Essay Example: Marijuana Legalization

Published: 2023-11-03
Essay Example: Marijuana Legalization
Type of paper:  Essay
Categories:  Marijuana legalization Community health Social issue
Pages: 5
Wordcount: 1366 words
12 min read

The legalization of marijuana sales has continued to be one of the most controversial topics globally (Paschall et al., 2017). The state of New Jersey, similar to other states in the U.S., is forced to deal with the forces advocating for marijuana legalization. The enactment of laws legalizing marijuana for recreational use in Alaska Colorado, Washington, and Oregon over the last years has been the turning point in the attempts to compel the federal government to legalize marijuana (Schulenberg et al., 2019). Critiques against the usage of marijuana point out the dangerous aspects it has on health and social effects on children. However, people advocating for the legalization of cannabis point out the health benefits of marijuana, which has become a focal point for controversy. Several researches have been carried out on the health benefits of cannabis. For example, in a study by Abrams et al. (2003), the researchers found that the use of cannabinoids could likely change HIV RNA levels through to processes: cannabinoid protease inhibitor interactions or immune modulation; hence showing its likely potency for medicinal use. However, most of these scientific studies have been inconclusive, which only widens the debate on marijuana legalization.

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Conferring to Denham (2019), the existing conversation on the legalization of marijuana is not only because marijuana is considered harmful. The debate also exists because millions of Americans who use marijuana end up in jail. Cannabis ought to be unlisted from the criminal justice system and controlled like tobacco and alcohol. In 2018 the number of people arrested for marijuana law violation stood at 663,367 whiles those who were arrested for possession only stood at 608,775 (Marijuana Incarceration Statistics for 2019: By State, Region, & Race, 2019). For people advocating for the prohibition of marijuana, it is clear to say that the prohibition of cannabis is no longer feasible. Up to 26 states have decriminalized or eliminated the threat of jail time for possession of a small amount of marijuana (Schulenberg et al., 2019). Hence, going by these numbers, the topic of marijuana prohibition is no longer palatable.

Furthermore, if marijuana were harmless or natural, or non-addictive, then there would be no need to protect people from cannabis. However, the black market is very expansive to repress effectively (The Public-Health Case for Legalizing Marijuana, 2019). The choice we are confronted with currently is not whether to render marijuana accessible, nonetheless, whether the production of cannabis ought to be permissible and obvious or prohibited and slightly covert. Secondly, since marijuana is compacted, it makes it simple to sneak in, and a state-by-state resolution is not practicable. States with stringent laws or charge more taxes will be swamped with cannabis from states that have lower taxes or less strict laws (The Public-Health Case for Legalizing Marijuana, 2019). Hence, the thoughtful question is not whether cannabis should be legalized, but how.

Pros of and conn Cannabis legalization

Marijuana legalization boosts the economy: It is predicted that the marijuana industry in the U.S will surpass $24 billion in terms of revenue by 2025 (Mathews et al. 2017). Approximately each $1.00 used in the cannabis market, about $2.40 in economic productivity is created. In 2016, the permissible cannabis market created more than 7.2 billion dollars in economic activity. Research conducted by the University of California Agricultural Issues Center found that the lawful cannabis market in California could yield $5 billion early (Mathews et al. 2017). The footsteps followed by California could be followed by New Jersey to generate more revenues.

Legalizing cannabis leads to decreased teen cannabis use: According to Dryden (2016), researchers at Washington University School of Medicine found that the rate of cannabis use among teenagers decreased from 9.3 percent to7.3 percent in 2016 regardless of the high number of states decriminalizing or legalizing marijuana.

Legal cannabis is controlled for consumer safety: As stated by Mathews et al. (2017), individuals buying marijuana on the streets do not know whether what they are using is covered with harmful substances or pesticides. With the legalization of cannabis, the state of New Jersey will be capable of enforcing laboratory testing and policies to make sure marijuana is not contaminated (Mathews et al., 2017). For instance, in Washington, the policy requires health alerts, quality assurance, and labeling of TCH content for consumers.

Physical risks of using marijuana: There are cons of legalizing marijuana. Studies associate

the risk of schizophrenia when using marijuana (Denham, 2019). Also, marijuana smoking affects non-consumers through second-hand smoke, and the fear of driving under the influence of drugs may lead to increased accidents. According to (Marijuana Legalization: Pros and Cons, 2015), marijuana smoking may lead to decreased I.Q. among teenagers. Though legalization measures include age restriction, legalizing cannabis will render it simple for children to access the drug (Schulenberg et al., 2019). Because marijuana is dangerous even to adults, the consequences may be extreme in children. Besides, critiques argue that legalization would lead to an increase in violent crimes and that marijuana may serve as a gateway for abuse of other drugs such as cocaine.

How legalizing marijuana is likely to affect the population

Marijuana criminalization immensely affects young people and people of color. Statistics indicate substantial racial discrimination in the execution of marijuana laws. A stated by Lopez (2015), though both black and white individuals use cannabis almost at an identical rate, in the U.S, a black individual is 3.73 percent expected to get detained for ownership of marijuana. Conferring to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) report, in New Jersey, people of color are three-and-a-half times more at risk of being arrested for marijuana possession compared to white people, and the disparity has increased over the past decade (Denham, 2019). Therefore, the report by ACLU recommends for the legalization of marijuana, which will help in ending the pattern of racism that has hurt people of color.

Sow what next? The answer to how to legalize and regulate marijuana in a public health-friendly manner is the total elimination or near-elimination of the illicit market. Thus, this will ensure access to marijuana products of certified purity, and identified chemical constituents while reducing the increase of the hazardous or heavy use and abuse of marijuana in minors. Otherwise, it would mean including taxation or minimum unit pricing to deter the otherwise unpreventable fall in the price of marijuana. Also, marijuana regulation is needed, and constraints should be placed on marketing to deter the marijuana industry from advertising the misuse of its products in a similar way to alcohol producers who promote heavy drinking. These recommendations will help in not only legalizing marijuana but also reducing racial discrimination.


Abrams, D. I., Hilton, J. F., Leiser, R. J., Shade, S. B., Elbeik, T. A., Aweeka, F. T., Benowitz, N. L., Bredt, B. M., Kosel, B., Aberg, J. A., Deeks, S. G., Mitchell, T. F., Mulligan, K., Bacchetti, P., McCune, J. M., & Schambelan, M. (2003). Short-Term Effects of Cannabinoids in Patients with HIV-1 Infection. Annals of Internal Medicine, 139(4), 258.

Denham, B. E. (2019). Attitudes toward legalization of marijuana in the United States, 1986-2016: Changes in determinants of public opinion. International Journal of Drug Policy, 71, 78–90.

‌Dryden, J. (2016). As more states legalize marijuana, adolescents' problems with pot decline.‌Hurdle, J. (2020, April 21). Black People Far More Likely to be Arrested for Marijuana Possession in N.J., ACLU Study Finds.

Lopez, G. (2015, July 1). Everyone does drugs, minorities get punished. Vox. Incarceration Statistics for 2019: By State, Region, & Race. (2019). NCDAS.

Marijuana Legalization: Pros and Cons. (2015, November 24). Drug Rehab., W. A., Sumner, D. A., MedellĂ­n-Azuara, J., & Hanon, T. (2017). Economics of the California Cut Flower Industry and Potential Impacts of Legal Cannabis.

Paschall, M. J., Grube, J. W., & Biglan, A. (2017). Medical Marijuana Legalization and Marijuana Use Among Youth in Oregon. The Journal of Primary Prevention, 38(3), 329–341.

Schulenberg, J., Johnston, L., O’Malley, P., Bachman, J., Miech, R., & Patrick, M. (2019). Monitoring the Future National Survey results on drug use, 1975-2018: Volume II, college students and adults ages 19-60.

The Public-Health Case for Legalizing Marijuana. (2019). Nationalaffairs.Com.

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