Why Should Marijuana Be Legalized?
The question as to whether marijuana should become legal in the United States is one that has attracted much debate. Both sides of the divide utilize high amounts of contradicting research that in many cases fail to outline the ultimate truths towards it. Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana, traces its existence in 6000 B.C, where its seeds were primarily a source of food for people of China. There are numerous perspectives considered in this debate. However, according to the 2013 polls, for the first time, fifty-eight percent of Americans agree it should become legal mainly as an estimated thirty million people in America currently utilize it. Marijuana should be permitted in the United States as its legalization would lead to significant economic benefits, it would lessen cases of illegal drug trafficking and the existence of gangs. Medically, it would bring about several benefits, it is less harmful, and legalization would limit its use.
Reasons why Marijuana should be legalized
Marijuana brings about several medical benefits. For so long people have held on to a notion that marijuana is a harmful drug thereby, failing and ignoring its medical applications. Research by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana contains an active ingredient known as THC, which is useful in stimulating appetite and has treated glaucoma, pain, epilepsy and spastic muscles that occur due to the MS condition. Further studies have shown that marijuana has the potential to shrink and kill the cancer cell, reduce depression and alleviate anxiety, while its prescription to cancer patients reduces the effects of chemotherapy (Weiss, 2016). The Canadian Medical Association Journal has also documented positive contributions of marijuana towards HIV/AIDS patients. The Journal observed that its use induced appetite, prevented vomiting and wasting away of muscles and in some cases repressed the increase and development of the disease. Moreover, the absolute affirmation by various medical journals and organizations such as the American Cancer society that no individual has ever succumbed to marijuana use, therefore, makes it safer than twenty percent of prescription drugs in the market today.
Legalizing of cannabis sativa would elicit significant economic rewards to a government. Governments incur exorbitant costs in a bid to tame the use of cannabis. According to the Drug Policy Alliance, the United States spends about fifty-one billion dollars every year on the war on drugs, three point six billion dollars of which is on enforcing the cannabis law through arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning non-violent offenders. Nevertheless, despite the over three decades outlawing, about thirty million Americans still use it. Thus, legalizing it would enable the country to save this tremendous amount (Evans, 2013, pp. 2). Additionally, economists note that legalizing marijuana does not create it; instead, it recognizes its unwavering popularity as a commodity with about thirty million citizens utilizing it despite its illegal status. Therefore, according to them, the government could take up control of it and reap a revenue of about 6.2 billion every year from its taxation, if the same parameters of tobacco and alcohol applied (Evans, 2013, pp. 3-4).
Through legalization of marijuana, the country would experience limited cases of illegal drug trafficking and reduce the number of gangs. On average, marijuana farming and sale generates returns amounting to billions of dollars to drug cartels. The Mexican cartels that heavily control the sale of various drugs utilize a chunk of this amount to finance gang activities and expanding their drug territories (Kleiman, 2011, pp. 89). As a result, the country suffers a never-ending drug problem, gang wars as they fight for territories and criminal activities. Legalizing marijuana would introduce stiff competition to gangs and drug dealers, which would reduce their influence and effects on the streets. Due to the legalization progress, farmers and cartels that control the marijuana sale in recent years complain of slowing of their business after several American states legalize it. The sale of one kilogram dropped from a hundred dollars to twenty-five dollars, eliciting their opinions against legalization. Thus, authorization would further weaken the gangs and cartels alike, reduce criminal activities and eventually diminish underage usage.
Another reason cannabis sativa should receive legal acknowledgment is that it would reduce its consumption. The government controls with ease, the use, and access to substances they classify legal than the illegal ones. For instance, the U.S. government has done exceptionally well in limiting the access and use of alcohol for minors by instituting marketing campaigns that educate, informs and warn of the dangers and penalties of selling and use by juveniles. Thus, making accessibility of alcohol impossible for them. Henceforth, legalizing marijuana will enable the government set up standards, strict regulations, and price controls thereby, combating teenage access and use. For instance, researchers observed the dropping of cannabis use in Colorado to twenty from twenty-three percent by 2013, which is lower than the national range of twenty-four percent. Moreover, they have documented that youths are finding it harder to access marijuana in legalized states as compared to before where its access has reduced to roughly seventy percent down from ninety percent (Wong, Clark, & Harlow, 2016, pp. 38-39).
Marijuana is less harmful compared to alcohol and tobacco, thus should be legalized. American history has for long held to the prohibition of cannabis while ignoring apparent and increasing harm substances such as alcohol and tobacco cause. According to Alternet organization, marijuana presents less addictive tendencies as compared to alcohol and tobacco. Most health professionals and scientists agree that the evidence of addiction observed among marijuana users produce minimal to no problems, as its effects are primarily euphoric and pose no health effects. Alcohol and tobacco, on the other hand, cause serious health issues. For instance, they predispose a user to various types of cancers such as liver, stomach, mouth and throat cancers and heart diseases (Poindexter, 2014). Moreover, alcohol use causes deaths of one in every five users and fuels domestic violence, drunk driving and accidents among some of its users. However, the use of marijuana has not resulted in deaths or triggered any social effects. Thus, since it is evident that its effects are minimal compared to already legalized substances, there is no cause for its prohibition.
The debate on whether marijuana should be legalized should be outdated, and instead, it becomes legal wholly. By the United States government continually treating it as an illegal substance, it continues to spectacularly lose benefits such as significant contributions towards the medical field and minimal harm to its users; boosting of the economy, lessening the influence of gangs and drug trafficking, and plummeting its use. In my opinion, it is the high time that the federal government followed the example laid by various states to end marijuana prohibition.
- Evans, D. (2013). The economic impacts of marijuana legalization, 2-4.
- Kleiman, M. (2011). Surgical strikes in the drug wars: smarter policies for both sides of the border. Foreign Aff. 90, 89.
- Poindexter, O. (2014). 6 powerful reasons to legalize marijuana. From the New York Times. Alternet. Retrieved Octo. 9, 2017 from https://www.alternet.org/drugs/6-powerful- reasons-new-york-times-says-end-marijuana-prohibition
- Weiss, S. (2016). Researching the potential medical benefits and risks of marijuana. National Institute on Drug Abuse. Retrieved Oct. 9, 2017 from https://www.drugabuse.gov/about- nida/legislative-activities/testimony-to-congress/2017/researching-potential-medical- benefits-risks-marijuana
- Wong, K., Clark, C., and Harlow, G (2016). The legalization of marijuana in Colorado: The Impact. Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug and Trafficking Area, 4, 38-45.