The legalization of marijuana is one of the most prominent and controversial topics in today’s society. Those who are for the legalization say that marijuana can help improve patients of various diseases quality of life, they also say that legalizing marijuana, can also help boost our economy and, can replace addictive prescription drugs. Those who oppose the subject of legalizing marijuana argue the risks of abuse and addiction, and how marijuana can lead to lower quality of life. Because of the recent positive attention through social media regarding the legalization of marijuana people are beginning to wonder why it was criminalized in the first place. I am going to do research on both sides of the subject, and hopefully, come up with a clear answer to what seems to be the question of this generation. That question is “Should marijuana be legalized?”
The idea of legalizing marijuana is becoming more normalized and widely accepted. This is because it’s the concept has reached far beyond your typical “stoners.” I could only make the obvious assumption that this is happening mostly because of the medical benefits it brings to the table.
For example, after doing some looking it turns out there is a Facebook page that mothers use to talk about and exchange stories on how marijuana has helped their children medically. Some have even taken it to the extreme of moving to states that marijuana has been legalized so their children can legally get treated for diseases such as ADD, ADHD, epilepsy, etc. This is not only true for children but for adults as well. This drug has also helped those who have fought for this country, our veterans in regards to PTSD.
Keeping in mind that marijuana has been legalized in Alaska, Colorado, Washington, and Oregon. Marijuana is proven to help people undergoing the treatment of more than one illness. After reading the article “medical use of marijuana” by Kinga K Borowicz I learned exactly how many illnesses marijuana can be used to treat. According to Kinga K Borowicz, in the article “medical use of marijuana” where access to marijuana is legal it is mainly recommended for treating chronic diseases such as nausea (especially during chemotherapy), chronic pain, Crohn’s disease, glaucoma, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, arthritis, and migraines. (Borowitcz 13)
Before reading this article I only knew that marijuana helped with some illness but I did not think that the drug could actually help that many people. Borwitcz listed Nine different illnesses marijuana can help with. Allowing for marijuana to be used as a course of treatment for these illnesses could be life-changing for so many.
Adding to what Borowicz wrote I have experienced first-hand how Marijuana can help those undergoing chemotherapy. My grandmother suffered from stage four Angiosarcoma, a form of cancer which treatment is primarily based on chemotherapy. For the first two years after she was diagnosed, she was prescribed many medications to help with her chronic pain and nausea. Due to the side effects of prescription medication, she would often choose to endure the pain rather than take the medications. This is because like anyone else who is diagnosed with this relentless disease she wanted to enjoy the rest of the time she had left. The medication would make her dizzy, sleepy, and sometimes even more nauseated than she originally was. Thus, she turned to the use of Marijuana. Being raised in a most would say and “old school” Household she like most, saw this as a last resort when it should have been her first option.
Once she started using marijuana as a course of treatment, we immediately saw the difference in the effect of her body. She felt like she could be productive, rather than being asleep all day. Adding to improving her days she also gained an appetite which gave her more energy. Although the drug did not cure her, what it did do was improve her quality of life while fighting cancer. There was just no question when comparing the two drugs.
I included this in my writing to prove that marijuana can really be helpful, not only that but to show what originally sparked my interest in this topic. Because this drug did so much for my loved one, it really opened my eyes. It drastically changed my perspective on how I saw marijuana and the people who consume it. After taking all of this into consideration it raised another question in my head. “what other benefits does the legalization of marijuana carry?” if any at all.
While furthering my research I discovered A writing by Jonathan P. Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman “Marijuana legalization: what everyone needs to know” in this writing the authors prove that marijuana is not only beneficial medically. If marijuana were to be legalized for both recreational use and medicinal use, the economic benefits of the legalization would be significant. These benefits far outweigh the costs.
Jonathan P. Caulkins, Angela Hawken, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman said in the book “Marijuana legalization: what everyone needs to know”
Legalizing and regulating marijuana would bring the largest cash crop under the constitution of law, creating jobs and economic opportunities in the legal economy instead of the criminal market. Law enforcement resources that should be better used to protect public safety would be preserved while reducing corrections and court costs. This article gave me insight into what economic benefits can come from legalizing marijuana. (Caulkins, Haken, Kleiman)
After reading and comprehending this text, It makes zero sense to continue to waste law enforcement time and taxpayer money on arresting and incarcerating an individual for the use or possession of a drug that is far less dangerous than both alcohol and tobacco. Also, with the legalization State and local governments would acquire significant new sources of tax revenue from regulating marijuana sales. (Caulkins, Hawken, Kilmer, Kleiman 2) This would be a substantial economic boost for the United States economy. After reading all of this I began to think of all kinds of new questions. The main one that stood out to me is “why isn’t marijuana legal yet?’
As always along with the good comes the bad. Those who oppose the legalization of marijuana mostly argue that the drug is “addictive,” and is harmful to society. David G. Evans wrote in his article “The economic impacts of marijuana legalization” that clinical dependence has been found to afflict 10% of all marijuana users. The majority are in their late teens and early twenties. (Evans 8) This article was definitely an eye-opener for me. This article also made me realize how not only I but so many are ignorant of this subject because, in all reality, this is an extremely low number. I honestly thought that that number would be much higher.
Considering the chance of addiction, I believe marijuana is the least harmful drug to society and your body. This is because there absolutely no risk of overdose when using marijuana. According to Zen MD in the article “Medical Marijuana vs. Prescription Drugs: Why Marijuana Comes Out on Top.” There is no danger in overdose when using marijuana. (Zen MD)
Prescription drug abuse is a big problem in the United States. Zen Md also states that it is estimated that more than 17,000 deaths per year are the result of prescription overdoses. More than 50 million Americans use prescription drugs for uses other than medical, and addiction to opioids affects those as young as 12 years old. As of 2017, there have been no known overdoses of medical marijuana. (Zen MD 1) After reading this, it made me realize how dangerous prescription drugs can actually be. When comparing the two, Marijuana seems like a far better option than prescription drugs. These numbers are outrageous.
Another concern those who oppose the legalization of marijuana voice is that it can lead to a lower quality of life due to the abuse of the drug and the impact of productivity. In the article “the economic impacts of marijuana legalization.” by David G. Evans, he states that Marijuana-impaired workers contribute to a decrease in productivity. While performance effects might vary according to job task, the frequency of use, and users’ personal characteristics, studies have found marijuana and alcohol pose comparable risks to productivity. (Evans 12)
Thankfully I didn’t have to look far for validation for my opposing argument. Contradicting himself Evans also states that marijuana advocates claim that research regarding the impact of marijuana use on job performance is inconclusive, as marijuana’s performance effects vary by job task and among users based on the setting and frequency of use as well as the user’s personal characteristics and motivation to perform marijuana advocates also claim that research regarding the impact of marijuana use on job performance is inconclusive, as marijuana’s performance effects vary by job task and among users based on the setting and frequency of use as well as the user’s personal characteristics and motivation to perform. (Evans 6)
Basically, what is being said here is that is marijuana was legalized it should be used just like alcohol is. I mean it makes sense, you don’t show up to work under the influence of alcohol so you shouldn’t show up to work under the influence of marijuana. It is common sense. Obviously, marijuana has done more good things than bad. Although many slanderous claims have been made about marijuana, the truths are slowly starting to resurface.
After reading this article I realize that there is not a legitimate opposing argument to legalizing marijuana. Pretty soon people such as congressmen are going to be forced to recognize this truth. And see marijuana for what it really is, and economically, socially, and medically a beneficial drug.
Although states have the ability to legalize marijuana, is this really legit? The way I see it if marijuana isn’t legalized nationally it is controversial to only authorize legalization by state, given that being prosecuted in regards to marijuana is a federal crime. So, if the DEA decided to come to a state where it is legalized to prosecute someone are you even really protected?
Marijuana has been dealt an unfair hand by society and is justifiably much safer than how it has been portrayed. Marijuana legalization is a topic that has been in consideration for years. It’s time to put ignorance aside and start to see how much we can actually benefit from legalizing marijuana.
As I have proven in my writing the benefits of legalizing marijuana far exceed the risks. I hope after reading this essay that you too can see that the legalization of marijuana would have a tremendously positive impact on society, can improve our economy, and improve the quality of life for some. This topic should no longer even be a controversy. It should no longer be a question of IF marijuana should be legalized, it should be a question of WHEN. The new is now.