Marijuana should be Legalized
Despite a proven multitude of benefits that can be tapped in the use of marijuana, it remains prohibited by the law as an illegal substance in many of the states in the U.S and countries in the world. The common reason given to keep marijuana, a naturally growing substance off the reach of people is that it has adverse effects on their health, and also promotes deviant behavior in the society. However, these assumptions are unfounded and lack substantial evidence as compared to facts that point to a whole range of benefits if marijuana use would be freely available. Individual, economical, and social facets are undermined while marijuana remains illegalized. Therefore marijuana should be legalized for these reasons. First, individuals are autonomous and deserve the right to make their own decisions and choices. Second, keeping marijuana illegal is more costly for the government. Third, marijuana has been proven to have extensive medicinal use for most chronic health conditions such as cancer and HIV/AIDs. Fourth, hemp, a derivative of marijuana has immense industrial and commercial purposes that can boost the economic situations of both individuals and communities. Fifth, Marijuana use is accepted for some religious purposes.
Individuals are autonomous and deserve the right to make their own decisions and choices (Tucson, p. 214). According to the philosophy cited by Tucson (p. 214) the government only has the right to interfere and limit these choices if an individual’s actions pose a danger to others. However, this is not the case with marijuana as an individual makes the choice based on free will. Also, according to Tucson (p. 215) the government has a right to limit individual’s actions if they pose significant threat to the person. However, this argument is illogically applied to the use of marijuana because it has been shown to be far less of a health hazard as compared to some drugs such as tobacco and alcohol, which are legal. Marijuana is also less addictive as compared to caffeine, a daily-used substance.
Keeping marijuana illegal is more costly for the government (Jacquette, p. 13). The government, all levels including local, state and federal, spends a lot of money on ‘War on Drugs’. The actions include getting hold of peaceful people from events or their homes and throwing them in prison for using marijuana (Jacquette, p. 13). Consequently, a huge chunk of the nation’s budget, from the taxpayers is used to cater for their needs including food, education, rehabilitation, attorney’s fees, and court costs among others in prison (Jacquette, p. 31). If the prisons did not have individuals convicted for marijuana use, substantial amount of money could be saved and channeled for other important causes in the country such as programs on drug education. Additionally, the government would be able to earn extra money in form of taxes from marijuana were it legal.
Marijuana has been proven to have medicinal benefits for most chronic health conditions such as cancer, and HIV/AIDs (Bottorff et al, p. 770). Some researchers have also extended to explore the perceived benefits of marijuana among therapeutic users with other conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, Mood disorders and Rheumatoid arthritis. Some of the benefits reported by users having these conditions include pain reduction, body relaxation, stress relief, decreased anxiety or depression, and generally improved care and self0management during an illness (Bottorff et al, pp. 770, 772-4). HIV-AIDs patients reported the substance to help prevent vomiting and instead stimulate appetite for food; hence it acts well as anti-nausea. Opponents of marijuana use have cited that marijuana has no use in the body, except cause harm. It should be noted that there are no medically available reports that link people’s death to a marijuana overdose. In most evidence-based studies, marijuana has been recommended for people with chronic medical conditions as the ones stated above to properly utilize marijuana as it stimulates some brain receptors from perceiving pain. It is therefore morally upsetting to make illegal a substance that is needed by a majority of people for a better and healthier life.
Hemp, a derivative of marijuana has immense industrial and commercial purposes that can boost the economic situations of both individuals and communities (Robinson, p. 16). Whereas marijuana offers medicinal and personal uses, hemp, which the government does not distinguish with marijuana, offers a wide array of uses including manufacture of bio-degradable plastic and bio-fuel production. Hemp is also a natural plant that serves the same purpose as trees, and hence can help reduce tree-cutting (Robinson, p. 23). Being an invaluable natural resource, hemp will help to solve a major world problem- environmental degradation. Its industrial uses are also environmentally sustainable as seen from the bio-products manufactured from it (Robinson, p. 14). Since there lacks a legal distinguish between the marijuana and hemp, legalizing marijuana means that the population can also tap into the uses of hemp to foster the industrialization process for personal and national growth.
Marijuana use is accepted for some religious purposes (Forrest p. 749). Religions such as Rastafarianism, Buddhism, and Hinduism utilize marijuana for both religious and spiritual purposes (Robinson, pp. 84-93). The U.S Constitution on the First Amendment already consents to the free exercise of one’s religion (Forrest p. 802). Therefore, it is illogical if the government allows the use within the religious premises and denies the same use out of it. If already permitted with the religious realms, it is unlikely that marijuana has extreme harmful effects on the life of a human being. The government should simply legalize marijuana to make its use consistent in all aspects of life.
Marijuana should be legalized. Individuals are autonomous beings and should be granted the right to choose whether or not to use marijuana. Restrictions should only be in cases where harm is extended from an individual’s actions to others. The government would also have more money to spend for other worthy causes if marijuana was legalized. This is from fewer prison expenses and increase in income from taxing marijuana producers and consumers. Many people these days suffer from chronic conditions that lead to a lot of pain, anxiety, and depression, symptoms of which marijuana has been therapeutically proven to solve. The U.S government does not distinguish between marijuana and its industrial derivative hemp which offers wide purposes and environmental friendly bio-products. Legalization of marijuana will therefore extend to utilization of hemp’s invaluable industrial uses. Marijuana is also accepted for some religious and spiritual purposes and there is nothing to go too wrong if the use is permitted beyond the temple. There are more than enough reasons supporting legalization of marijuana and hence the governments should take this step.
Bottorff, Joan, Bissell, Laura, Balneaves, Lynda, Oliffe, John, Kang, Bindy, Capler, Rielle, Buxton, Jane, and O’Brien, Robin. Health effects of using cannabis for therapeutic purposes: A gender analysis of users’ perspectives. Substance Use & Misuse, 2011, 46: 769-780.
Forrest, Martin. International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law: Treaties, cases, and analysis. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
Jacquette, Dale. Cannabis-Philosophy for Everyone: What were we just talking about? New York: Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Robinson, Rowan. The Great Book of Hemp: The complete guide to environmental, commercial, and medicinal uses of the world’s most extraordinary plant. U.S: Inner Traditions/Bear & Co., 2010.
Tucson, Joel. Harmless Wrongdoing. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1988.