- May 1, 2020
Marijuana should be Fully Illegalized, not just Decriminalized
Marijuanashould be Fully Illegalized, not just Decriminalized
Marijuanashould be Fully Illegalized, not just Decriminalized
Thesubject of marijuana use has been one of the sensitive discussionsthat the society continues to grapple with. Central to suchdiscussions has been the question of how the drug use could becontrolled to limit the adverse effects on the society. Theconventional approach to drug control has been prohibition, whichinvolves the use of laws for which individuals found in thepossessing, manufacturing, selling, or smoking bang could be triedand sentenced in the court of justice. The prohibition approach ishinged on the presupposition that sentencing offenders serve as apunishment to deter continued use. Despite the stringent enforcementpractices, the use of marijuana has been increasing over time, ascenario that has elicited questions of just what might be theintervention. The response to this subject is particularly manifestedby advocacies of full legalization of marijuana, rather justdecriminalizing it. The issue continues to draw heated reactions,with different states already engaged in the discussion of whether toconsider such advocacies. Several states have even gone ahead andinstituted laws that accommodate the use of marijuana, with somefavoring decriminalization, while others are opting to legalize itfully. The issue of legalized use of marijuana is a hot button atthis time in the United States, but the fact of the matter is that itshould remain illegal because it will cause citizen to be lessproductive and apathetic. This people will discuss why marijuanashould remain illegal.
TheNegative Consequences legalization
Thosewho oppose legalization have been concerned that legalizing marijuanacould increase the use of the drug because it will now be accessibleto everyone, including children (Walker, 2015). Those who supportthis view have gone further to assert the resultant harmful effectsof increased dependency on marijuana cannot be taken lightly. Thecommonly cited adverse effects of marijuana include the decline inthe IQ, antisocial behaviors, lower satisfaction with life,addiction, financial challenges, mental problems, and poorperformance at work and school (Walker, 2015). The supporting viewshave tended to favor decriminalization. In this case,decriminalization describes an alternative approach to sentencing, inwhich people found in possession of the drug may be fined orsubjected to house arrests to deter them.
Thestatistics on the negative consequences of marijuana are documentedand show that the effects are particularly adverse. According toHampson,Grimaldi, Axelrod and Wink (2014),the negative effects of marijuana range from the health to antisocialbehaviors. For instance, over 242,200of patients in the United States are admitted to the emergency roomseach year with complications associated with marijuana smoking.Besides, as significant as 40 percent of individuals that arearrested always test positive for marijuana use, implying that thedrug encourages criminal activities. Moreover, marijuana is alsoassociated with the abuse of other drugs. The author reports that 62percent of individuals who use marijuana at an age before 15 years goahead to use cocaine at a certain point in their lives, while atleast 54 percent abuse mind-altering therapeutic drugs. Marijuanacomes second after alcohol on the list ofdrugs that are commonlyfound in the bodies of drivers involved in road accidents (Hampson,Grimaldi, Axelrod & Wink, 2014).Otherdiscussions have widely supported the adverse effects of marijuanause. For instance, McKim(2012)has noted that the immediate impacts of taking marijuana areincreased heartbeat, worsened body coordination, and disorientation,which are accompanied by the lack of sleep and depression. In somecases, users tend to suffer from panic attacks, yet the problem doesnot stop there because THC, the active components of marijuana,remains in the body for relatively long time (McKim,2012)).According to Riedeland Davies (2015),the smoke of marijuana contains well about 70 percent ofcancer-causing chemicals. The author notes that because of thiscomposition, marijuana smoke could result in lung damages that arefive times severe the impact of tobacco use. It also results indamage to the brain cells and alters the structure of the sperm cellsresulting in sterility and pregnancy problems (Riedeland Davies, 2015).
Itis worth noting that proponents of the legalization of marijuana haverelied on several points to defend their position. First is thatmarijuana prohibition policies have failed because a significantpopulation continues to use the drug, while the number of peoplefound using or possessing the drug has remained more or less the sameover time, if not tending to increase. For instance, according toAlyson and Nushin (2014), in 2013, the number of people arrested theUS for possessing the drug was 693,482, accounting for 45 percent ofall the drug law violations. Of these arrests, as significant as 80percent were a simple possession, not manufacturing or selling.Moreover, the number of people arrested for possession of marijuanais cited to be higher than all forms of violent crimes, while assignificant as 43 percent of the US population is reported to haveused marijuana at one moment in the lives.
Secondly,the minority populations are disproportionately represented in drugarrests despite the rate of utilization and selling of the drug beingequal across racial and ethnic groups. As Alyson and Nushin (2014)notes, the people of color are four times likely to be arrested forpossessing the drug than the White people. Thirdly, marijuanaprohibition only results in the establishment of gangs, contributingto violence and corruption as the individuals involved strive toprotect people. It is cited that over a hundred thousands of peoplehave been killed because of drug war campaigns. The advocates havealso gone further to cite the evidence based on states that have goneahead to implement either legalization or decriminalization ofmarijuana, in which the rates of arrests reduced significantly and noincrease of marijuana use was reported (Alyson and Nushin, 2014).
Whilethe arguments proposed for the legalization of marijuana are valid,it is crucial to assess both positions based on utilitarian pointview, considering the approach that would maximize the outcomes.Indeed, having noted the views of both sides, of particular interestis which of the two options is most favorable.
Certainly,prohibition may have failed to constrain people from using the drug —if only, it has resulted in problems such as disproportionateminority contact, gangs, violence, and corruption. On the practicalbasis, legalization tends to be the preferable approach because itdoes not only enable the society to overcome challenges typical toprohibition such as disproportionate minority contact, gangs,violence, and corruption, but also creates the allowance for thestates to tax and generate revenue for the marijuana business.Besides, authorization also creates the allowance to establishcontrol regulations such as who to use and when to use — in themanner that the alcoholic drinks are controlled (Kevin, 2015).However, this step would escalate the use of marijuana because peoplewill now abuse it freely. This would result in adverse consequencesthat overshadow the benefits.
Whiledecriminalization would have been an option, it is still premised onthe framework of legalization, which means it will most likely stillproduce poor results. For instance, it will also encourage theincreased use of marijuana and encourage adverse social and economiccomplications.
Inconclusion, the aim of this paper has been toexamine the question of whether marijuana should be legalized. It hassuccessfully argued that marijuana should not be permitted because itis accompanied by far-reaching consequences on the users, whichovershadow any benefits that would potentially be derived fromlegalization or decriminalization. While the arguments proposed forthe authorization of marijuana are valid, it is crucial to assessboth positions based on utilitarian point view, considering theapproach that would maximize the outcomes. Legalization happens to bethe most suitable approach. The endorsement of marijuana willescalate its use, exacerbating its impact on the society in the formof high incidences of decline in the IQ, antisocial behaviors, lowersatisfaction with life, addictions, financial challenges, mentalproblems, and poor performance at work and school. Legalization hasbeen subject to certain, inherent shortcomings such as failure tocurb the rising incidences of marijuana use, the emergence ofuncontrollable drug gangs and disproportionate minority contact, butsuch issues are not comparable to the adverse effects that willfollow if marijuana was legalized or decriminalized.
Alyson,M. & Nushin R. (2014) ANew Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition.New York: New Press
Hampson,A. J., Grimaldi, M., Axelrod, J. & Wink, D. (2014). "Cannabidioland (−)Δ9-tetrahydrocannabinol are neuroprotective antioxidants".Proceedingsof the National Academy of Sciences.95(14): 8268–73.
KevinP. (2015). HillMarijuana: The Unbiased Truth About the World`s Most Popular Weed.Center City, MN: Hazelden.
McKim,W. (2012). Drugs andBehavior: An Introduction to Behavioral Pharmacology.Prentice Hall.
Riedel,G. & Davies, S. N. (2015). "Cannabinoid Function inLearning, Memory and Plasticity". Handbook of ExperimentalPharmacology. Handbookof Experimental Pharmacology.168(168): 445–477.
Walker,S. (2015). Senseand Nonsense About Crime, Drugs, and Communities.8thed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.