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Legalization of Marijuana: An Ethical Argument

The growing and usage of Marijuana has always been illegal in the United States and the majority of the countries of the world. In United States, the growing of Marijuana is only legal in the Medicinal Plant Garden in the University of Mississippi. War on drugs initiated by the government to control the production and illegal usage of drugs has been a failure to a large extent. Although the number of arrests in marijuana related cases is humongous, with a marijuana smoker arrested every 45 seconds in the U.S., the evil is difficult to get rid of (Legalization of Marijuana, June 2007). A large black market exists to provide the addicted smokers with marijuana.

The government introduced the Marijuana Tax in 1937, which allowed the selling of marijuana under a granted license. The licensing authorities were strict in their granting of license and so, legal marijuana production was reduced to almost none. People have argued for the legalization of marijuana on the grounds that the ban on marijuana challenges personal freedom of choice. The website of Legalization of Marijuana (June 2007) claims that authorities arrest people who use marijuana for recreation and are involved in a perfectly healthy lifestyle otherwise. Some people smoke marijuana responsibly and when they are arrested and their children are taken away, it is unfair. The website also claims that while other drugs have caused deaths, the number of deaths caused by marijuana usage in America have been zero. Marijuana has, thus, proved to be much less harmful than other drugs. Also, the law has always failed to control the sale and consumption. The only outcome of the law is that illegal production causes the price of marijuana to skyrocket, forcing the marijuana smokers into violence and theft to obtain the drug. Some marijuana legalization supporters also claim that the bias against marijuana arose out of specific religious customs and beliefs. The moral customs of one religious community should not be enforced on the entire society. The people who resent that imposition could actually adopt marijuana smoking just out of spite for the moral values.

However, these supporters fail to account for the health impacts of marijuana usage. Marijuana is known to handicap the judgment skills of a person. In such a dazed and sluggish state, the smoker may cause others harm through stoned driving or may commit bigger crimes such as rape or robbery. They may harm family members or strangers, and may be a danger to the society. Legalization of the drug would just fuel these issues. There is damage to the physical health of an addict as well. Though the chances are very low, long-term users can contract bronchitis.

Marijuana is a drug which has gained popularity among the youth, especially the teenagers. When the teenagers use marijuana, they get distracted from their education and involve in rowdy behavior and dangerous activities. An article on the website Wise to Social Issues (2007) reports that in Washington D.C., more than 2500 cases arrive in emergency rooms which are accident or health issue of marijuana smokers, with teenagers a majority. The article in Wise to Social Issues (2007) very aptly suggests, ‘Legalizing marijuana would send a mixed message to teenagers whose parents are able to use the authority of law to support their own opposition to its use.’ Legalizing would just encourage teenage drug addiction and would mean more accidental deaths due to teenage stoning.

Marijuana is also often used as a ‘stepping stone’ drug for other, harder drugs such as heroine and cocaine. (Messerli, Joe, Balanced Politics). Thus, it could lead to long-term addiction. Legalization of marijuana would just make people experiment more often with the seemingly harmless drug and then move on to the harder drugs that cause severe health damages. It would increase the number of addicts and the issues related to addiction.

Marijuana contains ‘an ingredient that produces euphoria’ in the smoker. (Wise to Social Issues Digest, 2007). Because of its intoxicating effects, marijuana usage is considered morally incorrect in many religions and traditions. Drug usage generally causes a person to lose their rationale and may promote immoral behavior. In an ethically conscious society, it would not be sensible to allow the free usage of such a drug.

Perhaps the only sensible argument for the legalization of marijuana is marijuana’s implications in the medicinal sector. Marijuana is given to patients in order to ‘alleviate symptoms of their diseases, such as glaucoma, cancer, and AIDS victims’. Marijuana is used to ‘fight the intense nausea that causes their wasting sickness’. Marijuana also helps ‘glaucoma (an eye disease that causes blindness) patients, epileptic patients and multiple sclerosis patients.’ There was also ‘a recent discovery by a South Florida doctor concerns the fact that if THC is placed in a test tube with the herpes virus, the THC will kill the herpes virus.’ (Yates, Dennis M., Schaffer Library of Drug Policy).

However, allowing the free usage of marijuana is no solution. The free usage would encourage addiction and the social evils associated with drug addiction. The usage of marijuana should be limited to medicinal purposes while it should be banned in the rest of the country. This may imply that the doctors may get involved in the business of supplying illegal marijuana to smokers. This is why there needs to be close monitoring of who is using the drug and for what purpose. This solution would ensure that we benefit from the pros of marijuana while keeping in check its disturbing factors.

Bibliography

  1. Hedman, Leighann. “Legalization of Marijuana.” Teaching Ideas. 2000. University of Saskatchewan.
  2. “Legalization of Marijuana.”2007. Legalization of Marijuana.
  3. “Marijuana is a Harmful Drug that should not be Legalized.” Wise to Social Issues Digest. 2007. The Gale Group Inc. .
  4. Messerli, Joe. “Should Marijuana be Legalized under any Circumstances?” 2006. Balanced Politics. Web.
  5. Yates, Dennis M. “The Legalization of Marijuana.” Schaffer Library of Drug Policy.