A society is incomplete if it does not contain all sorts of characters. In any case, there is no single society in the world that is perfect. There must be those people who are law abiding and those who are law breaking. That is why there are courts and jails in different countries around the world. However, that does not mean that people are bound to break the law unnecessarily. However, it means that people will always break the law and end up being in jail. That is the nature of a complete society. Many countries around the world have laws that prohibits the growth, sale, and intake of marijuana on the grounds that it leads to addiction which takes a toll on the health of the users. However, what is not known is that despite the illegalization of its production, sale, and usage, the business of marijuana greatly contributes to the livelihoods of many individuals around the world. Therefore, the production, usage and sale of marijuana should be incorporated as a legal social institution. This will reduce cases of addiction and the negative health effects of the drug will be minimized as individuals would feel free to seek medication and advice in case they experience the negative effects of the drugs. Additionally, jails would not be filled with people who committed no moral crime. The laws prohibiting the use of marihuana should also be reviewed with the aim of making the drug legal.
Schlosser (5), unmasked how the illegalization of marijuana was a bad step by the government judging from the amount of money in terms of taxes that it would be getting out of the legalization of the growth, sale and use of the drug. Specifically, he considers the history that the government has had with the victims of marijuana. He terms the arbitrary arrest and prosecution of marijuana growers and users by government officials as ambivalent and cynical. He, therefore, recommends the decriminalization of the product for recreational use and criminalizing supply. From the interviews that he made with several growers and users, the business of marijuana continues to thrive despite the efforts of the government to make it illegal and to jail those who are found to be growing or using the drug except on medical grounds. These assertions by Schlosser serve to teach the society several reasons. First, the underground business is done without regard to safety as there is the fear of arrest from the government officials. Secondly, the government losses very huge amounts of money in the form of taxes. The future of these people who are put in prison because they have been caught with some quantities of the drug is also at stake. The blanket illegalization of marijuana is, therefore, unwarranted and futile.
From an economic point of view, incorporating marijuana in the social system by legalizing it would be very critical. This is through the comparison of the growing of the product and the growth of other products, say maize. In this regard, a person who plants one hectare of marijuana and another who plants one hectare of maize will be at different levels when it comes to the output of their plantations. The one who plants marijuana will more than 100 times get higher returns than the one who plants maize. Therefore, the economic advantage of allowing the planation of marijuana is great. There is a need for the consideration of the profits that will arise out of the plantations. Specifically, legalizing the plantation of marijuana will be an employment opportunity for many. Due to urbanization and the increase in human population, there are not large pieces of land that can allow for the plantations of maize. This is because, it would require a very large and fertile land to thrive. However, marijuana plantations do not require large pieces of land as a small piece is enough to supply the drug to a large number of people and provide huge profits.
Schlosser states that the nature of American laws with regard to drugs is punitive instead of preventive. As such, the laws are meant to brutally punish the users instead of educating them on the effects of the overuse of the drug. As a result, the laws have been inefficient as they have failed to even reduce the number of those who use the drugs. Schlosser gives the example of the anti-drug law that was passed in 1986; seven years later after the use of marijuana had reached its peak. At the time that the anti-drug law was passed, the number of those who abused the drug had reduced by a whopping 40%. The reduction did not result from the fear of arrest due to the new laws but from the willful determination of the users. Specifically, the perceived health risks were the reason as to why most of the users quitted using the drug. Therefore, putting long sentences of imprisonment to deter people from using marijuana did not in any help reduce their usage. As such, legalizing it would be more beneficial and cost friendly than the current state of criminalizing its usage.
The various sections of the antidrug laws are ridiculous. In this regard, instead of giving long and brutal sentences to the perpetrators of major heinous acts such as murder, robbery and even economic corruption, the government blindly offers life sentences just because an individual had introduced another to the seller of marijuana. Specifically, according to Schlosser, an individual named Mark young introduced a buyer to the seller of marijuana. Young had arranged a large sale of marijuana and, therefore, fell victim of the brutal federal laws. After he been apprehended by police and prosecuted for the aiding and abetting of marijuana sale and usage, he received a life sentence which he served at the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan. This punishment was definitely excessive given the role that the Indiana man had played in the deal. After all, the underground business transactions involving marijuana totals to more than $4billion a year. This amount, according to Schlosser (4), is more than enough to pay for the US Medicare program for a year. The law blindly puts small time drug dealers in life imprisonment while leaving the perpetrators of murder free. This is definitely a reefer madness as the Americans live in hypocrisy.
The repercussions that the arrests of marijuana users have in the society are immense. In this regard, there are wasted resources involved in the arrests to the costs that are incurred in the patrol by the police officers searching for the suspects. These costs could be used in other ways that could be for the benefit of the nation. Far from that, it has been provided by the states that have legalized it and indeed incorporated it into their legal systems, that it does not increase the usage of the drug. What it serves to do is eliminate the sale of the drug in black market. This will be good for the government and for these users. Specifically, legalization it would encourage labeling and the rates of overuse will be low. Additionally, the government will have control over the sellers as they will have the correct number of producers and sellers of such drugs.
Although the incorporation of the marijuana into the social institutions is a good move, there needs to be some restrictions. There will need to be the minimum age of people who are supposed to buy the drug. This will be very critical in preventing children from using the drug. Additionally, it would ensure that the Americans do not live in pretense (reefer madness) as described by Schlosser (7). Ensuring that the age limit is put will make those who use the drug have an informed opinion on the effects of the drug on the body as well as the health risks involved. Institutions of rehabilitation should also come handy with the legalization. These institutions will help the addicts recover at the expense of the government. Additionally, the users should be adequately advised so that they have an understanding of the addictive nature of marijuana. The labelling of the drugs before they are sold to customers as well as warnings will undoubtedly deter excessive usage. As such, the benefits of the legalization will be immense. However, measures should be taken so that users are aware of the side effects.
To conclude, the society is made up of different calibers of people. There are those who approve of the use of certain types of drugs while others do not. In the making of laws, the legislators should be concerned with the effects that those particular laws will have on the society. The punishment that is stipulated by the laws should be commensurate worth the crime committed. Some of the drugs are better incorporated into the society than blindly legalized. Specifically, the criminalization of the production, use, and distribution of marijuana does not offer any benefits to the government. Americans live in pretense that they do not abuse marijuana. However, the business of marijuana involves more than $40 billion a year. As such, the government misses on a lot of taxes. Additionally, the laws that are passed are punitive instead of preventive. For instance, a person who was arrested for connecting a seller to the buyer of marijuana was jailed for life. This is not only brutal but also ridiculous. Moreover, when users of marijuana stop to use, it is not because they are afraid of being arrested but because of the health risks that are involved. As such, the laws have failed to reduce the usage of the drug. In this regard, incorporating the usage of marijuana into the society by legalizing it would serve to increase government taxes, reduce the health risks of usages and become the concern of the government to regulate the usage. More importantly, it would offer employment opportunities to many.
Schlosser, Eric. Reefer Madness:... and Other Tales from the American Underground. Penguin UK, 2013.
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