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Preconception on Legalizing Marijuana
In most parts of the world, the use and possession of cannabis commonly referred to as marijuana is illegal. For instance, the United States is among the nation who have prohibited the use of marijuana as outlined by federal law under the Controlled Substance Act of 1970 (Cambron, Guttmannova, & Fleming p8). However, in the last few decades, marijuana has been an ardently discussed subject. In fact, in some of the United States contrary to the federal laws marijuana has increasingly been prescribed for a variety of medical reasons. Likewise, the number of people in the United States who are in favor of legalizing marijuana has doubled from the years 2000. About 61 percent of adult Americans are in support of making that the drug legal in the country, which accounts for six in every ten Americans (Cambron, Guttmannova, & Fleming p9). Most of those supporting legalizing Marijuana have put across a strong repeal against the prohibiting laws cutting across a wide range of factor. The health benefits, potential economic growth and better effects as compared to other drugs are some of the issues brought across slating the federal law. Therefore, this paper will discuss whether marijuana should be legalized by reflecting on preconceptions, learned ideas from inquiries, and the extent the research has changed my understanding of the topic.
The last decade has witnessed a dramatic long-term shift over the campaign in support of legalizing marijuana in the United States. The change has been caused by increased number of millennials who are currently between 18 and 34 years and in favor of the acts legalizing marijuana use not only for medical purposes but also as a recreation drug. Similarly, across all generation support for legalization has risen sharply except among the silent generation who are over 70 years. By taking a look at the 1980s, the use of cigarette in public and social places was a common trend. For instance, in some of the archives, there are pictures and tapes of some of the patients taking off their oxygen masks for a cigar and managers hosting board meetings smoking. Currently, tobacco smoking has declined considerably in the last few decades due to part of the legislation and shifting public attitudes. However, a significant number of people have continued to suffer in addiction either directly or indirectly. Therefore, with the turn of events from legalizing tobacco one would wonder could America be heading to decriminalizing another addictive drug. Based on Pew research at least one in every six teenagers who start using cannabis for recreation purposes become addicted (Geiger p2). As a result, this has been one of the growing concerns that would hinder anyone from supporting the use of marijuana in the country.
Psychiatric diseases are also associated with marijuana, which is one of the most shocking factual people have been considering before deciding on the vehemently contended debate. According to psychiatrists those who use cannabis heavily before the age of 25 are likely to experience permanent brain malfunction (Belville p3). Consequently, legalizing marijuana might take a whole generation to find out the imminent risks of its use. In fact, those who would be most affected would be one of the productive group in America. Therefore, will legalizing the drug make the American millennial guinea pigs despite being the future of the country (Belville p4)? The effects might be drastic just like in the case of cigarette and people might end suffering rather than having fun and making a profit from the associated businesses.
Similarly, people have been in doubt on the economic effects of legalizing marijuana. Tobacco and alcohol are some of the other related addictive drugs that continue to cost taxpayers to make up for illnesses-related losses. One might get interested in getting the real effects marijuana will have to taxpayers although a number continues to associate the drug with health benefits. Nevertheless, most of the state prisoners are charged with marijuana offenses mostly due to drunkenness driving, violence, and breaking other states laws. As a concerned person, one would tend to believe that legalizing marijuana would make the state worse and increase criminal justice costs.
Nevertheless, despite the negativity associated with marijuana and the effects it has had in some of the states where the ounce of marijuana have been decriminalized are not advance as the government might want to indicate. The number of marijuana users has been increasing every year, and the suppliers of the drug are not arrested. It is disappointing to have some people who are mostly users behind bars while the suppliers are making millions in a business the country terms illegal. In fact, the marijuana laws have not been consistently enforced making some states to legalize its use for recreation. Also, those who have been using the drug would not feel victimized and would interrelate with families and friends the same way people taking alcohol can interact with the society. The magnitude of the issue has attracted several researchers and authors to prepare reports in support or against legalizing marijuana.
Based on several investigations the following are some of the significant issues addressed by scientists, authors and research groups on legalizing marijuana.
Marijuana is Safer than Tobacco and Alcohol
One of the most disappointing issue when someone reflects on the manner America and other parts of the world legalized alcohol and tobacco despite being the two most damaging drugs. In the United States, they are over half a million death cases annually related to the two drugs. Alcohol and tobacco lead to several ailments and injuries affecting the society negatively regarding low productivity, health care cost and increased law-enforcement expenses. However, contrary to my earlier perception marijuana is nontoxic and has not been associated directly by any death in over 7000 years of human use. According to Bellville the problems linked to the drug are due to arrests, imprisonment and enduring hurdles generated by prohibition (Belville p3). As a result, decriminalizing marijuana is safer than tobacco and alcohol.
Prohibiting Marijuana is a Costly Failure
The American economy has been overstrained in the past few years with the country seeking more income and means to reduce its expenses. Legalizing marijuana would serve the two purpose at a time. First, the policy means the law enforcement agencies would incur less to counter its transportation and monitor adherence to the associated federal laws. Second, despite being illegal marijuana business is one of the most profitable industry and the federal government have been losing a significant portion of tax revenue. For instance, in Colorado where the drug is legal weed sales reached over $750 million with the states accumulating over $116 million in tax and licensing fees (Bushan p2). I tend to feel that if the same happens in the entire country the business would turn to be one of the essential areas the government could be generating its revenue.
Marijuana has Health Benefits
Unlike other drugs, the pot is great for mental health. The use of cannabis ease stress, decrease anxiety and helps users relax (Dufton p1). For this reason, a little dose of the drug is all one needs to have inner peace and tranquility. Likewise, weed smokers have been found to be at lower risk for obesity and diabetes as compared to the rest of the population. Based on some studies adult smokers have fewer waist sizes, higher levels of high-density lipoprotein, and better-regulated insulin levels. Some doctors have also prescribed the drug in the treatment of chronic pain and as a way of fighting cancer cells. Therefore, with the number of users increasing everyday legalizing marijuana would be hindering some people from so many health benefits even when it matters most.
Prohibiting Marijuana Hurts Youths and Minorities
Racism has been in criminal justice systems for long and banning marijuana is one of the prime factors that have made the issue to persist. African American have been more victimized and arrested for marijuana violation as compared to other races even when they use and sell the drug at the same rate as whites (Sanger p5). Therefore, banning marijuana set up an inducement for police to make an arrest and reap from fines and drug grant dollars. As a result, police have been concentrating on minority neighborhood with fewer resources to fight the drug charges where they end up victimizing young Americans.
Legalizing Marijuana is not Hypothetical Policy Proposal
Initially, America was in doubt on the influence decriminalizing marijuana. Nevertheless, with some countries making it use legal some of the American states have followed the same path. Today they are nine states where marijuana has been legalized including Alaska, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts, Oregon, California, Nevada, Vermont, and Washington. For instance, residents in United States capital Washington in November 2014 voted overwhelmingly to legalize recreational marijuana which still keeps pressing on the nation to revoke federal laws against the drug (Cambron, Guttmannova, & Fleming p11).
Following thorough research on decriminalizing retailing and recreation use of marijuana one can only admire the states that have overcome the prohibiting laws against marijuana. Initially, anything associated with weed was invasive and against the norms of the society. Nonetheless, it is fascinating to discover that even before the 1970 Act people were still using marijuana regardless of the values in the nation. Marijuana use remained a choice to make, and only a small number of people used the drug for recreation. The Controlled Substance Act has therefore brought about the widespread changes. Americans have clearly and valiantly defended their opinion on the issue, and more than half of the population have condemned prohibiting recreation use of marijuana. In the process, people have changed their attitude on marijuana use, which has obliging several states to review the earlier banning rules. Consequently, with over 2.4 million American having a taste of the pot annually and the increased campaign against prohibiting cannabis, these have changed my perception on the topic in favor of legalizing marijuana.
According to my opinion, I thought that Marijuana use would have adverse health effects similar or more than a cigarette. Nevertheless, in the course of the research, I have come to realize that marijuana has more health benefits than perceived risks. In fact, none of the diseases allied to cigar are related to cannabis. Unlike cigarette and alcohol marijuana has been prescribed by medics and may reduce reliance on opioids and other pain medications. I have discovered that the current opioids crisis could be solved by legalizing marijuana. Also, those who have used marijuana have abandoned cigarettes and alcohol as their preferred drug. Marijuana has been found to be non-toxic, and change in preference would have a positive impact on the health sector.
Among the things I have discovered and have surprised me during the research include the power young people have in controlling rules and regulations in the country. The millennial generation is among the most affected group, and their efforts to advocate for change has been productive. According to Gallup poll, about 64 % of Americans favor legalization of marijuana, and 29 states have legalized medical use of the drug (Sanger p 5). In future, the country will fully support marijuana use despite earlier values and condemnation against the herb.
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