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Marijuana Legalization in Texas

MarijuanaLegalization in Texas

MarijuanaLegalization in Texas

Drugabuse is among the most critical issues that have been troubling thelegislators, law enforcers, and the stakeholders in the health caresector. For an instant, the legalization of marijuana is currentlyone of the most debated issues. It is estimated that over 26 stateshave already legalized the use of marijuana in different forms, whilea couple of others are considering similar decisions. One of thestates that are considering marijuana legalization is Texas, wheremore than five bills have been tabled before the house. The objectiveof these bills is to reduce penalties for those found in possessionof the drug (Linley, 2016). Other bills focus on its legalization forthe medical purpose, while some stakeholders believe that no residentof Texas deserve to be incarcerated for a mere possession ofmarijuana. For example, many voters and legislators in Texasexpressed their interests in decriminalizing marijuana following thecase of Corpus Chris where the state spent a lot of money toprosecute the suspect (Wang &amp Herrera, 2014). The expression ofinterest by voters and legislators to legalize the drug in the statemakes it a controversial issue that should be studied in order toconsider the arguments raised by both sides. In this paper, anargument that the State of Texas should not legalize marijuana willbe advanced.

Argumentsagainst the Texas’ Legalization of Marijuana

Mentaland psychological effects

Bylegalizing marijuana, Texas will be allowing its residents to consumethe drug freely without taking account of its impact on human health.It has been confirmed by marijuana affects the mental health of theusers in an adverse way. For example, Brandford stated, “THC cantrigger a relapse in schizophrenic symptoms, according to NIDA” (p.1). The same study also indicated that the drug impairs the nervoussystem of the consumers. This is confirmed by the fact that itsconsumers experience difficulties in conducting motor tasks. Theyalso suffer from the impairment of the IQ, memory, and the cognitiveabilities (Brandford, 2015). Most importantly, these effects aremostly reported among the vulnerable populations, including women andchildren. The legalization of the drug will increase itsaccessibility to these vulnerable groups, thus subjecting them tolong-term mental as well as the psychological effects.

Therisk of overdose

Thelegalization of a strong drug (such as marijuana) is an indication ofirresponsibility on the part of the government. This is because itslegalization will motivate people to use it without the properprescription from qualified health care providers, which subjectcitizens to the risk of overdose. According to Brandford (2015)studies have already confirmed that the overdose of marijuana amongthe addicts living in states that have legalized it has become acommon problem and one of the key issues that are reported frequentlyin the health care facilities. This new trend has forced some states(including Colorado) that have already legalized the drug toreconsider their legislations in an effort to limit the quantities ofTHC that can be applied in foods to a maximum of 1.53 ounces(Brandford, 2015). This limit presents another challenge since itsenforcement could be costly and impossible. This implies that Texascould subject itself to similar difficult situations, in case thedrug is legalized.

Theaddictive nature of marijuana

Thestakeholders who support the use of marijuana for recreationalpurposes argue that it does not lead to addiction. However,scientific studies have confirmed that the drug has chemicals thataffect the human brain and subject the users to a serious problem ofaddiction (Longo, 2014). Most importantly, the fact that the drug ismostly consumed by the youths implies that the state could lose alarge proportion of its productive population that will be at a highrisk of addiction. The findings of a longitudinal study reported bythe National Institute on Drug Abuse (2016) indicated that theaddiction brought about by marijuana makes it a suitable gateway toother stronger substances.

Astudy indicated that the users of marijuana tend to develop alcoholdependence within the first three years (NIDA, 2016). The associationbetween the consumption of marijuana and entry into other substancesis attributed to the fact that the drug limits the reactivity of thedopamine reward system that is found in human brain (NIDA, 2016).This increases the vulnerability of users to other drugs. Thelegalization of marijuana will not only open the doors for its freeaccess, but also the increase in the population of the residentsaddicted to other illegal substances.

Counterarguments

Theparties that oppose the notion of marijuana legalization hold thatits consumption does not affect the mortal functions of the drivers,which leads to an argument that it does not increase fatal accidents.These opponents use the case study of Colorado where the staterecorded the lowest rate of fatal accidents following thelegalization of the drug (Balko, 2014). However, a comprehensive andobjective argument should be based on the findings of more than onestate. For example, the most recent findings indicated that the totalnumber of drivers who are involved in fatal accidents in the state ofWashington increased by more than 50 % immediately after themarijuana legalization (Ghost, 2016). The same study indicated thatdrivers found with high levels of THC and involved in fatal accidentswas 8.5 %, but increased to 17 % after legalization of the drug.Therefore, there is sufficient evidence to confirm that marijuanalegalization is a major issue of concern to the stakeholders who aremandated to maintain the road safety.

Thehigh cost of prosecuting and incarcerating citizens who have beenfound with marijuana is another counterargument raised by thesupporters of its consideration as a legal substance. These partiesargue that the U.S. is already overburdened with the high expensesincurred to finance the incarceration of drug addicts. They arguethat the U.S. spends about one billion dollars to maintain the drugaddicts in the prison system (Armentano, 2007). This is a narrowpoint of view because it does not take account of the money that thestates would spend to treat the marijuana addicts or the amount thatwill be lost through a decline in productivity of citizens.

Conclusion

Thestate of Texas should avoid legalizing marijuana because it hasadverse health effects and it reduces the economic productivity ofits consumers. Although the supporters of the idea of marijuanalegalization argue that such a move could help the state reduce thecost of incarcerating the addicts, it is evident that the governmentwill spend more money in treating the affected people. Mostimportantly, marijuana is mainly consumed by citizens, who are withinthe productive age, which implies that the state of Texas couldexperience a decline in the economic growth following marijuana’slegalization. In addition, there is sufficient scientific evidence toassociate the marijuana legalization with an increase in the cases offatal road accidents. This evidence suggests that the state of Texascould lose more lives on the roads due to an increase in the numberof drivers who will be operating under the influence.

References

Armentano,P. (2007, February 9). Pot prisoners cost America $ 1 billion a year.Alternet.RetrievedNovember 23, 2016, fromhttp://www.alternet.org/story/47815/pot_prisoners_cost_americans_$1_billion_a_year

Balko,R. (2014). Since marijuana legalization, highway fatalities inColorado are at near-historic lows. TheWashington Post.Retrieved November 23, 2016, fromhttps://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-watch/wp/2014/08/05/since-marijuana-legalization-highway-fatalities-in-colorado-are-at-near-historic-lows/?utm_term=.31dbfbc62a5e

Brandford,A. (2015). What is THC? LiveScience.Retrieved November 23, 2016, fromhttp://www.livescience.com/24553-what-is-thc.html

Ghost,T. (2016). Does driving high on marijuana increase fatal crashes?LiveScience.Retrieved November 23, 2016, fromhttp://www.livescience.com/54693-high-drivers-double-after-marijuana-legalization.html

Linley,J. (2016). Multiple marijuana legalization bills introduced in Texas.Texasfor Responsible Marijuana Policy.Retrieved November 23, 2016, fromhttps://www.texasmarijuanapolicy.org/news/

Longo,L. (2014). Adverse health effects of marijuana use. TheNew England Journal of Medicine,370 (23), 2219-2230.

NationalInstitute on Drug Abuse (2016). Marijuana. NIH.Retrieved November 23, 2016, fromhttps://www.drugabuse.gov/publications/research-reports/marijuana/marijuana-gateway-drug

Wang,H. &amp Herrera, H. (2014). A note of marijuana legalization andarrest rates in the United States. Journalof International Criminal Justice Research,2 (1), 1-7.