The Pros and Cons of Legalizing Marijuana Essay

Published: 2020-02-17 09:02:44
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In 2010 an estimated 443,000 people died prematurely from smoking tobacco or exposure to secondhand smoke, and another 8. 6 million live with a serious illness caused by smoking. Despite these risks, approximately 46. 6 million U. S. adults smoke cigarettes. Alcohol use last year led to 14,406 alcoholic liver disease deaths and 23,199 other alcohol related deaths excluding accidents and homicides. Alcohol Use, 2009) Despite these alarming statistics, these substances remain legal and socially acceptable while marijuana, which has never killed anyone anywhere, is illegal, remains classified as a stage one controlled substance, which likens it to killer drugs such as LSD, and heroin, both so lethal you could die with a single use. Why is it socially acceptable to use substances, which kill thousands a year while a plant that is practically a miracle drug remains portrayed as one of the most dangerous substances, known to man?

In this paper, we will look at the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana the financial impact as well as the effects it would have on industry. We will also look at social impact caused by legalizing marijuana can it be socially acceptable. Alcohol and tobacco continually kill people by the thousands and yet remain legal, why then is marijuana, a drug that has never killed a single person still illegal. The declaration of independence and the constitution of the United States of America are written on hemp paper there were even laws on the subject of marijuana before that.

Americas first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia in 1619 it ordered all farmers to grow Indian hempseed there were several other must grow laws over the next 200 years. You would be imprisoned for not growing hemp during times of shortage in Virginia between 1763 and 1767, and during that time hemp was legal tender you could even pay your taxes with hemp. The United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp plantations growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas and even the cordage used for baling cotton (Census of population and housing, 1850).

The American people have been using marijuana since before we were the mighty nation we are today in fact Americans have been consuming all types of narcotics for many years cocaine and opium used to be available for purchase over the counter. Marijuana is a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves derived from the hemp plant Cannabis sativa the main active biochemical in marijuana is delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC for short (The National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2010).

People have been using marijuana for many different things throughout history it has over a thousand uses from making fabric and ropes to helping sick people regain their appetite yet in our society, it remains illegal. Marijuana is the most commonly used drug. According to the 2009 National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH), an estimated 104 million Americans aged 12 or older have tried marijuana at least once in their lifetimes, representing 41. 5% of the U. S. population in that age group (The National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2010).

The number of past year marijuana users in 2009 was approximately 28. 5 million (11. 3% of the population aged 12 or older) and the number of past month marijuana users was 16. 7 million (6. 6%). 2 that is a very large percentage of the population. (The National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2010) These numbers clearly show that many people use and seem to like marijuana and with all of this consumption, one would think that there would be at least one reported case of a marijuana-induced fatality but there is none.

Marijuana has many uses besides its chemical properties there is even a European organization dedicated to it industrial uses. Industrial hemp has many different uses; we are capable of weaving the fibers into fabric to make clothing, also pressing it into paper, or even a plastic like material that amazingly has ten times the impact strength steel. It would also replace many of the everyday medications we use, it is great for headaches or muscles pain and most upset stomach symptoms.

It has also been shown to help alleviate some troubles discomfort that can occur while taking chemotherapy and when living with HIV or AIDS.  So much so that pharmaceutical companies have been developing synthetic types of THC hoping to corner the market but since marijuana contains more than just THC the results have not been as operant.

Many people use cannabis therapeutically when they are living with HIV or AIDS but there is not enough data to show exactly how they benefit from the cannabis. Another study done using 332 young adult females from Southern New England showed that it could be used to relieve stress and tension caused by menstrual cramps and helped reduce anxiety in some. (De Dios, et al. 2010)All that is known is that it helps them have a better quality of life and that alone should be enough for people to realize that we have been misinformed, marijuana is not all bad it is just extremely misunderstood. If marijuana helps, is worthwhile and requires further examination but given the legal barriers, and the contrasting effects associated with cannabinoids and the fact that the pharmacology of naturally occurring cannabinoids in the human brain is not understood at length.

Therefore, the full range of consequences of synthetic cannabinoid or marijuana use cannot be entirely anticipated and should be explored. It is hard to believe that a plant with so much usefulness would not be farmed on a massive level it is very easy to cultivate and it grows with little to no care. There is a bad side to industrializing hemp there would be money and jobs lost by the industries that hemp would replace.

The textile companies would lose a lot of their business hemp makes a much stronger fabric that is much cheaper to produce, there would not need to be too many modifications made when it comes to how we farm our textiles if the cotton companies would be willing to convert they could probably do just as well. The pharmaceutical companies stand to lose the most money, the drugs that are their best sellers like antidepressants and cancer treatment drugs. It would also replace most over the counter remedies as well headaches and most stomach problems can be treated with marijuana.

When using deontology rather than looking at the consequences of an act, one looks at the reason for which an act is done, and the rule according to which one chooses to act. Deontology does not dismiss that acts have consequences rather; it insists that those consequences should not play a role in our moral evaluation of such acts (Mosser, 2010). If we use a deontologist point of view when accessing the act of a terminally ill patient using marijuana to cope with pain or perhaps gain an appetite there is no question that this is the right thing to do.

How about a person using marijuana recreationally it increases your sense but slows your reflexes it is healthier than smoking tobacco or drinking alcohol as long as the person is an adult who is not performing any dangerous procedures they should be fine and this act can be looked at as acceptable. Utilitarianism sometimes called the consequentialist theory because it evaluates whether an act is right or wrong relative to the acts consequences. (Mosser, 2010)

Therefore, utilitarian would look at the overall greater good and make it legal; there are some downsides as far as evenue goes but should money always be the main goal. As cash crop it is worth lots of money it can be used for much more than just it chemical properties it makes great fabric and plastics that have ten times the impact strength of steal. It vastly improves the quality of life for many cancer survivors with marijuana multiple sclerosis suffers a beginning to lead almost normal existences without fear of pain and chemo patients can eat a full meal and gain back the strength needed to survive.

Would it be right to deny these people a medicine that can save their lives simply because we see it as social unacceptable? If we look at marijuana use case by case, and judge them using relativism perspective rarely will we find a case were the marijuana use is detrimental to the person using it or the surrounding society (Yacoubian, 2007). In fact, most of the bad acts associated marijuana is in the procurement of it if people had a legal way to get their marijuana, most of the crime would subside because there would no longer be a profit.

There has been a comparison study done on our marijuana laws and the marijuana laws in place in the Netherlands. The United States policy towards marijuana is best viewed in two ways: first off is supply reduction, or the reduction and control of the supply of drugs through legal prohibitions, law enforcement, interdiction, sentencing, and incarceration. Secondly is demand reduction, or the reduction of the demand for drugs through education, prevention, and treatment. Yacoubian, 2007) Dutch law states that marijuana is illegal but in 1976, the Netherlands adopted a formal policy of no enforcement for violations involving the possession or sale of up to thirty grams that was later lowered to five grams in 1995 of marijuana this policy is referred to depenalization. By the mid-1980s, another rule allowed small retail outlets to sell marijuana legally this policy is referred to as de facto legalization.

The retail stores are required to comply with five codes of practice: 1) sales are limited to no more than five grams per person daily; 2) no hard drugs, such as ecstasy, cocaine, or heroin, can be sold; 3) no advertising is permitted; 4) no nuisances or public disturbances are permitted; and 5) no sales to minors. In the end the findings were very interesting it seems that the increased availability of marijuana in the Netherlands only led to a slight increase in the amount of marijuana users and our laws did very little to curb use or supply (Yacoubian, 2007).

So why do we continue to prosecute our people and waste thousands of dollars trying to eradicate a plant with so many pros and so few cons. Our economy is in trouble, at the end of the 2009 fiscal year our deficit came in at a record $1. 42 trillion, more than triple the record set just a year earlier and it is only getting worse. The government spends nearly 7. 7 billion dollars a year prosecuting cases and eradicating marijuana farms even with these efforts there is an estimated black market for marijuana of nearly 100 billion dollars a year.

With numbers like these, the government could tax marijuana as it does alcohol and tobacco it and make an additional 6. 2 billion a year in revenues. So again using utilitarian point of view the greatest good for the greatest number is legalize and tax it. The reasons marijuana is not legal today is probably more financial and political than for the reason of keeping the public safe from a dangerous drug. If the government was truly concerned with the overall safety of the public rather than just weather or not something made money tobacco and alcohol would have been made illegal a long time ago.

If a utilitarian point of view is used to evaluate whether or not tobacco should be legal based on the information provided here it would be easy to say that tobacco should be illegal it kills not only the people who use it but innocent bystanders (Mosser, 2010). There are not too many arguments for why tobacco should be legal other than that it has always been legal, it relaxes them, and it generates lots of revenue for the government and other businesses. These are not to convincing but the money generated has given the people in charge of these companies lots of power and they have used that power to keep marijuana illegal.

Political lobbying has been a big problem when it comes to marijuana becoming legal tobacco, pharmaceutical, and alcohol companies have a lot of money and they would lose a substantial amount of their revenue if marijuana became legal. Therefore, they hire a third party to bribe and negotiate with politicians to stop possible injunctions and even have bills introduced to reduce the amount of regulations already in place. Why would the alcohol and tobacco companies want the American citizens using a drug they could grow in their backyard that does not kill you or cause dependency?

The reason marijuana is illegal and will remain illegal is greed, plain and simple, the greed of man and the never-ending pursuit of the almighty dollar. The amount of money that corporate America stands to lose if people wake up and begin using marijuana in all the ways it can be is exponential. First off, most pharmaceutical companies will lose their biggest money makers, people would no longer need to use the dangerous psychoactive drugs with side effects that are sometimes worse than the original condition.

Next would come all of the textile uses it can make fabric stronger than cotton, grows and process much easier and is cheaper to produce. Then there are the recreational uses why would people continue to use tobacco when it has been proven to kill when they could use something much safer without fear of prosecution. Someday the world will be in the hands of the next generation a generation of informed intelligent people who no longer accept things at face value.

We will use ethics the way it is meant to be used to help people not to find ways in which to justify the controls enforced on them. Critical thinking will be put to use to solve the crises caused by years of denial and ignorance we will no longer use unsafe drugs simply because they are considered socially acceptable. Unfortunately, that day may be far away until then we can just hope for the majority of people to wake up and take a look at what the government is saying with it policies on marijuana and their polices on alcohol and tobacco.

Do we want money controlling our government this does not maximize our utility the people should control policy not companies. Someday we will outlaw political lobbing and truly punish the corrupt who line their pockets with money from special interest groups who seek less regulations so that they can make a profit. We will no longer endure the injustices perpetrated against us, the sick are being giving drugs that do not really help and in most cases makes things worse.

America is a global leader when it comes to human rights yet our citizens sometimes have fewer freedoms than we think. In the constitution, it states every man has the right to the pursuit of happiness for some people, happiness is relaxing with some marijuana and the right to use it should be protected. We know that tobacco and alcohol can kill you we also know that marijuana cannot so maybe it is time that we apply ethics to this issue, do the greatest good for the greatest number, and legalize marijuana.

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