasing number of marijuana users each year, the potency of marijuana had also doubled . There is also the study done by the Shafer Commission that legalization would only bring an increase of users, some would become heavy users that would require marijuana every day. The Shafer report had also noted that legalization would make marijuana cheaper, enabling the public to gain access to it and open doors for children to possess it. Some may even see that legalization of marijuana is a means of the government to endorse the use of the drug despite their continuous warnings regarding its side-effects. Such legalization would also shake the very foundations of the concept of drugs and alcohol use since it would create a misconception in the younger generation regarding its use. It is highly possible that children and teens would be inclined to try out the drug despite the risks involve and the actual role of the drug. Early use of marijuana recreationally would render development crippling and tend to hinder mental, spiritual and physical development.
Opponents to marijuana legalization also stress that if it is permitted to be used in a medical aspect, there would be means for it to reach the public and entice recreational use. The US Government, in its extent, noted that that legalization of marijuana would only sustain the growing number of marijuana users in the country and disregard the law that marijuana is only to be used for medical use. The US government had also stressed that marijuana has long been considered an illegal drug in the country, especially in the eyes of the Food and Drug Administration. Lawmakers stood firm that marijuana must always remain illegal for the very fact that it is capable of making more people addicted to marijuana once it is open for the public through medicine stores and pharmacies. Possible amendments for both federal law and FDA to make a consideration for medical cannabis would also cost time and money that could be used for other issues such as economic projects and society development. Once marijuana is open to the public there is a high possibility that a new variant of the drug would appear in the market and be supported by the public .
Legalizing marijuana also presents a moral conflict especially for the opponents of its legalization even if marijuana is indeed capable of proving medical qualities. Opponents to legalization stress that marijuana is morally wrong as it alters one’s mental state and pulls them into a state wherein they would commit dangerous acts and be succumbed to deep addictions. Legalization, for the opponents, also constitutes the possibility of enticing people to commit an immoral practice to try out marijuana. There is also a sentiment that marijuana must remain illegal for the very fact that society should not be exposed to dangerous and rebellious acts that may become the norm in the near future. Marijuana is also considered a medium to entice laziness and reduced acceptance of responsibilities. Retaining marijuana’s status as an illegal item would also protect families and communities from the harsh realities that marijuana is capable of reducing productivity and induce chaos.
Finally, it is noted that marijuana should remain illegal for recreational use as it increases the possibility that social costs would increase and decrease tax revenues received by the government. The federal government noted that the costs to society already created by sin products alcohol and tobacco would increase once marijuana is added in the picture given its side-effects and risks. The overall revenue marijuana would create once it is legalized for use would also be lower than the social costs it entails. With legalization looming in the corner for marijuana, opponents stress that it would become a burden and problem for law enforcement groups to cope up with the high number of arrests, violations and investigations related to marijuana use. It is noted that at least 750,000 cases would be added once marijuana is legalized, making the judiciary and law enforcement groups overworked with the cases they wish to settle. Sentiments also run high that marijuana, upon its legalization, may not be able to restrain and lessen the violence attached to marijuana or drug use .
The debate on whether or not marijuana should be legalized or not, if it is capable of curing or not, remains to be unclear as to how it would end. On the one hand, creating a specialized legislation on marijuana may prove difficult given the pretense of its effects to users and the capacity of marijuana to foster crime and discord especially from its users. Marijuana had also evolved throughout the years, making it more potent and capable of producing severe damage that can no longer be healed. Nonetheless, it is undeniable that there are still many things one does not know about Cannabis, or it’s dried up variant marijuana, that may enable medicine to evolve for those people who contract diseases and complications yet to be cured by currently present medicine. It is essential that scientists would be given the capacity to study this plant as it may ultimately enable them to create cures that could cure and at the same time, regulate marijuana’s addicting power from entwining the minds of its users and for reaching the hands of the public. Unless there is a powerful and organized legislation would ensure that marijuana remains regulated and firmly used for medical use, it is highly unlikely that the debates will stop. A powerful legislation would ensure marijuana remains grounded for medical use rather than recreational use.
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