Possession and use of cannabis, also commonly known as marijuana, is considered illegal. For years marijuana has been an illegal “drug” in most countries. In today’s world a few countries have legalized cannabis while others are still progressing toward it. In particular, small amount of marijuana have been allowed in places such as Europe, North America and South America. In the United States in particular, states such as Washington and Colorado have also legalized the usage of marijuana for medicalrecreational purposes. On the other hand, numerous penalties are enforced pertaining the use or possession of cannabis where it is not legal. The chance of the penalties being small are seldom; offenders often receive severe punishments. Possession of small quantities of marijuana is not punished the same way as possession of large quantities of other illegal narcotics. In this essay, there will be an in-depth argument on the reasons why cannabis should be legalized, and why it should not.
Firstly, cannabis should be legal and decriminalized since it is used for medication. Its legalization means better and higher quality health standards. For example, Sativex is a recent marijuana-derived treatment that has been discovered to cure Multiple Sclerosis (Kmietowicz 89). The drug has been used in the United Kingdom to treat patients, and it has been found to produce effective results. Banning marijuana would be a disadvantage to people who suffer from diseases that use cannabis as a major component for rehabilitation. The usage of cannabis for medicine is the strongest reason to legalize it. Cannabis also aids in cancer chemotherapy, which causes extreme nausea vomiting to its patients (Kmietowicz 89).
Legalizing marijuana would undoubtedly yield a new tax source for the government, consequently increasing government revenue. In the perspective of the current economic situation, this argument is more than valid. Most of the returns from cannabis business are from illegal trafficking organizations that control its trade in various regions around the world. This could be changed if marijuana was legalized; the government would control its trade. According to a poll Gallup (2013), the number of Americans in favor of legalization has consistently increased with the figure reaching its highest level in October 2013. Fifty-eight percent of Americans were found to favor cannabis legalization. The fact that an increasing number of Americans favor legalization implies that it is high time the government put it into effect.
Opponents of legalization argue that marijuana is more lethal to the human body than alcohol, which is a legal substance. The effects of substances like alcohol and cigarettes are more harmful since among others, they cause cancer and liver cirrhosis. The United Sates Department of Health and Human Studies conducted a study that found that in the country, seventy million people use tobacco and about fifteen million people abuses alcohol (2008). Furthermore, the study also found out that about four million of the American population use cannabis; today, those number have almost tripled. “The United States today has 15.2 million marijuana users while there are 129 million alcohol users in the country” (Moffat 17). Even though the users of marijuana are not as many as compared to users of alcohol, in can be noted that there is a high chance that legalization will increase its usage as it will be readily available. The fact that tobacco and alcohol are both taxed, and yet they cause severe ailment on the human body should a clear indication that even though the two are legalized they have serious negative impacts to those who abuse them.
Contrariwise, an opposing point of view is how legalizing cannabis is found to be extremely irrational to some people who argue that the only unique feature of marijuana, other than “feeling good”, is the pain killer effect (Moudgil 77). The argument is that there are other painkillers in the market. Thus, when proponents say it can be used for medical reasons it’s seen as an excuse. Opponents argue that if the medical reason can be used to legalize marijuana, cocaine should have been legalized long before because it has a stronger numbing effect (Moudgil 77).
Critics of marijuana claim that the “drug” has addictive properties and can rob a person of their mental abilities. According to Parry (696) it becomes hard for any drug user who uses cannabis to make an informed decision to quit this behavior since the use of cannabis affects the logical thinking of its users. Moreover, it can be noted that the use of marijuana causes irrational thinking and incase of drivers who use cannabis, research has found that they may have impaired judgments and cause accidents (Parry, 699).
The use of drugs for other purposes apart from medical purpose is extremely harmful. The harm that is caused by using these drugs occurs not only to the users but also to people who are related to them. Moreover, drug use increases the health costs of the individuals who abuse drugs and is many times associated with violence. Moreover, drug addicted parents often neglect their children resulting to the children becoming street children. Moreover, it can also be noted that the legalization of Cannabis will also cost the government extra finance to cater for medication and rehabilitation of people who will be suffering from cannabis withdrawal symptoms.
In conclusion, it is indisputably vivid that there are various arguments for and against the legalization of marijuana. Marijuana should be legalized in any country. The legalization of marijuana leads to a lot of immorality and increased crime rates. The arguments in favor of marijuana only compare marijuana’s effects with the effects of other drugs, but this does not imply that the effects of cannabis are not bad to the human body. If most governments across the world were to legalize cannabis, there will be a notable change in well-being of people around the world.