Drugs that cause addiction and have negative effects health has been illegalized in most constitutions. These drugs are seen to have minimal benefits and enormous side effects. Among drugs that have been illegalized include: heroin, cocaine and marijuana among others. On the other hand those that are legalized include tobacco and alcohol. This research paper main interest is in the legalization of marijuana.
Marijuana has been illegalized because it is considered to be risk factors in people’s health and is believed to temper with the brain. It is also associated with criminal acts such as gang behavior and is discouraged. The purpose of this research paper is to address the reasons why marijuana should be made legal.
Among the reasons that support the legalization of marijuana include: the medical basis that marijuana has some benefits and that the state could gain revenue from the trade of marijuana as opposed to the costs incurred in the implementation of the laws against use the controlled drug. Furthermore, the legalization would enable the state to monitor and introduce legal outlets that would enforce the correct use of the drug (Barnes: 11).
Arguments against marijuana
Medical reasons against use of marijuana as medically unfit to use
In the argument against marijuana to be made illegal, Barnes (9) ascertains that marijuana should not be made legal in the medical field. There are certain cases that marijuana has negatively affected the immune system of the person taking the drug. In other cases, side effects like the damage of the brain and poisonous forms have occurred.
Testing must be done
Before marijuana is fully accepted as a medication, extensive testing of the drug must be done to establish the adverse effects as well as the benefits. This is because the state has the responsibility of ensuring that the drug is harmless before legalizing it. The state can consider thorough investigations before it is legalized. They may also consider what other institutions have assessed and made conclusions about the use of the drug (Barnes 11).
Measurements of elements contained in marijuana
Another reason against the use of marijuana in the medical field is the inability to have power over the purity of the drug. Marijuana is not a synthetic drug and hence it may be difficult to establish control over the natural growing marijuana. It may also develop other challenges concerned with the way productions and distribution of the drug.
However, this argument is challenged with the tobacco industry where it has been established and seems to be doing well. This is because the manufacturers of tobacco have been able to follow directives as by the government and controlled it. So, if the same measures are employed with marijuana the control may be successful.
Marijuana should not be prescribed
In his argument against marijuana to be prescribed in medical institutions Barnes (12) disputes that the state will be able to uphold its uprightness in the testing of the drug. This is because it may not be able to follow keenly the patients under testing of marijuana for medical purposes and therefore may fail to accurately get the right assessment. This is because monitoring the marijuana consumers may be difficult, thus paralyzing the testing of the drug.
Marijuana is replaceable
Barnes (11) states that the medical field does consider the use of marijuana as unnecessary as there are other drugs that could replace it and have fewer side effects. Therefore, marijuana can be avoided and the alternative drugs be used in its place. Despite some medical practitioners ignoring the use of marijuana for cancer cases like vomiting, patients have proffered marijuana to the synthetic drugs. In other cases marijuana has been argued to be of benefit to cancer patients as well as other diseases (Cervantes: 6).
Marijuana may be misinterpreted to be safe on human health
Barnes (15) mentions that if marijuana is legalized for medical reasons it may be misinterpreted by the public. This is because they may consider use of marijuana safe for their health following the states approval for medical use. As a result, marijuana would be used for leisure hence create more health problem among the public especially if excessively smoked.
Illegal businesses will be encouraged
If legalized, businesses will be set up to sell marijuana. The traders will sell it assuming that it helps cancer patients whereas just a few may benefit. This is because the people selling may be unauthorized to sell. This implies that those taking the drug may lack monitoring from a professional in the medical field hence the treatment may be inadequate or in excess or even wrong. Consequently, the state may welcome more harm instead of good.
Marijuana is different from alcohol
Smith (8) argues against marijuana saying that marijuana is harmful to health just like cigarettes. When smoked after a long time the person may develop lung problems. For expecting mothers smoking may lead to death of the fetus or cause births with deformities.
Marijuana be used only when necessary
Despite the fact that legalized marijuana may bring more evil than good, the state can consider the use of marijuana for medical situations that require the specific intervention of the drug. The use of the drug will purely be made possible by a qualified professional who by careful consideration of all options recommends the use of marijuana. Therefore, the government should not abolish the use marijuana even for medical reasons.
Arguments for marijuana
Marijuana does not cause health problems
Marijuana rarely causes biological problem. The persons using marijuana cannot be affected in the mind destroy the immune system or transfer effects to through inheritance. However, persistence use of marijuana can make one suffer from bronchitis if they smoke it.
This is a preventable cause because marijuana can be consumed in food for instance baked products. Additional marijuana is not known to cause serious illnesses like those caused by other drugs like cocaine. Marijuana cannot cause death if simply taken in large quantities (Legalization of marijuana.com Para 8).
On the contrary Stimson says that “the scientific knowledge is clear that marijuana is addictive and that its use significantly impairs bodily and mental functions. Marijuana use is associated with memory loss, cancer, immune system deficiencies, heart disease and birth defects, among other conditions. Even where decriminalized, marijuana trafficking remain a source of violence, crime and social integration” (p. 1)
Marijuana is a source of revenue
Another reason why marijuana should be legalized is that it is a source of revenue for the government and a source of income for the individual. Those trading marijuana gain profits that can support the family besides paying all the taxes. When the breadwinner is arrested for being in possession of the illegal drug, the family suffers. Children are transferred to children’s home separating them from their parent (Legalization of marijuana.com Para 5).
The other concern that is raised as a source of income is the spread of drug network in the name of legalized trade. Stimson (2) notes that legalization of marijuana may lead to expansion of the drug associations that sell drugs under ground. This may be an opportunity for them to sell other drugs that have much worse adverse effect. In addition, the groups selling drugs may end up selling it to underage children who should be protected from taking the drug.
Marijuana has medical benefits
As Barnes (8) point out, marijuana can be used for medical treatment of some illnesses and therefore should be legalized. Marijuana may have fewer side effects when compared to other drugs in the medical field when used to treat a certain illness. As a matter of fact, marijuana as a medical drug would work effectively and be the best drug for particular patients. For instance, marijuana is very effective in managing nausea in patients and the side effects can be tolerated to treat this symptom.
Marijuana get equal treatment as alcohol and tobacco
Gieringe (2) supports the legalization marijuana just like other drugs that have been legalized like the prominent tobacco and the consumption of alcohol. Like other drugs it has benefits and short comings which in most cases may be equal to those of the legalized drugs.
Furthermore, the use of marijuana hardly encourages the use of much superior drugs and therefore should be considered safe for the users. Another consideration is that the consumers of marijuana are not involved in unlawful behaviors and thus it is unfair to consider those consuming it to be criminals.
Stimson (3) argues against the treatment of marijuana as being similar to alcohol. In his article, he makes it clear that although both marijuana and alcohol have similar side effects, alcohol have adverse effects that are less acute as those of marijuana. On further considerations, alcohol is more widely accepted in many cultures of the world and accepted by many. Legalizing the drug would therefore go against many cultures and societies.
Report findings from the COMPAS (2) reveal that most people believe that crime will increase if marijuana is legalized. Others strongly believe that it will increase consumption behavior and some people will develop dependency. The results of being dependent will be an increase in people with deteriorating health.
Crime is believed to increase because the people who have developed dependency must keep taking the drug. Since the drug is costly, they look for more money after they have used whatever they had. Consequently, the persons may neglect their obligations perhaps in the family or at work to acquire the drug. This is undesired in the society because it affects the economy of an individual negatively.
Retractions lead to increased consumption
The individuals who are use marijuana controllably remain capable of driving as well as remain not addicted. Driver’s judgment on the road is not affected and therefore those under the influence of the drug can drive safely. For this reason, Gieringe (2) argues that restricting the marijuana will lead to increased consumption. This is because it is impossible to eradicate societal vices as they tend to increase when prohibited. Therefore, it is appropriate to legalize marijuana.
Illegal measures have failed
Punishments given for being in possession or using marijuana are futile. Regardless of whatever measures the state puts to control the use of prohibited drugs like marijuana, the public continues the consumption. Gieringe (4) indicates that strict punitive measures do not deter the users from using it.
In most cases they have secretive ways of producing and selling the same as well as consume it without being noticed. It is necessary to consider that consumption of the drug is an individual choice hence limiting or availing the drug may not be the factors to consider but rather it is an individual choice.
An example of the case of California
According to Gieringe (5) the law against the use of marijuana turned to be ineffective. The law was introduced with an aim to stop the broadening of the consumption as was introduced by a group of people. Following prohibition, the drug gained prominence as many learned to use. Apart from the consequences illegal marijuana on the people, the government used a lot of funds to curb the problem of illegal drugs.
When the public is introduced to prominent drug use Stimson (6) insists that a majority become addicted. Accordingly, the brain is affected making them unable to perform like other members of society, who do not use the drug. As a result, the affected at times have little ability to learn as before and so students who take drugs discontinue education for failure or inability to concentrate. The people who work and have jobs most often fail to perform well and are relieved from work.
Legalizing marijuana would contradict the law. Most governments have prohibited the production, distribution and consumption of illegal drugs. A law that would legalize one of the controlled drugs would send a message that with time even other drugs can be made legal. The argument is that the law would contradict itself since some of the other illegal drugs posses same adverse effects as those of marijuana (Stimson: 8). Instead the law should remain constant so that such laws do not fail as Rosenthal & Kubby (174) notes.
The budget after legalization of marijuana
Legalizing marijuana not only has advantages in the decrease in unlawful activities but also bring economic benefits in the budget of the state. Miron (2) indicates that the budget drastically incur large expenditure in the implementation of laws against marijuana.
This is opposed to the fact that, if legalized, marijuana such costs would not be realized and the state would therefore gain revenue for transactions involved in marijuana. Caputo and Brian (480) also point out that the sales made in the illegal sale of marijuana are not taxed. If the government would implement taxation, then the state would have increased revenue.
Some of the costs are as follows: The police are funded by the state budget to conduct arrests of those found with marijuana. Other cost is spent in the justice system. After the sent the criminal to prison another cost is incurred. This cost can be scraped off and the government would gain instead (Miron: 2).
Control Measures by the state
Upon legalization there should be restrictions that the state can enforce to monitor the production distribution and consumption of marijuana. First, it can consider making the any individuals who is concerned with marijuana trade to obtain a license given the state. Additionally, the concerned people must surrender the marijuana before selling for inspection of its contents and grading.
This will make it possible for the state to standardize the product assess whether there are harmful contents and allow only the safe product to be sold. Upon the assessment for the elements, the trader will then be taxed. Selling will also be done by authorized persons through specific channels. As with the use of other tobacco, it can be sold to adults in specific areas at a particular time.
Obtaining of a licenses should not be made difficult by the state or remain within the reach of a few. Those who wish for a medium scale business can be allowed to have such licenses. It may also be relevant to consider allowing individuals to plant some marijuana for own consumption although in small quantities as allowed by the state. This is similar to the home made wine made for own use and is also in line with individual liberties.
The challenged face with implementing the home grown marijuana is the control of the plant in terms of production. Another challenge is to be able to discourage children from accessing and using the drug before they are of the legal age Stimson (2). Punitive measures can also be made similar to those of the tobacco trade where the trader forfeits the license and risks being fined if they fail to adhere to rules.
Benefits of legalizing marijuana
The state will have reduced expenditure concerned with the unlawful trade of marijuana. This implies that, there will be fewer criminals the laws against will have been withdrawn. Therefore, the responsibility of taking the drug will be left upon individual judgment and for medical interventions.
More individuals will conform to the regulations about the consumption and encourage legal trade as opposed to illegal trade. The monitored distributers will make it impossible for people bellow the recommended age to obtain the drug. In addition, the quality and elements in the plant will be assessed and thus individuals will obtain safe marijuana. Lastly, the distributors will pay levy just like other businesses (Gieringer: 10).
Gieringe (7) notes that marijuana can be made legal and most problems associated with the consumption would be eliminated. If licensed individuals would be allowed to produce the crop and sell it through controlled channels of adults then the problems of misuse would decline.
There would be revenue generated and some individuals would support their families without fear of separation due to arrests. The drug can be categorized in the same group as alcohol and tobacco and receive equal treatment. With time, the sale will decline and be similar to that of tobacco. The production will also decline with the increase in production and lowering of prices. Consequently, the government will gain taxes from the sale as it loses in the illegal trade of marijuana.
The use of marijuana has adverse effects that are undesirable. The negative effects they have on human health when used for a long time are to be avoided by moderate use of the substance. Criminals are known to be drug users of among others marijuana hence it bring social evils. Since it damages the brain, students suffer and drop from school while those working fail to keep up to the task.
Although, those who are associated with marijuana are thought to be criminals the society can view them differently and legalize the use of the drug while monitoring its use. Marijuana has medical benefits and should be considered. The state also benefit from the taxes collected from the legal sale of marijuana.
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Caputo, Michael and Brian, Ostrom. “Potential Tax Revenue from a Regulated Marijuana Market: A Meaningful Revenue Source.” American Journal of Economics and Sociology, 1994, 53, 475-490.
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