The legalization of marijuana is one of the many controversial issues in the modern climate. For this week’s post, I have been asked to take a side on this divisive issue. I, for one, have always supported the legalization of marijuana in both medical and recreational capacities. That’s not to say that I’m necessarily encouraging its usage, I merely think that there isn’t sufficient evidence or reasoning for it to remain illegal. First, marijuana has been legal in certain states already and they’ve seen no great health crises as far as marijuana usage goes. These states have also been able to collect tax revenue on legal marijuana which is a positive, if not overstated, effect. Another reason to support marijuana legalization is that it would then be subject to federal regulation and inspection. The legalization of marijuana would also cut down on the massive number of people who are given disproportionate sentences due to mandatory minimums on drug charges.
There are some who would argue that marijuana is too harmful to be legalized and that it would have a negative effect on society but I am not so sure that this is the case. The obvious response to this concern would be to point out the fact that neither tobacco products or alcohol are illegal even though they both are arguably equally, if not more, dangerous than marijuana. To those who are skeptical, please thing of it this way. Alcohol can easily kill you in multiple ways, from drunk driving to liver failure. Tobacco products can cause an array of cancers and other respiratory diseases. Marijuana only shares the danger of intoxicated driving with these two. Marijuana will not cause cancers like tobacco, and you also can’t overdose like you can on alcohol. The primary issues with marijuana is that it can cause psychosis in some users after chronic daily use, and that it can affect the brain development of young people. The chronic use issue is unavoidable. If you take any drug daily, then you’re going to have some long-term problems. The effects of marijuana on brain development are a more valid concern in my opinion. I would certainly want to see rules and regulations if marijuana was to be legalized and specifically I’d say a legal age of perhaps 21 with the effects of marijuana both short and long term clearly defined on the packaging.
From a completely moral standpoint, I don’t like the idea of the legality of any substance that is both addictive and can be harmful to the user. From a more pragmatic perspective, however, I understand that people are going to use marijuana and I would rather have it be regulated and studied to help safeguard people.