TheMarijuana Prohibition

Marijuana has been used for centuries and it is grown in differentparts of the world (DanielsFund Ethics Initiative 1).It is believed to contain a chemical known as tetrahydrocannabinol(THC) that is deemed to have the impact of causing mind-alteringstates to the users. Also, it is used because of its psychoactiveeffects for example, it is used in inducing variations in feel andconsciousness, as well as relaxing and calming down the nerves. Thus,marijuana has been considered as a recreational drug because of thehigh number of individuals who use the drug so as to seek itspsychoactive impacts. In the United States, legalization of the drughas become an issue as people attempt to understand the harmfulimpacts as well as the benefits associated with using the drug. Inevery forty-eight seconds, there is a person who will get arrestedfor possession of marijuana.Theenforcement of marijuana prohibition results in the arrest of morethan 620,000 individuals per year. This number is far more than thetotal number of arrestees for all violent crimes combined includingmurder, rape, robbery. The experiment of marijuana prohibition hascost many people’s freedom. Does prohibition of marijuana reallydecrease drug use? Especially since the two most deadly drugs inAmerica are legal. Advocates for marijuana legalization posit thatwhether the direct costs of legalizing marijuana outweigh benefitsdepends on different concerns. One of the concerns is the projectedsavings from mitigated spending on criminal justice costs ofmarijuana law enforcement as well as revenue losses from shifts inpolicies of law enforcement. Another concern is the estimatedrevenues from extra taxes and streams of income. Also, instant andestimated expenditures in addressing the known harms of usingmarijuana, as well as implementing and enforcing policy reforms.Furthermore, projected medical benefit in the use of marijuana isalso a critical issue (Burnham94).Today, substances like tobacco and alcohol remain legal and highlyprofitable since the government has come up with laws that tend tocontrol their use. It is surprising to see marijuana is still illegaldespite the benefits associated with it. The purpose of this reportwill be to discuss reasons for supporting the legalization ofmarijuana, why people are against its legalization, andcounterarguments for the illegality of marijuana.

Thereare several reasons why legalization of marijuana should beconsidered by the government, which will be discussed in this report.First, legalizing marijuana will help to keep less people behindbars. Secondly, legalizing marijuana can be beneficial since it canbe used for medical purposes. Finally, legalizing marijuana will havea positive impact on the American economy (Burnham98).More people should be aware of the law against the possession ofmarijuana since it is too harsh in America. The government shouldreduce the penalties for people caught with small amounts ofmarijuana. Currently, overcrowded jails are serious issues inAmerica. As I mentioned earlier, &quotThe nation`s law enforcementagencies are still arresting people for possession of marijuanaatnear high-record rates.” The U.S. government should not put so manypeople behind bars who do not pose a real peril to the wellbeing ofothers. Too many Americans are locked away, which has horribleeffects on the whole country. Many people’s lives will face hugeeffects resulting from holding them in jails due to the possession ofmarijuana. For instance, thesepeople will alwayshave trouble finding decent jobs, getting credit cards or evenrenting an apartment. Some people even have their children takenaway, and they could depend on their children for a livelihood in thefuture. It is really unfair to most marijuana users who have beentreated like hardened criminals. This is such a waste of humanpotential. The current penalties against marijuana actually make itmore damaging than the use of the drug itself. It is important forthe government to develop laws that would ensure that individualsthat are found possessing marijuana do not spend time behind bars.This would be critical in mitigating the running costs of thecorrection centers since there would be less people held in thecorrection centers. This can only be accomplished if marijuana wasmade legal by the government. Therefore, legalization of marijuanawould help in keeping fewer individuals behind bars, which would havean overall benefit to the economy (Morgan64).

Medical marijuana is always a strong argument for legalization.Marijuana does have medicinal benefits. Pain is the main reasonpeople request marijuana as a prescription. As research shows “TheFDA has tested the success of marijuana and has established that thecannabinoids are significant in treating pain associated withpostoperative recovery, chemotherapy, and spinal cord damage, as wellas naturopathic pain, which is regularly experienced by patientshaving metastatic cancer, multiple sclerosis, and diabetes. Itassists with relieving pain, nausea, glaucoma, spasticity, as well asmovement disorders.” (Federal Drug Administration 2).Another research shows that “Cannabis has been indicated to bebeneficial for a number of regular symptoms and complications in HIVinfections for example, poor desire for food and neuropathy. Thisstudy had an aim of investigating symptom management with cannabis.Following the Ethics Committee approval, HIV-positive individualsattending a vast clinic were recruited into an anonymouscross-sectional questionnaire study. Up to one-third (27%) reportedusing marijuana for treating symptoms. Patients also reportedenhanced appetite (97%), nausea (93%), anxiety (93%), paresthesia(85%), nerve pain (90%), depression (86%), and muscle pain (94%).Most cannabis users (47%) indicated associated memory decline.Symptom control using cannabis is extensive among HIV outpatients. Avast number of patients indicated that cannabis enhanced symptomcontrol” (“Cannabis Use in HIV”). People use marijuana in oneway or another for their health, and it could improve the quality oftheir life and maintain their health, even actually could keep themalive. People should have the right to seek health in their own way.Research has already proved that marijuana has medicinal value, andit should not be held from the patients any longer. Therefore, it iscrucial to consider legalizing marijuana so as to allow patients whodesire to use it for medicinal purposes.

If marijuana became legal, it would have huge economic benefitsfor the United States. The government could take marijuana out ofthe black market to the public. Marijuana is the most widely useddrug in the U. S. The demand for the substance is so lofty that therewill always be a supply for it due to the returns that can beobtained. Why must the supply be a secretive black market guided bycriminals? Most marijuana is sold almost entirely on the blackmarket, and a fully legalized marijuana market could be a hugeopportunity for increasing income to the Americans. There aremillions of marijuana smokers in the United States. Marijuanalegalization offers a significant advantage legalizing marijuanawould benefit states by providing them with the much-needed taxrevenue. Legalization of marijuana would also aid in putting criminalentities out of business since they operate in the black market. Areport by Power (1) argues thatlegalization would help to make an additional $5 billion per year incase the government taxed marijuana at charges similar to alcohol andtobacco” (“Pot Legalization”). Legalization would also provideopportunities for economic improvements in local communities. Some ofthe income has been spent on education and schools. It also saves thesocial costs of the current criminal prohibition system. The amountof revenue from taxing marijuana can improve the economic growth andstability. Furthermore, legalizing marijuana would assist inimproving the economy since there would be budgetary savings (Evans2).Budgets associated with criminal justice are usually not listed,especially the costs involved in enforcing drug laws. According topolicy papers written by Jeffrey Miron, there are expendituresassociated with the criminalization of marijuana. Miron argues thatthe legalization of marijuana will help in mitigating the need forjudicial, prosecutorial, police resource, and correctional spendingby about $7.7 billion to $13.7 billion annually (Evans3).These budgetary savings can be used in other areas, which would helpin boosting the economy.

Ijust do not see how a substance that is no more dangerous thanalcohol or cigarettes, and especially has medical benefits stillremains illegal in most states. Cigarettes have been associated withdiseases such as throat and lung cancer, and have no benefits whensmoked by the users. Alternatively, alcohol is also associated withharming the users since it acts as a risk factor to diseases such asblood pressure. Also, alcohol is not associated with any benefit tothe user unlike marijuana. Therefore, it is interesting that suchthose drugs that do not have any benefits to the users have beenlegalized, whereas marijuana is still kept illegal in most of theAmerican states despite its benefits. I think the government shouldlook at this issue and make marijuana legal. That is why I would liketo take every opportunity to engage with more people about thisissue. However, marijuana use has negative aspects just like alcoholand tobacco use does. For that reason, a lot of people think thatmarijuana should not be legalized. Some people think marijuana is abad influence that could damage the user, and that legalization ofmarijuana will also change the easiness with which one would possiblyuse the substance. People also think that marijuana, as aprescription, is dangerous to the patient. Furthermore, itslegalization would endanger public safety and jeopardize youngindividuals.

ManyPeople think that marijuana user could cause potential danger topublic safety. People who use it tend to lose memory, some experiencepanic attacks during consumption, and disorientation moments afterhaving used it. For this reason, many crimes and accidents have beencommitted by its influence (Bennettand Robert 102).In many cases, marijuana has been found within the bodies of peoplewho committed a crime or got into a car accident. Just like alcohol,the use of marijuana may result in impairing the user. This meansthat in case a person drives under the influence of marijuana, he/shemay be more prone to experiencing a collision and has the potentialof harming a fellow road user. Also, marijuana use when one isperforming a job affects the user in performing the job efficiently.For instance, the use of marijuana can affect the efficiency of thework done by care providers, doctors, and pilots among others. Thisrepresents damage and a greater danger not only for the person whoconsumes it but also for the people around them. This is really justindividual cases, just like people under the influence of alcohol.Every person is expected to have personal control. Just like thegovernment makes special laws controlling alcohol, laws should be putin place to control marijuana use. For instance, whoever causes anyaccidents under the influence of marijuana may be punished up to acertain level. That way people will be aware of their publicbehaviors and control themselves even when they are under theinfluence of marijuana the same way they do when under the influenceof alcohol. This is just too weak of a reason to keep marijuanaillegal.

Anotherreason why some people are against the legalization of marijuana isthat its legalization is likely to jeopardize the young individuals.Individuals have argued that the legalization of marijuana is likelyto increase its abuse. The legalization would make the drug moreaccessible to people, a move that would increase its use (Bennettand Robert 86).This implies that even the youths would be in a position to accessit. The use of marijuana by the youths is likely to jeopardize thelives of the youths who are relied on by the society in the future.When smoked at a young age, marijuana has the potential of affectingthe development of the brain. Therefore, if smoked by the youths,marijuana can destroy brain development, and this would have thepotential of harming the future of the youths. When the future of theyouths is hurt, also the future of the society becomes hurt. Thisargument concerning why marijuana should stay illegal is notconvincing enough because just like alcohol, it is possible tocontrol the youths from accessing the drug. Alcohol has beenlegalized for long, and there are laws that guard the youths againstaccessing it. Also, parents and dispensaries have the responsibilityof ensuring that the young individuals do not access alcohol. Thesame case can be done on the side of marijuana in case it was madelegal the government can develop laws that bar the access of thedrug to the youths. Furthermore, parents and dispensing centers canensure that the youths do not access the drug. Thus, the legalizationof the drug is still a valid argument based on this argument.

Lastly, a lot of people think that the use of marijuana, as amedicine, is harmful to a patient’s health. Smoking any substanceis likely to have an adverse and life-threatening impact on aperson’s respiratory health. The use of marijuana has theprobability of impacting a person’s IQ, memory, problem-solvingskills, and judgment. In different cases, marijuana has beenassociated with an increased likelihood of causing mental illnesshowever, there is scarce scientific evidence to verify that the useof marijuana can cause mental illness such as schizophrenia andpsychosis (Uschmann106).Medical marijuana has been indicated to have better outcomes comparedto prescription drugs for some patients. There are manypharmaceutical drugs used for treatment that are very dangerous andaddictive. Many people have died from using prescription drugs in theworld. There are no deaths from marijuana use anywhere. “In 10,000years of known use of cannabis, there has never been a single deathattributed to marijuana” according to Dr. Lester Grinspoon,professor emeritus at Harvard Medical School. Studies have calledmedical marijuana an effective treatment for glaucoma, one of theleading causes of blindness in the world. Researchers indicate thatmarijuana helps reduce and relieve the intraocular pressure whichcauses optic nerve damage” (“Medical Marijuana”). Currently,medical marijuana is legal in many states, and more states shouldpass laws that allow people to use medical marijuana. Individualpatients are requesting medical marijuana for different conditions.At this point, it is important to let the patient vote on whether touse marijuana for medical purposes or not. Those who argue aboutmarijuana being a dangerous drug probably have never been throughwhat those patient have suffered from. Patients should absolutelyhave the right to request whatever kind of medicine helps them.

Manypeople are still struggling with the concept of legalizing marijuanabecause they are still weighing the costs as well as the benefitsassociated with the legalization of marijuana. Looking at the costsand the benefits associated with the legalization of marijuana, Itend to think that the legalization of marijuana is likely to cut ondifferent costs such as the costs associated with the judicialprocesses and keeping those arrested because of marijuana in thecorrectional centers. Moreover, other benefits such as patientshaving an alternative to using marijuana for medication purposes alsocome with the legalization of marijuana. Despite having an option ofweighing the costs and benefits of legalizing marijuana, mostAmericans are still struggling with the issue. However, Americanshave learned from the past that prohibition as a solution to a drugproblem does not work.Marijuanaprohibition results in more problems than it attempts to solve. Thiswas initially the case with alcohol during its prohibition, andeventually, the government had to repeal it because the governmentrecognized that people are willing to do almost everything to get acommodity they desire, even if it means breaking the law. Today,Americans are at the same point again, when it comes to the use ofmarijuana and its legalization. Through legalizing marijuana, theAmerican society can reap or enjoy different benefits. Legalizingmarijuana can change American lives in multiple ways. For instance,it can be used for medical purposes, where it would be used by HIVpatients and other patients who experience pain during their cause oftreatment. Also, it could help to decrease the number of people injail, and increase revenue in the United States from taxation andcreating new jobs. These immeasurable benefits outweigh the harmfulimpacts that the drug may have on the Americans, which makeslegalization an important consideration by the American government.Furthermore, it can be argued that these immeasurable benefits cannotbe associated with the legalized drugs such as alcohol or cigarettesbecause marijuana is likely to have an immeasurable number of usersin case it became legalized. The Government should have great controlover marijuana, and marijuana legalization offers significantadvantages. Should the United States end this war by legalizingmarijuana? This is a question that the government needs to look atvery keenly in case it wants to enjoy the benefits associated withmarijuana.

WorksCited

Bennett,William J, and Robert A. White. Goingto Pot: Why the Rush to Legalize Marijuana Puts America at Risk., 2015. Print.

Burnham,Alex. Benefitsof Legalizing Marijuana.Munich: GRIN Verlag GmbH, 2011. Print.

DanielsFund Ethics Initiative. Shouldmarijuana be legalized in the United States.University of New Mexico, 2013. Print.

Evans,David G. The Economic impacts of Marijuana Legalization. TheJournal of Global Drug Policy and Practice,2014. Print.

FederalDrug Administration. &quotInter-Agency Advisory Regarding ClaimsThat Smoked Marijuana is Medicine,&quot April 20,2006, retrievedfromhttp://www.fda.gov/NewsEvents/Newsroom/PressAnnouncements/2006/ucm108643.htm

Morgan,Kayla. LegalizingMarijuana.Edina, MN: ABDO Pub. Co, 2011. Print.

Powers,Lucas. Potlegalization coming, so stop possession arrests, say some.CBC News, 2016. Retrieved fromhttp://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/cannabis-legalization-arrests-charges-enforcement-1.3545800

Uschmann,Paul. LegalizingMarijuana.New York: Infobase Pub, 2009. Print.