The debate on whether to legalize the use of marijuana or not in the United States intensifies. In recent, several states such as Colorado, Washington, and Oregon have signed into law the legal use of marijuana which has further deepened the debate on the use of this weed (Swift 97). The opponents of the legalization of marijuana assert that just like cocaine, bang, and, heroin, marijuana is addictive and associated with criminal activities such as drug trafficking, human trafficking, and theft. On the other hand, proponents of marijuana use argue that it is entirely surprising that a country that has legalized tobacco, alcohol, and other addictive substances is starred in a stigma of marijuana legalization yet the other substances have the same effects on individuals and society. As such, they argue that just like other regulated drugs in the country, marijuana should be legalized and controlled. Indeed, it will be unfair to prohibit marijuana when other substances that have the same effects on people are allowed. Further, marijuana has been medically proved to be of importance, hence, its legalization will be of great significance to the health fraternity. Therefore, although it has some side effects just like other drugs, marijuana should be legalized following its medical use and economic importance.
Reasons Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized
First individuals deserve the freedom to use marijuana, therefore, it should be legalized. The first and foremost reason to legalize marijuana is that there is no perfect motive for it to be illegal. Instead of asking why marijuana be legalized the right question is be why it should marijuana be illegal. According to Swift, and from philosophical perception, individuals have the right to make their choices, and the government or the states have only the authority to limit such opportunities in a manner that they do not jeopardize individuals’ states of living (101). However, the right to choices does not apply to marijuana. Therefore, individuals have the right to decide whether or not they should use marijuana, and the government should allow them as long as they do not harm others.
Medical Importance of Marijuana
Unlike some of the drugs like tobacco and alcohol, marijuana has been proved to be of medical importance. According to the study that was done by Adler and James, marijuana has several compounds that can be used as medicine (866). Specifically, it has been proved to reduce the loss of appetite, nausea, vomiting caused by dangerous diseases such as HIV/AIDS. On the same note, it has been medically shown in the treatment of depression and other mood disorders that are symptoms of most diseases. In that regard, its legalization will be of help to the health institution by reducing the current amount of money used to prevent nausea and treat dysphoria. Moreover, it will save the lives of most people since one does not have to go to the hospital to get medication on certain conditions that can perfectly be prevented by the use of marijuana.
How Can Marijuana Help the Economy?
One of the most important reasons why marijuana should be legalized is that it will improve the economy of the United States. A study conducted by Adler and James reveals that the marijuana trade is estimated at $113 billion which can bring $ 45 billion in revenues in taxes (867). According to Konrad and Alfred, the United States and even other countries are experiencing serious economic hurdles, hence, its legalization will boost the economy (822). Konrad and Alfred posit that, as it is now, the authority responsible for tax collections has no mandate to get the money from marijuana trades since it is illegal 57. On the other hand, Galston and Dionne say that making it illegal does not kill the trade (13). Therefore, it will be a wise idea for the government to legalize marijuana, and from it, get extra revenues that can be used to facilitate other projects such as drug abuse programs for the betterment of citizens and the community as a whole.
Additionally, keeping marijuana illegal is very expensive for any economy. According to the researchers, making marijuana legal would save lots of money. In America, all levels of the government are actively participating in the war against drugs yet at no one point, they have succeeded. The money used in prisons to feed accused people and other measures that have been put forward to fight marijuana is too much for a country that has other duties such as the provision of good medical services. Notably, a study conducted by Galston and Dionne, reveals that about $1 trillion annually is used to reconnoiter suspected traffickers, dealers, and users (11). In a nutshell, when the drug is legalized, the government shall save a lot of money that would be used to fund some important projects such as military services to protect citizens.
Marijuana and Religion
Another important reason to legalize marijuana is religious uses. America and most countries champion the freedom of worship by respecting the doctrines and the constitution of such religions as long as they do not harm their member and other people. Notably, some religions guide their followers to use certain substances. For example, Judaism and Christianity instruct members to take wine during some occasions. According to Galston and Dionne Rastafarians, Hindus, and Buddhists take marijuana as part and parcel of the religious and spiritual ceremonies (5). As such, these individuals have the freedom to exercise their religious rights just as others. Notably, the first amendment of the United States says that the government should not 'prohibit the free exercise of religion. In that regard, the government should pass laws to legalize marijuana use.
Marijuana Compared to Alcohol and Tobacco
Just like other legalized drugs but highly regulated like alcohol and tobacco, marijuana use should be allowed in the country. David Nathan, who has worked as a clinical psychiatrist for more than two decades, says that he has seen several lives being ruined with painkillers, cocaine, and alcohol. However, he says that the justice system has only pinpointed the cannabis weed, yet there are other drugs just like tobacco that are more harmful than marijuana. Also, tobacco, caffeine, and other refined sugar are among the most universally used, potentially habit-creating recreational elements. Surprisingly, all of them are left in people’s diet, only marijuana is singled out as illegal though other substances such as tobacco and alcohol are evidently more harmful (Konrad & Alfred 58). In a given situation, even sugar has got more threats to health states health than the pot.
Marijuana Legalization Effects on Crime
Lastly, by legalizing marijuana, it is believed that the high crime rates will reduce and free up some of the resources available. It is said that about one out of six cases in prisons are due to marijuana charges. It means that legalizing marijuana will reduce the high rate of crimes. On the same note, the prisons are full of individuals that are accused of cases of marijuana. This means that taxpayers are spending a lot of money feeding people who should be free. Konrad and Alfred posit that if these people are released to go back home, citizens will save a lot of money that is used to feed them (54). They will also work once they are free which then will boost the economy.
In conclusion, the time has reached to forget about The Federation Uniform Controlled Act Substance. There are robust and clear points that evidence the benefits of marijuana, hence, it should be legalized. According to the argument aforementioned in this paper, it is unblemished that it is a matter of time then the Unites States will authorize its use. While the Naysayers of marijuana assume that it is a drug that should be prohibited, its legalization is backed with some convincing points. Such points include the freedom to use any substance as long it does not harm people. Secondly, it will reduce the amount of money spent on law enforcement and other resources such as feeding the prisoners. Other than reducing the number of crimes, marijuana is also medically proven to be of importance. Moreover, just like alcohol and other drugs that are allowed in the country, marijuana should be legalized. Lastly, it will give other religions the right to use it as their spiritual substance.
Adler, Jonathan N., and James A. Colbert. "Medicinal use of marijuana polling results." New England Journal of Medicine 368.22 (2013): 866-868.
Galston, William A., and E. J. Dionne Jr. "The new politics of marijuana legalization: Why opinion is changing." Governance Studies at Brookings (2013): 1-17.
Kondrad, Elin, and Alfred Reid. "Colorado family physicians' attitudes toward medical marijuana." The Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 26.1 (2013): 52-60.
Swift, Art. "For the first time, Americans favor legalizing marijuana." Gallup Politics (2013).
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