The legalization of marijuana is one of the
most popular subjects of discussions in the United States. The rate with which
Americans are now considering legalizing marijuana has surprised everyone. The
growing popularity of marijuana use has had an effect on people’s health, economy,
and the country in general. The purpose of this report is to provide facts regarding
recent research in the field of marijuana legalization, and predict the possible
outcomes which legalization of the marijuana may bring to an American society.
There is more talk, opinion, and
debate than ever before about the pros and cons of marijuana, leaving people
confused by the disputes. There are a growing number of medical marijuana
dispensaries across the United States and majority of Americans who support
legalization, but the scientists point to serious issues with marijuana use.
Marijuana remains on the federal
government’s list of Schedule I drugs, defined as the most dangerous of the
controlled substances, and is labeled as posing a heavy risk of addiction,
although many physicians do not believe that to be true. Unlike alcohol, extreme
use of marijuana has not been unambiguously implicated in violent actions or
poor health. As a Schedule I drug, under federal law, marijuana is considered
to have no medical use, although there are thousands of opposite patient’s
testimonials (Siff, 2014).
The legalization of marijuana in
the United States has been fought for over the past ten years and seems to be
in the works of succeeding. Marijuana smoking started as a large movement in
the early 1990s, especially among teenagers (Narconon, 2010). In 1996, California voters approved
Proposition 215, the first legislation legalizing marijuana for medical
purposes at the state level. Since then, 22 other states have brought into
being some form of medical marijuana law, and more states started to follow
that lead (Martin, 2016). These days Americans are more in favor of legalizing
marijuana than turning it into criminal offense. 2013 has evidently been a
successful year for marijuana legalization, with Colorado and Washington both
passing laws to decriminalize the drug. Now, 58 percent of Americans are in
favor permitting marijuana to be legal (Jacquez, 2014).
Twenty-nine states and the District
of Columbia presently have laws widely legalizing marijuana in some form. Seven
states and the District of Columbia have adopted extensive laws legalizing
marijuana for recreational use. Most recently, California, Massachusetts, Maine
and Nevada all initiated steps in legalizing recreational marijuana. Quite
a number of states have also legitimized the possession of small amounts of
marijuana. Some medical marijuana laws are broader than others, with the types
of medical conditions that allow for treatment varying from state to state. Final rules for recently-passed medical
marijuana laws are pending in Arkansas, Florida and North Dakota. (Governing, 2017).
and beliefs toward drug legalization
Two sides regarding marijuana
co-exist in American society; the side that is firmly for it and the others who
fight to keep it illegal. On one side, some people want to decriminalize the
plant. Proponents of medical use of marijuana would gain advantage from this
change, as the drug would be more broadly available to the public. Supporters
of legalization mention its perceived health medical benefits, or see it as no
more dangerous than other lesser drugs (Pew Research Center, 2015). On the
other side, many people still consider marijuana as a dangerous drug, one that inflicts damage on people and
society more generally. They point to the dangers of marijuana, including the
possibility of abuse and addiction (Pew Research Center,2015).
Proponents think that it is
time to legalize marijuana for both medicinal and recreational use across the
United States. There are too many known beneficial uses of marijuana for
legalization to be suppressed any longer. Clearly, the use of medical marijuana
is essential. (Weber, 2017).
According to a Discovery Health article, marijuana has been
exceedingly successful in relieving nausea, which can benefit cancer patients
suffering from nausea as a side effect of chemotherapy. Furthermore, it helps
relax muscle tension and spasms and chronic pain.
Opponents state that until the impact
of ingesting or inhaling a drug on one’s physical and emotional health is
completely known, it is too early to consider legalization. Marijuana is
composed of hundreds of chemical substances, many of which have not been
investigated. (Brennan, 2017).
It is unknown what consumption
patterns will be if marijuana is widely available and marketed in different
forms, or what effects different patterns of the use will have on cognition,
the development of marijuana use disorders, and the development of psychotic
illnesses. (Hopfer, 2015).
I oppose the idea of legalizing the
drug because it may lead to irreparable damages to a society, including mental
illness and negative effect on economy.
of marijuana use under legalization
The legal drugs are used far more
than illegal ones, because they are easily accessible and available. According
to surveys, alcohol is used by 52% of Americans and tobacco is used by 27% of
Americans. Marijuana is used by 8% of Americans (NSDUH, 2012). After analyzing legalization of marijuana in
state of California, RAND researchers concluded that the price of the drug
could quickly drop and, therefore, marijuana consumption could increase
(Kilmer, B., Caulkins, J.P., Pacula, R.L., MacCoun, R.J., & Reuter, P.H,
harmfulness of marijuana (especially to kids and adolescents)
Marijuana may cause permanent structural
changes in developing brains, or anyone under the age of 25. The age groups
with the highest consumption are 12-17 and 18-25. The harm includes loss of IQ,
problems with memory, cognition and learning, and psychotic breaks leading to
horrible acts of violence. Marijuana may cause psychosis and schizophrenia,
addiction for 1 in 6 children who ever use it once and reduces IQ among those
who started smoking before the age of 18 (Meier, 2012). Furthermore, marijuana users are 7 times more
likely to commit suicide, and 5 times more perceptive to schizophrenia,
paranoia and bi-polar condition. 17% of those who start using before the age of
18 may become addicted, 9% of those who start after 18.
Marijuana is also known to cause cancer,
chronic bronchitis, cardiac problems, and birth defects. Traffic deaths due to
marijuana impairment are also high. Around 13% of drivers on the road today are
impaired by marijuana to a different degrees, putting people at risk.
Over 50% of arrestees for all crimes test
positive for marijuana. It is believed
to be a gateway to drugs that kill 144 Americans daily due to overdose, almost
all of whom started their drug use with marijuana. It is also a major cause of
high school dropouts (Morgan, 2015).
downgrade of marijuana’s quality
The composition of today’s marijuana
plant is stronger than before. According to Dr. Dee Apple,
tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive drug in marijuana, has risen from 5
percent to an average of 13 percent as a part of marijuana (Apple, 2012).
4.Increase of public cost
For every $1 in alcohol and tobacco tax
revenues, society loses $10 in social costs, from accidents to health damage (Tax
Policy Center, 2008).
5.Drug cartels and the black market
A recent RAND report showed that Mexican
drug trafficking groups only received a small portion of their earnings (15-25%)
from marijuana. For them, the big money is found in illegal trade such as human
trafficking, kidnapping, extortion, piracy, and other illicit drugs. These
cartels may only be helped with legalization and more addiction (Kilmer, B,
Caulkins, J.P, Bond, B.M. & Reuter, P.H., 2010).
6. Improper use of marijuana
Marijuana has medicinal properties, but it
is abnormal to smoke the plant to derive those benefits, just like it is
abnormal to smoke opium to get the benefits of morphine. In states with medical
marijuana laws, the average user is a male in his 30’s with no terminal illness
and a history of drug abuse (O’Connell, T.J. & Bou-Matar, C.B., 2007). Less
than 2% of users have cancer or AIDS (Colorado Department of Public Health and
Environment, 2010). Permanent residents of states with medical marijuana laws
have abuse and dependence rates almost twice as high as states with no marijuana
laws (Cerda, M., et al., 2012).
7. Unsuccessful experience from other countries
Independent research reveals that in
the Netherlands, where marijuana was commercialized and sold openly marijuana
use among young adults increased almost 300% (MacCoun, R. & Reuter, P,
2001). There are signs that tolerance for marijuana in the Netherlands is digressing.
They have recently closed hundreds of “coffee shops”, that were selling the
cannabis products, and today Dutch citizens have a higher probability of being
admitted to treatment than almost all other countries in Europe (MacCoun, R.,
8. Unsuccessful experience from Colorado
The use among youth has increased in the
past five years. Currently, the marijuana use rate among Colorado teens is 50%
above the national average (NSDUH, 2012). Drug-related referrals for high
school students testing positive for marijuana has increased (Rocky Mountain
HIDTA, 2013). While the total number of car crashes declined from 2007 to 2011,
the number of fatal car crashes with drivers testing positive for marijuana
rose sharply (Rocky Mountain HIDTA, 2013).
Based on the findings from the
research above today’s highly potent marijuana may be inflicting mental
illness, addiction and even the death of citizens. The growth is devastating
natural resources and pristine ecosystems, contributing to the increase in
traffic deaths due to marijuana and creating unhealthy communities for raising
families. The products of marijuana dispensaries may serve as the basic cause
of human pain, suffering and death. Some of the dispensaries may be a drug
dealer with store fronts, and a threat to the health and safety of any
community. When a state legalizes drugs, it changes the culture dramatically
and does incredible damage to the family system.
Marijuana is an issue in American
society, which needs to be solved. Here are some recommendations that may help
in resolving this problem.
The change of marijuana situation in the
United States should start in a federal level. In order to create the safe and
healthy communities, federal government need to take action by enforcing
federal laws against marijuana. Another suggestion that might help is to vote
and support the candidates in state and federal level, who strictly against the
marijuana legalization. In this case there will be more opportunities to stop
it. In addition to that, some existing laws should be changed or amended.
awareness of bad influence of marijuana
It is crucial to educate people about
potential harm of marijuana use by creating advertisement, TV programs that
show that all miraculous claims about medical marijuana are false. There should
also be organizations or courses created that will bring to the public
necessary information, facts and statistics about marijuana use. Such courses
should be designed to help expand the knowledge and understanding of those who
are working to address the problem of recreational drug use and addiction in
America so that they can be as successful as possible in their mission. The
courses should also be designed to help those in the position of public
responsibility understand what policy and program options have worked and what
options might be tried to achieve the outcome of minimizing the amount of this recreational
drug. As an example, Smart
Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), the progressive U.S. non-profit organization
created the course that has been designed to support those who are working to
stop the legalization of marijuana with the understanding and knowledge they
need concerning the research findings regarding the harmfulness of marijuana
and the impacts of marijuana use on society.
Marijuana for recreational use should be
strictly prohibited. Marijuana dispensaries allure the crime and cause
traffic accidents, and allow easy access to marijuana for young people who are
most vulnerable to its neurological harm. Those dispensaries are one of the
reasons for crime, homelessness, addiction, academic failure as well as traffic
deaths. So, private cultivation and dispensaries should be prohibited.
If we do all these things we may have
less people with mental disorders. The crime rate may decrease. In addition, it
may help to build more healthier society.