The debate on whether or not to legalize marijuana trade and consumption has been ranging on for a long time with calls for its total ban equally as loud as those that fight for its legalization. This debate a times takes a religious and an emotional perspective. This paper seeks to strengthen with factual support, the calls that support its legalization. It will give reasons behind those views as well as analyze the opposing sentiments. All this is in the believe that marijuana, if legalized, stands to be more beneficial to the society that the way it is today.
My first argument towards legalization of marijuana will take an economic perspective. Billions of tax payer’s money is going to waste in the process of arresting and prosecuting people accused of consuming marijuana. This money should be channeled towards other important purposes like healthcare and providing education to our children (Barnett P.G 166-171).
Every year in America, thousands of people are huddled in drug courts faced with all manner of charges ranging from consuming to trafficking marijuana, then handed undeserving sentences. Process requires millions of dollars. This is money that should be spent in giving counseling and treatment to the affected rather than trying to catch the few of the majority that smokes. It is apparent that our money is surely going to waste; the war against drugs has never been won and is not going to be won any time soon.
The cost of maintaining prisoners arraigned in court over marijuana related cases each year is estimated at 1.2 billion dollars ever year. “This does not include the cost of investigating, arresting, a prosecuting and hundreds of thousands of marijuana users arrested every year” (Wayne Hall 7) this to me is a waste of scarce resources, money that otherwise should not be used had we legalized marijuana.
Still in economics, the marijuana is a multibillion industry that continues to place food on the table for millions of people world wide, illegally of course. I this industry can operate legally; it would be able to secure jobs to millions more as well as contributing billion of dollars through taxation. About 11 billion dollars would be gained from the tax. (Douglas Mc Ray58). The marketing of marijuana has its illegal form is left to black marketers this meaning that currently their proceeds go untaxed.
Economic benefits of legalized marijuana will be two fold. First it will be from the funds saved from the efforts to suppress and eradicate its use and then secondly benefits arising form its taxation. Marijuana should be legalized, either way whether legalized or illegal consumption still takes place. There are no statistics available to indicate that its continued legal suppression over maybe the last 30 years has had any consequent impact. Prohibition does not decrease its use. Its popularity does not wane. Netherlands has done it. It’s a good case study that “marijuana legalization would not be the disaster that opponents say it would be” (Douglas Mc Kay29-32)
Debate still rages on possible effects of legalizing marijuana on the health of the users. There are those who argue that it has adverse effects on health while others argue that the overall effects are insignificant. Without looking at the worst case scenarios and moderation cases, both studies indicate that there are no known risks associated with its overdose; possible side effects can only be exhibited in the behaviors of the user. (Douglas Mc Kay) these results indicate that marijuana use is not more hazardous than alcohol consumption unlimitedly.
Tobacco use is equally harmful and yet it is legal. The reason why marijuana remains illegal is due to its peeved adverse effects on the users. The government in its social responsibility role has to limit its use/abuse. This to me is based on flimsy grounds. Alcohol and tobacco are also harmful, then why ban one poison and out rightly allow the usage of the other one. This is illegal.
Marijuana decriminalization will allow people to explore the possible medicinal values it has. Studies have shown, according to Baker D.(2003 561-567),that “cannnabinoids” (contained in marijuana) provide a novel therapeutic target, not only for controlling symptoms, but also slowing disease progression through inhibition of neurodeneration.” Disregarding its side effects, marijuana is hailed to have many therapeutic benefits like subsiding pain in cancer patients; it is basically used with pain and muscle stiffness in patients.
Criminalization of marijuana literally closes these windows of research. Doctors and health experts are barred from researching with it or administering on any of their patients despite indications that it can effectively be used for medical purpose with only some mile side effects. We are making it inaccessible to millions of people out there who are maybe suffering form cancer and would want some relieve.
This country boasts of respect and exercising fundamental freedoms for all persons. Freedom of worship is a key right that should be exercised by all and is guaranteed by the constitution. Rastafaricinism, a dominant faith in Jamaica openly advocates for marijuana usage citing its religious importance. Criminalization of marijuana clearly is in contravention of people right not only to exercise their right of worship but also their basic right to choice as long these choices do not affect others negatively.
I believe it should be left to the respective individuals to make an informed choice on whether consume or not. They should be left alone to exercise the individual liberty. People to, are left alone to choose on whether to drink or smoke, despite their known harms, people too, I think should be given leeway over marijuana.
As I had noted earlier, the proponents of marijuana criminalization are equally vocal and belief they have solid reasons as to why the status quo should remain. Marijuana just like most drug is known to induce addictive tendencies, this is where it’s continued use results to the user being hooked to it to an extent that they are unable to function normally without it. I must say however, that addiction is not limited to marijuana alone alcohol, tobacco and also other prescribed drugs are known to cause addddiction even of a higher degree than cannabis.
There is also the argument that it legalization is tantamount to sending a message especialy to underage that its consumption is indeed good. It will remove the stigma currently associated with it making it attracitve to most persons. Although this point contains some truth in it, legalization of cannabis in Netherlands failed to indicate this. Although there were a few new users, occassioned by its decriminalization, their numbers were not significantly high to warrant any concerns.Initial lifting of the ban would see maybe attraction of new users but this would later change as Clement k(1999,p49) says,..on the other hand,the disappearance of the forbidden fruits characteristics of marijuana would tend to lower consumption.”This waters down the argument that lifting the ban would see increased use.
Marijuana too if allowed will lead to more expenses on the government to cope with its abuse. There will be increased allocations for the rehabs and medical facilities tao cope with its possible rampant usage. It would also mean more investments to cope with drug related crimes resulting from drug abuse. I must insist however, that findings doen do not ling marijuana to any violent crimes more than they do other drugs or specifically to alcohol. Also, a simple lsot benefit analysis refutes that the government stands to spend more on rehabs. By legalising it, any additional investment on rehabs is surpassed by the savings on marijuana policies and prosecutions in additional to the likely benefits emanating from taxes. (Aldrich, M. et al, 75-81).
There is a need to review the current laws banning marijuana use in total.It is more beneficial to the general society and particularly the government.The benefits gained through taxation and employment creation surpasses the negative effects of rehabilitating the abusers.In addition too are the millions of dollars the federal government would save.
The resources used to fight marijuana through prosecutions,arrests and maintaining thousands in jail would be rechanelled to other vital sectors.The benefits outweigh the costs,this should be the sole logic behind its legalisation.More benefits too stand to be reaped through the possible advances made in the medicine sector.It will see more research being done to establish ways in which marijuana can be used to ease pain in cancer patients as well as other medicinal values being explored.
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