Legalization of marijuana
by charlottelapointe on September 19, 2016 - 7:17pm
The legalization of marijuana is a very controversial subject in our society. Although it may be legalized in many places, like Alaska, Colorado, Oregon, Washington, Uruguay and the District of Columbia, many places, like Canada, China, Denmark, Egypt, France, Ireland and Thailand strictly prohibit it. The debate continues about what is the right decision.
In the article “The Legalization Juggernaut”, by Christopher Beach and William Bennett, the authors are against legalization of marijuana. First of all, the legalization of marijuana would increase drug consumption. Since marijuana wouldn’t be illegal anymore, many people that respected the law previously might experiment to see if it was beneficial for them. For example, in Alaska, after the legalization of marijuana, the use among teens jumped to twice the national average. Second of all, marijuana has deleterious effects on consumers. A study showed that marijuana users developed a brain abnormality in the parts of the brain that deals with motivation and memory. Also, according to the American Medical Association: "Heavy cannabis use in adolescence causes persistent impairments in neurocognitive performance and IQ, and use is associated with increased rates of anxiety, mood, and psychotic thought disorders." Since human life is fundamentally valuable, it is not ethical to legalize this drug that can end lives. Finally, the consumption of marijuana can lead to the consumption of harder and more dangerous drugs. Legalization of marijuana would violate the moral claim “do no harm” since it can put people’s lives at risk. People who use marijuana are more likely to use other drugs than people who do not consume marijuana. Values against the legalization of marijuana would be security and order.
In the article “Should Pot Be Legal?” by Thomas G. Donlan, there are many arguments for the legalization of marijuana. First of all, the legalization would greatly help the economy because of the tax revenue. According to the Libertarian Cato Institute, states could raise a total of about 3 billion dollars from marijuana taxes. Also, the legalization of pot would be one step closer to putting an end to American street gangs and Mexican drug cartels. Marijuana has some health benefits. It is known to reduce stress and and help to relieve the pain and suffering of cancer patients. Denying the use of marijuana to these patients would be a violation of their rights, respect and individual freedom. It would contradict the moral claim “Respect people’s autonomy”. Furthermore, the legalization of marijuana would help deal with overcrowding in prisons since 8% of all U.S. prisoners are convicted for marijuana offenses. With this legalization, police officers could concentrate on more important crimes like predatory criminals, terrorism etc. Values for the legalization of marijuana would be adventure, autonomy, creativity, individual freedom, responsibility and pleasure.
The government has to choose whether to legalize this substance and possibly put people’s lives in danger because kids would easily have access to marijuana and people could become more easily addicted. However, this decision also has to respect people’s individual rights and beliefs and to give autonomy to the society while at the same time maintaining control. There is a very controversial line between security and individual freedom.
In conclusion, I believe marijuana should be legalized because I find the benefits outweigh the risks. Marijuana is just like alcohol, people have to learn to use it in moderation. The fact that it is illegal does not prevent people from already consuming it. Decriminalizing marijuana would help many sick patients to relieve their pain, it would decrease the population in prisons, it would also create tax revenue which could greatly help governments while at the same time reducing the number of street gangs. Preventing people from consuming marijuana in the comfort of their own homes is a violation of their individual freedoms. It is the government’s job to ensure a secure, safe and productive society, but there are other ways of doing this like creating specific laws regarding marijuana without completely banning it. Would the legalization of marijuana help to reduce the consumption of more dangerous drugs?
Bennett, William, and Christopher Beach. "The Legalization Juggernaut." The Weekly Standard May 05 2014: 18-20. ProQuest. Web. 11 Sep. 2016.
Donlan, Thomas G. "Should Pot be Legal?" Barron's 93.22 (2013): 25-7. ProQuest. Web. 12 Sep. 2016.