The legalization of marijuana is one of the most controversial topic discussed by society today. Marijuana is classified as an illegal drug. However, recent developments catalyzed by pro-marijuana movements have seen 14 states entertain the idea of legalizing marijuana.
These legal developments have sparked much debate regarding the legalization of marijuana. The decision to legalize or not to legalize marijuana is informed by a large amount of contradicting opinions and perspectives(Ventura 11). All of these perspectives boil down to the personal attitude of the debater towards drugs and marijuana in particular.
Case for Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use
Marijuana for Medical Use
To truly appreciate the justification for Marijuana being legalized, one must have background knowledge of the herb. The origins of marijuana are traced back to China and later spread to Europe and America. Historically, marijuana was used for medicinal purposes. Shortly after its arrival in the United States of America, Marijuana was classified as an illegal substance by the Federal Controlled Substance Act, classifying it as a schedule 1 drug which translates to it being considered as a high potential for abuse drug and lacking acceptable medical use(Miller 24).
The classification of Marijuana as a schedule 1 drug lacking acceptable medical use is misinformed. This is because there exists evidence that proves otherwise. The Canadian medical association journal reports the successful use of medical marijuana. This report indicates that medical marijuana has the ability to repress the development of HIV, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, Glaucoma, and Epilepsy. Additionally, there exists historical evidence of Chinese origin asserting the effective use of Marijuana for medical purposes. The existence of this evidence proves that the illegalization of marijuana in the United States of America as a schedule 1 drug is either misinformed or malicious and should be amended immediately. Additionally, modern research indicates that marijuana may be used in the treatment of a wide range of clinical applications, including pain relief, and as an appetite stimulant.
Prohibition is a Failed Societal Control Method
Prohibition of the use of Marijuana is proof of the extensive failure of the attempt to control societal behaviour. The United States Government spends billions of taxpayers money on enforcement of policies, resulting to wasted resources(Hardaway32). The police department spends and devotes a lot of time energy and human resource on policing activities that include arresting, booking and imprisoning marijuana smokers. Most of who would be law-abiding citizens if marijuana was legal. These victims of circumstances are forced to spend decades in prison for an action that should not be illegal in the first place.
According to the American Civil Liberties Union, the government spends more than $3.6 billion enforcing possession costs. This estimate does not include the time spent by law enforcement officers strategizing ways and means of arresting cannabis users and implementing their strategies.
The reality is that the war on cannabis has failed terribly. Decades after the criminalization of cannabis, general usage of cannabis has increased, with over 30 million Americans using Marijuana annually.
Laws do not exist by their own accord, they are tailored to curb a specific menace in society. There exists a notion amongst advocates of the status quo claiming that marijuana laws exist to prevent people from harming themselves, or causing harm to those around them.
This notion that marijuana laws exist for the public good is misguided, statistics from a Human Rights group, as of 2012 indicate that of the tracked 30,000 New Yorkers arrested for Marijuana Possession, 90% of them had no subsequent felony convictions. Those convicted of violent offences were 3.1 %.
Hence the argument that marijuana laws exist for the public good is rather far-fetched because there is no correlation between marijuana and violence.
Economic Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana
Despite the illegal status imposed on Marijuana, it continues to be the number one cash crop in America; generating an estimated $35 billion in dirty money annually. The closest rival in the form of a cash crop is corn which comes a distant second with a difference of $18 billion(Summer23).
The government cannot afford to ignore the economic benefits of legalizing marijuana. The legalization of marijuana will definitely result to marijuana prices plunging. The plunge in prices does not make legalization of weed less profitable to the government in form of taxes. The government would continue to reap enormous amounts from taxes imposed on marijuana.
Marijuana Laws impede the Implementation of Legitimate Criminal Justice Goals
The legalization of Marijuana led to the rise of the underground mafia and cartel business profiting from the sale of the outlawed drug. These groups are responsible for gang-related violence all of which is unrelated to marijuana. Decriminalization of Marijuana would bring an end to this menace that has plagued society for decades leading to the death of millions of people. Drug cartels thrive on profits made from Marijuana being illegal. Legalizing Marijuana would cripple their market forcing them to abandon the trade.
American Cannabis growers are notorious for inventing new strains of weed, that reach consumers without any form of a standard check. Legalizing marijuana would translate to giving the government the ability to control and maintain an acceptable standard of marijuana that is safe for consumption.
Cannabis is less harmful as compared to Alcohol or Tobacco
American history records the implementation and failure of illegalization and prohibition of alcohol. In fact, the prohibition of alcohol did not stop people from engaging in the vice, more so laws were selectively enforced like is the case for marijuana right now, where marijuana laws lead to racial bias. The legalization of alcohol led to the emergence of violent gangs, forcing the government to reconsider its position and legalize alcohol. Decriminalization of alcohol was done despite the health risks it poses on users. This decision was also informed by the fact that the government lacks the authority to purport to know what is best for every citizen.
Based on the foregoing it is safe to conclude that the criminalization of weed has done more harm than good to our society. The notions upon which marijuana laws exist are misinformed or malicious. The reality is that the government and society has more to gain than lose from legalizing marijuana.
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