Col 250 Research
The illegality of marijuana, scientifically known as cannabis sativa, is one of the contentious issues in various nations, including the United States (Debondt, 2006). The controversy of the issue has resulted in the emergence of supporters and opponents of the legalization of marijuana. The opponents and proponents of the legalization of marijuana hold two opposite views concerning legalization of the drug. The supporters of the legalization of marijuana base their arguments on the benefits linked to the use of marijuana. On the other hand, the opponents base their arguments on the detrimental impacts linked to the use marijuana. In this regard, this paper develops a hypothesis that states that the legalization of marijuana will negatively affect the society. As such, the use of marijuana should not be legalized at all costs. The paper discusses the reasons for and against the legalization of marijuana in order to ensure that hypothesis is true or false.
Reasons for the Legalization of Marijuana
Dresser (2009) pointed out that marijuana often traps the young adults in a defective system, which changes them into lifetime offenders. This argument has some traces of reality in it. Many youths engaged in selling marijuana have an objective of earning money to make ends meet. Some of these youths or teenagers might want to save money for college. It is evident that the youths involved in selling marijuana do not like their life, which is characterized by poverty (Dresser, 2009). This simply implies that they do not indulge in these activities willingly. As such, the illegalization of marijuana will not clearly get rid of these problems. Essentially, the youths attempting to meet their needs through selling marijuana will be unemployed because of illegalization. In addition, the subjection of youths to prison systems due to their involvement in selling marijuana results in lifetime offenders. These youthful criminals become crueler since they constantly have to defend themselves from the crowd. When these criminals finish their sentence, their expectations on college and job would have been shattered due to bad felony record and disruption of school. Consequently, they resume their normal crimes resulting in lifelong criminals (Dresser, 2009). Legalizing marijuana creates employment, and enables youths and teenagers to earn a living genuinely.
Duncan (2009) pointed out that the illegalization of drugs, particularly marijuana, is an expensive failure for the government and the public as a whole. According to Olivero (2012), making marijuana illegal will likely consume court and police resources. As a result, illegalization will interfere with the conviction of serious offenders. The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) and the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) will have to be engaged in combating the use of marijuana. In addition, costs linked to public defenders, police officers, prosecutors, prison guards, court reporters and judges will increase because of the increased number of criminals. This refutes the claim that making marijuana illegal will decrease government expenses. Legalizing the drug would allow the criminal justice system to focus on very influential state matters like rape, terrorism, and murder. According to Duncan (2009), legalization of marijuana will decrease the backlog of cases resulting in a reduction in the wait time for other genuine court cases.
The proponent’s claim that marijuana causes road accidents is flawed. This is because the claim cannot be justified. Traffic police have confirmed that it is extremely difficult to notice that an individual is driving under the influence of marijuana. Traffic police require some traces of smell, as in the case of alcohol, in order to justify that an individual is driving under the influence of alcohol. This means that making marijuana illegal might not substantially decrease the number of road accidents (Olivero, 2012). Addicts would smoke marijuana outside the car before proceeding to drive under the influence of the drug. As such, the implementation of harsh penalties upon breaking traffic laws might significantly decrease the number of road accidents.
The proponents for the legalization of marijuana have maintained that the drug is not as dangerous as tobacco or alcohol, especially when used properly and under control (Olivero, 2013). Scientific researches and medical experiments reveal that the impacts of marijuana are inconclusive and contradictory. Some health professionals have also agreed that marijuana is very detrimental as exaggerated by the opponents of its legalization. Most of health professionals have maintained that the drug is only harmful when abused. Nevertheless, it is evident that the abuse of any drug comes along with consequences.
Reasons against the Legalization of Marijuana
Marijuana should be illegalized because it causes premature deaths. About 1.3 million people smoke marijuana globally (Debondt, 2006). Every year about 5 million marijuana smokers die prematurely due to their smoking habit. Most of those who die from smoking marijuana are youths who might have lived many years to come. In Europe alone, at least 100 thousand people die because of the marijuana smoking habit. There is no need to legalize a harmful substance such as marijuana.
According to Debondt (2006), marijuana is a one of the gateway drugs. A research conducted by Debondt (2006) revealed that youths, aged between 12 and 17 years, using the drug are about 85 times more likely to use other drugs such as cocaine than youths who do not use it. Another study also indicated that about 60 per cent of children who smoke marijuana before attaining the age of 15 years are likely to use cocaine. The illegalization of marijuana will assist in dealing with the menace caused by other drugs such as cocaine.
According to Debondt (2006), marijuana should remain illegal because it affects memory cells. An individual can lose brain cells because of the long-term impacts of using cannabis. Studies have also indicated that children born to women addicts of marijuana exhibit increased tremulous and distorted responses to visual stimuli. This might suggest problems with the neurological development (Debondt, 2006). Children exposed to marijuana have also been found to exhibit behavioral problems. In addition, such children have been found to perform poorly. This is because of the deficits in the skills required to make decisions, memory problems and the inability to remain attentive or focused.
The argument that legalization of marijuana will make it cheap is flawed (Dresser, 2009). Many supporters of the legalization of the drug have maintained that the drug will be easy to access, and therefore would be sold cheaply. According to the proponents of the legalization of marijuana, the sellers of the drug have to sell at it high prices because of the risks related to dealing with marijuana. Nevertheless, this is a flawed ideology. According to Dresser (2009), the US would impose taxes on the drug as a way of collecting revenue. This will increase its prices, and addicts will have to dig deeper into their pockets to buy the drug. From this perspective, the illegalization is helpful to both addicts and non-addicts of marijuana.
The paper has discussed the disadvantages and advantages of legalizing marijuana in order to arrive at conclusions. From the above findings, it is apparent that the advantages of illegalizing marijuana far outweigh the disadvantages. As such, the paper concludes that marijuana should not be legalized at all costs. It is harmful because it affects brain cells, which results in memory problems among addicts. Legalization of the drug will increase the use of other hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin.
Debondt, E. (2006). Historical and regulatory issues of medical marijuana. Oncology Nursing Forum , 33 (2), 440.
Dresser, R. (2009). Irrational basis: the legal status of medical marijuana. Hastings Center Report , 39 (6), 7-8.
Duncan, C. (2009). The need for change: An economic analysis of marijuana policy. Connecticut Law Review , 41, 1701.
Olivero, J. (2012). Smoke and political mirrors: Policing marijuana in Washington State. Police Forum , 3 (21), 5-15.
Olivero, J. (2013). The legalization of medical and recreational marijuana in the United States’ state of Washington and the impact on Mexican cartels. International Journal of Humanities and Social Science , 3 (4), 8-17.