Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana


Pros-

  • Medical Use- The strongest argument for legalizing Marijuana is for medical purposes. Marijuana can be used as a treatment for many different diseases and health issues. Legalizing Marijuana will make it easier for the patients to receive the drug and it will make it easier for scientist to study the drug further to confirm the drugs medicinal purposes.

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  • Marijuana is actually less dangerous than alcohol, cigarettes, and even most over-the-counter medicines or prescriptions. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. Marijuana also relieves nausea suffered by cancer patients undergoing powerful chemotherapy. It is also used by patients who have multiple sclerosis and AIDS. Marijuana also proved to be effective in the treatment of glaucoma because its use lowers pressure on the eye.
  • Marijuana can be used as a treatment for many different diseases and health issues. Legalizing Marijuana will make it easier for the patients to receive the drug and it will make it easier for scientist to study the drug further to confirm the drugs medicinal purposes.
  • Marijuana is actually less dangerous than alcohol, cigarettes, and even most over-the-counter medicines or prescriptions. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. Marijuana also relieves nausea suffered by cancer patients undergoing powerful chemotherapy. It is also used by patients who have multiple sclerosis and AIDS. Marijuana also proved to be effective in the treatment of glaucoma because its use lowers pressure on the eye.

  • Opponents of medical marijuana argue that it is too dangerous to use, lacks FDA-approval, and that various legal drugs make marijuana use unnecessary. They say marijuana is addictive, leads to harder drug use, interferes with fertility, impairs driving ability, and injures the lungs, immune system, and brain. They say that medical marijuana is a front for drug legalization and recreational use.

Expensive Drug War-
  • Legalizing Marijuana means we can treat the problem of drug abuse as a medical problem not a criminal one. It is estimated that the United States government spends $10 billion dollars a year in its attempts to keep Marijuana off the street. Legalization will result in a decrease in deaths and violence due to the unregulated black market trade or Marijuana.
  • 1 out of 6 people in jail are in for non-violent drug offenses. Prisons are overcrowded and it is very costly to keep people in prison. Legalizing Marijuana would make room for more violent offenders.
  • Police and court resources would be freed up for more serious crimes. Many consider the War on Drugs an expensive failure. Resources for DEA, FBI, and border security are only the tip of the iceberg. You must add in the cost of police officers, judges, public defenders, prosecutors, juries, court reporters, prison guards, and so on. Legalization of marijuana would free up those people to concentrate on more important things like terrorism, harder drugs, rape, murder, and so on. In addition, an already overloaded civil court docket would be improved; thus, the wait time for other legitimate court cases would be reduced.
  • Drug dealers (including some terrorists) would lose most or all of their business. Perhaps the biggest opponents of legalizing drugs are the drug dealers themselves. They make their enormous sums of money because of the absence of competition and the monstrous street prices that come from the increased risk. Legalization would lower prices and open competition; thus, drug cartels (that might include terrorists) would lose all or some of their business.

Comparison to Alcohol Use-
  • Marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol- Unlike Alcohol and prescription drugs, Marijuana is not lethal by overdosing.
  • Excessive alcohol consumption is the third leading preventable cause of death in the United States and is associated with multiple adverse health consequences, including liver cirrhosis, various cancers, unintentional injuries, and violence.There is little evidence, however, that long-term cannabis use causes permanent cognitive impairment, nor is there is any clear cause and effect relationship to explain the psychosocial associations.
  • Alcohol use is highly associated with violent crime, whereas marijuana use is not.
  • Alcohol use contributes to aggressive behavior and acts of violence, whereas marijuana use reduces the likelihood of violent behavior.
  • Alcohol use contributes to reckless behavior and serious injuries, and it is highly associated with emergency room visits, whereas marijuana use does not contribute to such behavior and injuries, and is seldom associated with emergency room visits.

Other Pros-
  • Limiting the use of the drug intrudes on personal freedom.
  • It could be a source of additional tax revenues.
  • Drug dealers (including some terrorists) would lose most or all of their business.
  • The FDA or others could regulate the quality and safety of drugs.


Cons-

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Gateway Drug-
  • Marijuana can be a gateway drug, which means it can lead to the use of many other harmful drugs--Children ages 12-17 are 85 times more likely to use cocaine Marijuana has also been linked with teen violence, suicide, crime, and unsafe sex-HIV transmission.
  • Studies show that marijuana use often progresses to the use of harder drugs. In other words, people experiment with what is often thought of as a "harmless" drug. Then, after using it for a while, a bigger "high" is sought; thus, users then turn to the harder stuff like heroin, LSD, cocaine, etc. This is particularly a problem since most people will not directly start abusing the harder drugs that are generally understood to be harmful. Marijuana use may simply embolden them to experiment.


Health Effects-

Immediate effects -
  • loss of restlessness
  • excitement
  • hallucinations, paranoia, psychotic episodes
  • impaired coordination
  • impaired motor ability
  • mood swings
  • increased appetite
  • impaired ability

Long term effects -
  • loss of brain cells
  • lung cancer


Other Cons-
  • A State cannot be involved with the distribution of substances considered immoral by relevant lots of the population. A substance considered unhealthy cannot be produced and distributed with the help of the state, because the goal of the state is to protect citizens’ health and not to expose them to risk.
  • The easy availability of drugs would create new consumers rather than rescuing current ones.
  • Drugs are addictive. They rob the user of free will. A drug user cannot make an informed and rational decision to continue using drugs because the use of the drug eliminates that user’s ability to think logically. Nor can they disseminate themselves from drug taking.
  • Drug use is dangerous to persons besides the user, in the rise of health care costs, violence associated with the use of drugs, neglect of children by drug-addicted parents, and other third party effects.
  • The use of soft drugs, such as marijuana, leads to the use of hard drugs (the Gateway Theory).
  • Drug dealers will sell to anyone, including children. Merchants who legally sell alcohol and tobacco are not allowed to sell to children. Many high school students report that it is easier to obtain illegal drugs than alcohol and tobacco.
  • Legalizing drugs will send a message to children that drug use is acceptable.

Works Cited-

"BalancedPolitics.org - Legalization of Marijuana (Pros & Cons, Arguments For and Against)." BalancedPolitics.org - Free Balanced, Non-Partisan Discussion of Political & Social Issues for Debate (Pros and Cons - Decision Making Politics). <http://www.balancedpolitics.org/marijuana_legalization.htm>.

"Cons of Marijuana Legalization." Marijuana Today - Pros and Cons of Marijuana Legalization. <http://marijuanatoday.com/cons.php>

"Legalizing Marijuana." The University of Rhode Island. <http://www.uri.edu/personal/atro6990/>.

"Marijuana Pros & Cons." Legalization of Marijuana, Legal Marijuana, Marijuana Laws. <http://legalizationofmarijuana.com/pros-and-cons-of-marijuana.html>

"Pro's of Marijuana Legalization - MarijuanaToday.com." Marijuana Today - Pros and Cons of Marijuana Legalization. <http://marijuanatoday.com/pros.php>.

"SAFER - Alcohol vs. Marijuana." SAFER - Home. <http://www.saferchoice.org/content/view/24/53/>.