Marijuana: Decades of Debates
Marijuana is a drug that has many names. Some call it Hashish, others Sinsemilla, and others call it Hemp. The most common name is pot. Other popular names are weed and herb. However, its scientific name is Cannabis Sativa (Merrill, 1999). It is usually smoked in cigarettes. This drug is one of the most addictive drugs existing today. The use of this drug has various effects, especially to those people that are addicted to it. It is estimated that over 4 percent of all Americans are users of pot. Of this 4 percent, 1 percent abuse the drug.
Before it is ready to be smoked, this drug must be dried. The leaves, seeds, stems and flowers, are the ones that are dried before use. In addition to being smoked, this drug can be boiled and used as the tea. Others even mix it with food. Data from the government estimate that over 30 percent of all teenagers smoke this drug. This estimate is worrying. Some effects that can be seen in individuals who use this drug are reddening of eyes, excess appetite and high irritability. Individuals who are using this drug for the first time are high tempered. These are the kinds of signs that can be noticed. Other signs are high heart rate, high blood pressure, dry mouth and slow reaction to time. The effects of using Marijuana include; loss of time knowledge, random thoughts, paranoia, anxiety and memory loss which is short term. But it must be noted that Marijuana has medical advantages. These include immunity to mild illnesses and nausea. It also reduces neuropathic pain, glaucoma and eases bowel movement. If this drug was to be legalized, then a number of repercussions would occur (Merrill, 1999).
There are a number of advantages (pros) that would be felt if Marijuana is legalized. One, personal freedom would be promoted. As this drug is still illegal, it brings a debate over the government’s commitment to personal freedom (Bjornlund, 2012). Nevertheless, if it is legalized, personal freedom would be enhanced. Two, the moral stand and beliefs against the drug would be thwarted. Politicians usually use the moral stand against the drug to gain advantage. However, if it is legalized, they will lose their leverage and they will lose votes in the long run. Three, it will increase revenue to the government. Presently, the drug is illegal yet there is a thriving market for it. If it is legalized, the government can eliminate the gains in the black market and use it to its advantage, getting a lot of revenue from it. Four, legalizing the use of Marijuana will lead to the fall of the illegal drug industry. This will help in reducing of crimes.
The fifth advantage that will occur when this drug is legalized is regulation. The government will be able to regulate the use of this drug and enable the improvement of health of the users. Presently, it is illegal, but people still use it. As a result, the users suffer health problems. This can be reduced if the government comes in and helps these users. The sixth advantage is related to the first one. The government does not have the right to dictate what a person has the right to use or not. Therefore, personal freedom is limited when this drug is illegalized. If it is legalized, the government will not have the ability to dictate the rights of its citizenry. Last but not least, the seventh advantage of legalization of this drug is the fact that dealers will not have the ability to sell it to underage children (Bjornlund, 2012). There are reports that high school students obtain illegal drugs easier than tobacco and alcohol. Thus, if this drug is legalized, children will not obtain these harmful drugs.
Just like there are advantages to the legalization of Marijuana, there are disadvantages (cons), as well. The first disadvantage is that the state will be responsible for distributing a substance considered as immoral by majority of the citizens. This will make the government lose some credibility. The second disadvantage will be the creation of many users instead of reducing. Since the drug will be readily available, people will see it as an endorsement by the government. The third disadvantage is that users will have free will to be addicted. As discussed above, Marijuana is a highly addictive drug. In the case of its legalization, more people will get addicted freely than if the drug is illegal. The legalization makes it readily available. This promotes its use. And just like alcohol that is readily available and get many people addicted, it will a lot get people addicted (Bjornlund, 2012). This will result into a lot of social havoc to the community. For instance, since it distorts the mental capacity of the user, decision making wsill be poor. This may end up becoming a social break down of the community’s mental health.
The fourth disadvantage of legalization of Marijuana is that it will increase the government’s health budget.The drug is not only dangerous to the user but also to others, as well. Cases of sicknesses such as cancer will rise. This will increase health costs not only to the affected people with their families, but also on the government, as well. Children who have parents that are addicts will suffer a great deal and the government will have to cater for their needs. The fifth disadvantage is that it will lead to addiction to softer drugs than Marijuana. This is likely to happen as a result of the Gateway Theory which states that when the hard drugs become unaffordable, the users resort to cheaper drugs that are softer. Finally, the last disadvantage of legalization of the drug is that it will send a message to children that using drugs is acceptable. This will make these children to grow up knowing that drugs are okay. This will increase the use.
In conclusion, the pros and cons of legalization of marijuana have been discussed. Nevertheless, as noted, the pros to legalization are more than the cons to the legalization of Marijuana. Therefore, the government should legalize he drug. In as much as legalization will come with it disadvantages, the advantages are more. Thus, the benefits of legalization are more than the disadvantages.
Bjornlund, L. (2012). Marijuana. San Diego, CA: ReferencePoint Press.
Merrill, J. C., Kleber, H. D., Shwartz, M., Liu, H., & Lewis, S. R. (1999). Cigarettes, alcohol, marijuana, other risk behaviors, and American youth. Drug and Alcohol Dependence. doi:10.1016/S0376-8716(99)00034-4
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