The debate for and against the legalization of Marijuana has been one of the most controversial issue in politics in the recent past. Nonetheless, it can be noted that the use of marijuana for medical purposes has existed for thousands of years in many countries (Randall 34). However, in many of these countries, the use of marijuana has been illegal and it can be noted that the substance has been decriminalized in most of them. Nevertheless, in the recent past, some of the countries have started to come up with various legislation that are permitting the usage of marijuana for medical purposes only (Stampp 64). For instance in the US, it has been highlighted that the usage of marijuana is illegal in most of the states under the federal controlled substances Act of 1970 (Randall, 87).
Alice Wade smokes marijuana, recommended by her pain management physician, to help her chronic pain. Alice is suffering from chronic digestive problems, which causes her unbearable pain. Alice Wade uses the prescribed marijuana to magnify the effect of the painkillers and helps her use less of the pharmaceutical drugs and reduces the risks of addiction and digestive problems. Alice Wade cannot manage her pain without the use of Marijuana. She feels that it gives her a better quality of life where she can function normally on a daily basis. In terms of healthcare costs, Alice wade has suggested that marijuana has assisted her to save cost associated with treating some of the diseases since she can use marijuana locally. Furthermore, she alleges that hemp is useful as a source of fuel and it can be used to replace plastics, which are harmful to the environment. Alice Wade is example of how marijuana can also be used for medical purposes.
Marijuana (grass, pot, and weed) is a dry shredded green and brown mixture of stems, leaves .seeds and flowers which comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The main active ingredient or chemical is THC (delta -9 tetrahydrocannnabinol) which causes one to experience its ‘high”. Although illegal, Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the United States. Although legal in 10 states, medical marijuana has now been relegated to the control of the federal government. Medical marijuana is not considered an effective pain reliever. Former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders, said it perfectly; “The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”
Throughout recent years there has been endless arguments on whether marijuana should remain illegal or in fact become be legalized. Research shows that although marijuana can be linked to serious side effects the result of legalizing the popular drug could do endless effects for our economy. Marijuana is the largest cash crop produced in the US and nearly 69 million Americans over the age of 12 have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetime. (1) Many users say that do it because of the “high” sensation they receive from the THC. It has also been on record that people smoke because of social pressures or because they feel that it relaxes them and clears there worries. Alcohol and other similar drugs are known to have the same effects of clearing away ones problems and worries. However marijuana has no documented deaths while the legal drug such as alcohol has about 85,000 deaths annually (2). Based on the data it seems that marijuana should be the legal drug because of the less dangerous and life threatening effects. But this isn’t the case; alcohol is legal while cannabis is banned. Not everyone agrees with the law about marijuana being illegal and thus brought up a valid question, Should marijuana be legalized.
The proponents of legalization of marijuana have been arguing that there is a need of legalization of it due to a number of reasons. For instance, it has been suggested that marijuana has a lot of medical value. As it can be noted, the American Medical Associated argued that the drug should be legalized so as it can be used in the treatment of terminally ill diseases (Saffer 29). For instance, it has been highlighted that Aids patients say that the use of the substance usually stimulate appetites and hence when they use the drug, they will be able to fight the disease. On the other hand, it has been attributed that patients who suffer from glaucoma and have used marijuana have reported that it usually prevent them from going blind (Stampp 78). For the cancer patients, it has been said that marijuana usage alleviated the severe nausea that is often accompanies by chemotherapy and sometimes makes life saving treatment impossible (Saffer 56).
Marijuana (grass, pot, and weed) is a dry shredded green and brown mixture of stems, leaves .seeds and flowers which comes from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa. The main active ingredient or chemical is THC (delta -9 tetrahydrocannnabinol) which causes one to experience its ‘high”. Although illegal, Marijuana is the most commonly abused drug in the United States. The main mind-altering ingredient in marijuana is THC and is the ingredient that causes one to experience its “high” (3).
Altogether, it is evident that marijuana has a lot of medical use and hence it should be legalization. Furthermore, there are several dangerous products than marijuana such as cigarettes and alcohol, which are legal, and hence the proponents of legalization of marijuana term the law to the unjust. On the other hand, it has been suggested that marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substance known to man and hence it can be used within a supervised routine of medical care (Stampp, 2006). Likewise, statistic show that cigarette smoking and abuse of alcohol is harmful to a person health and many deaths have been associated with the use of these two substances but extreme smoking of marijuana only makes a person sleep. Therefore, there is a need of legalizing marijuana because when it is compared with alcohol and cigarettes, which is legal, marijuana is less fatal. According to research that was carried out by the American Medical Association, they indicated that the only confirmed negative effect of marijuana is caused by smoking it, since it contains three times more tar and five times more carbon monoxide than tobacco (Randall, 2007).
The critics against the legalization of marijuana argue that it is wrong for the legalization of marijuana due to a number of reasons. In the first place, they argue that by legalizing marijuana, crime rates will increase since a lot of criminal who have been caught in other criminal offences tend to use this drug. On the other hand, the opponents for the legalization of marijuana say that the government should not be involved with the distribution of a substance, which is considered immoral by the society, and therefore the government should not legalize it (Saffer 89). This is because, a substance that is seen by the society to be unhealthy should not be promoted by the government since the goals of the government is protecting the health of its citizens and by legalizing it, the government will fail to carry its roles in protecting the lives and health of its citizens.
Elsewhere, the opponents of legalization of marijuana have pointed that there are various social and health cost that would be incurred indirectly if marijuana is legalized and hence the costs will automatically outweigh the direct impact which will be created by legalizing it (Stampp 45). For instance, they opponents on legalization of marijuana have argued that there would be an increase in lung related ailments, especially lung cancer and this will make the government use a lot of money in treatment of diseases that are related to marijuana. In addition, since marijuana is addictive, many schoolchildren will drop out of school due to the use of the substance and other people will lose their jobs because of the effects associated with marijuana.
I do have questions about the platform to legalize marijuana. The million dollar media campaigning to legalize it by focusing on people suffering from illnesses and using marijuana for medical purposes to ease their discomfort from their diseases. There are social and cultural issues that also need to be addressed. These campaigns are sending the message to the youth in the country that using marijuana is harmless and will help with any pain one may be having. Because of the ads and the push to legalize marijuana, there has been an increase in the use among high school teens. By sending these messages out by mass media, are we denying drug problems in our country and actually encouraging using marijuana, which is illegal. We have a moral responsibility to protect our youth and these ads undermine the drug prevention efforts used to keep teens off illegal drugs.
While Marijuana has multiple reasons why it should be banned, One California’s prominent issues facing voters on the ballot is proposition 19. This proposition is to “Regulate Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010.” In America, today there are millions who frequently smoke marijuana. In addition there are millions more who smoke in social settings but not on a daily basis. Marijuana is prohibited and illegal however, the use, production and sale have not stopped. California however has come up with a proposition on legalizing the drug. Legalizing the drug can do endless help to our economy. Proposition 19 had three main reasons for why marijuana should be legalized. Tax money, potential money from criminal penalties and marijuana used for medical purposes.
In order to purchase this illegal drug, one has to find a drug dealer. Prohibition of marijuana has led to criminal penalties for over 75 years and yet over 25 million people annually purchase and use marijuana. Due to the U.S. policy on drugs, there is great emphasis on arresting individuals for smoking marijuana. 5.9 million Americans have been arrested on Marijuana charges since 1990. Marijuana violations in 2000 recorded over 734,498 arrests. The majority of the arrests were for simple marijuana possession violations. According to the FBI statistics, one marijuana smoker is arrested every 45 seconds in the U.S. The number of marijuana offense arrests for 2000 far exceeds the combined arrests for violent crimes. The illegal drug causes many inter city deputes over it between gangs as well. While law enforcements could be focusing on stopping murders and serious drug dealers and criminals, According to the book, Marijuana: a Look at the Scientific Evidence, “After the sale of all seized drug assets the U.S taxpayer spent about 20 billion per year just for the police enforcement and investigation of marijuana alone. This does not include the amount we pay for other drugs every year or for the incarceration of marijuana users and dealers.” If dollar saved on police enforcement of marijuana, is a dollar earned, then it would be the same about 20 billion dollars a year could be saved if marijuana was legal.
While the USA is in a current economic slump, we could really benefit from an extra 20 billion a year along with the relived stress of searching for illegal marijuana users. The legalization of marijuana to me would also get ride of some of the drug gangs fighting over marijuana everyday. Current drug gangs are making huge profits from selling and disturbing marijuana. Why couldn’t the economy make that money instead? The cost would be similar to the current cost; however, the profit would be going to the government in the form of tax revenue instead of to drug dealers. If we were to legalize marijuana, we would add significant taxes to any purchase of the drug. Just like cigarettes and beer people are still going to purchase them despite the tax. A professor at Harvard, Jeffery Miron, put the estimate at around $6.2 billion dollars a year in tax revenue if weed was legalized. Along with that 20 billion from criminal enforcement earlier, the economy would have a nice amount of money could help save / create more even more jobs, thus help bring our economy out of recession.
Although legal in 10 states, medical marijuana has now been relegated to the control of the federal government. Medical marijuana is not considered an effective pain reliever. Former US Surgeon General Jocelyn Elders said it perfectly “The evidence is overwhelming that marijuana can relieve certain types of pain, nausea, vomiting and other symptoms caused by such illnesses as multiple sclerosis, cancer and AIDS — or by the harsh drugs sometimes used to treat them. And it can do so with remarkable safety. Indeed, marijuana is less toxic than many of the drugs that physicians prescribe every day.”
I was not sure where I stood on the marijuana debate. I don’t smoke marijuana and I really didn’t know that so many people smoked it before doing this research. I would have to say that I now question why it is not legal. From my research, I know that is not as addictive as prescription drugs or alcohol. I know that it is sold by drug rings and they are making millions and causing many drug wars and deaths. I also know that it would be huge revenue for many states if it was legalized. In addition, it would benefit law enforcement and save millions in arrests, and incarcerations. A regulated legal market for marijuana would reduce the use of marijuana for underage teenagers and also lessen their exposure to more addictive illegal drugs. Should individuals be denied to use marijuana for medical purposes? What is the difference from taking a shot or pill for pain and smoking a joint of marijuana for pain relief? I do know that in order to legalize marijuana, the law would have to have set laws to regulate its use and distribution. The U.S. needs to legalize marijuana since people are going to smoke it, buy it and distribute it regardless. I say get smart and get the dealers out of the picture, save our law enforcement from spending most of their time arresting users, ease our over crowded jails and prisons. They should focus on the drugs that are really doing harm.
The economy can be greatly effected by in extra income and help increased jobs and get us out of any economic slump. The legalization of Marijuana would give the U.S. the opportunity to grow hemp as a valuable and diverse agricultural crop but the biggest obstacle is opposition to legal marijuana so the U.S. is not recognizing hemp as a valuable agricultural commodity. Although Marijuana has not been legalized in Canada and most European countries, they have still managed to support legal hemp cultivation. Recognizing the opportunity to develop hemp as a bio fuel and an alternative to oil, used as a fuel source and a way to reduce carbon emissions would also help the economy. Legalizing marijuana would simplify the burden of the hemp production in the United States.
In conclusion, it is evident that the debate on marijuana is a hot topic. However, from the analysis contained in this paper, it is evident that the advantages of legalizing the substance outweigh the disadvantages of legalizing it and hence there is a need of legalizing it. Furthermore, it is evident that marijuana has many uses especially medicinal uses and hence it is important to legalize it. Through passing legislation allowing the use of marijuana, the government will also be able to generate a lot of revenue and hence helping the economy of the country. Nonetheless, since there is no tangible evident showing that the use of marijuana causes death and it is not physically addictive like cigarettes and alcohol, I believe that it is high time for it to be legalized. Altogether, the issue of marijuana being an illegal substance does not have any form of validity and hence it should be legalized but its use should be somehow controlled.
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