The legal recognition of marijuana denotes one of the most controversial themes across the globe. Contrary to the contentions presented by the activists of legalizing the drug, the present bipartisan and restrictive laws of the US, as well as other nations around the globe, are doing a commendable job in alleviating the consumption of marijuana. In line with this argument, it is imperative to acknowledge that the substance is one of the most commonly abused drugs in the US (Ruggeri and Teti 43). Intriguingly, the proponents articulating for its legalization on a medicinal context fail to acknowledge that the extreme costs of the drug do not relate to its prohibition but rather from its use. Concurrently, the advocates of the same have a less convincing case for their argument as they cite absurd reasons like its ability to cure some illnesses, moral progression, promotion of wellness, and bolstering liberal thinking, among others. Indeed, some of the contentions sound unrealistic, whereas others lack adequate scientific proof. As such, this article seeks to present an argument against marijuana legalization and at the same time, refute possible criticisms.
Accordingly, proponents contend that the legalization of marijuana would prompt a revenue boost. As both the state and local governments encounter hurdles in raising resources to tend to the needs of their people, the legal recognition of marijuana could help in creating more taxes for the government. Indeed, the contention may have some element of truth, and the economy may get better for some time. However, such does not translate to any long term benefits. Taxation of the drug will not be of any help as it will simply be an exchange of money. The buyers will lose their money, and the funds will end up with the government. On the other hand, the state will have to come up with appropriate programs and initiatives to assist marijuana addicts. In like manner, other marijuana-related activities such as crime will also prompt more expenditure as the state attempts to curb such malpractices. Thus, instead of bolstering economic performance through collected taxes, the legalization of marijuana will create more wastage of taxes in programs that would not have been there if the drug was not legalized in the first place.
Lack of Acceptable Use
Intriguingly, there have been circulating myths that marijuana is not addictive. In like manner, other supporters also opine that the drug is not as addictive as other already legalized substances like cigarettes. Concurrently, compelling evidence articulates that approximately 10% who indulge in marijuana consumption end up getting addicted. The number is even higher in adolescents. Concurrently, the addicts who seek medical intervention for the use of the drug report to have abused it for at least ten years. Various withdrawal symptoms are associated with retraction from the use of marijuana (Chauchard et al. 82). There are numerous cases of insomnia, appetite variations, restlessness, depression, and anxiety. The symptoms affect as many as 44% of the users and thus further contribute to its prolonged use. In like manner, healthcare professionals espouse that prolonged exposure to the drug could also lead to addiction. The contention that the drug is not addictive is hence significantly misguided. Addiction possibly levels all the benefits that could be induced by marijuana were it to be legalized.
Efficiency in Law Enforcement and Criminal Justice
Many contenders opine that decriminalizing marijuana will create more time for law enforcers to pursue the offenders of other crimes such as those indulging in robbery and violence. Intriguingly, the group also ideates that legalization of the same would trigger the creation of wiggle space in the criminal justice system hence enabling judges and prosecutors to focus on more serious crimes to make the society a better place and at the same time reduce prison populace. However, legalization is a double-edged concept that can prompt adverse implications equally powerful to the espoused benefits. Marijuana use could harm not only the society but also impair law enforcement duties (Ward, Lucas and Murphy 217). The legalization of the same will nurture societal violence and crimes in societies. The state of affairs could also translate to aggravated deaths and constrained relationships between people. Besides, there would be heightened property crimes as addicted seek to obtain more resources for procuring the drug.
The idea behind controlled use, as proposed by proponents of legalization, is to establish an age limit for the use of the substance characterized by strict laws and controls for young people’s access to marijuana. On the contrary, the use of marijuana among adolescents has been on the rise. Data depicting the correlation between marijuana use among teenagers exhibit an inverse relationship. The more the adolescent hazard perception diminishes, the use of the substance increases, and vice versa. As states legalize, the use of the substance teenagers, risk perception of the same is expected to lower, consequently translating to heightened use levels among the teens. Such connotes one of the pressing concerns and arguments presented against the legalization of marijuana. What is worse is the drug undermines the cognitive development of the teenagers, consequently inducing both short term and long-term implications.
In like manner, controlled use may not be an option when it comes to marijuana because it is considered a gateway drug. In other words, many experts on the subject matter contemplate that the drug has a high potential to trigger more severe use of other illegal substances such as heroin and cocaine (Palamar, Griffin-Tomas and Kamboukos 323). In like manner, it is also highly probable that users may abuse prescription drugs. Indeed, teenagers, especially boys who abuse marijuana, are also highly probable to indulge in the misuse of prescription drugs. As such, it is beyond a reasonable doubt that the legalization of the same could transpire to immense adverse implications for the society in terms of the cost incurred in treating such teenagers as well as the loss of potential workforce to bolster the economy in the future.
The contenders of legalizing marijuana argue that the procurement of the substance on the streets is risky as there is no sure way to determine the contents of the drug. In other words, the peddlers may add other harmful compounds tailored to increase addiction so that they can make more sales. As such, the proponents of legalization acknowledge that, indeed, current legalization efforts lack direct consideration for safety. Still, they prompt a pivotal framework that could alleviate some of the hazards that stem from the consumption of marijuana, potentially laced with toxic ingredients.
As much as the argument might favor the community’s economy, it is not a good idea as the drug will be freely abused, consequently triggering more related incidents. Indeed, there is no point in consciously aggravating societal violence and crimes. As such, it can be argued that the legalization activists merely envision the issue in a way that benefits them. Indeed, they lack consideration for the adverse implications that may manifest when the drug is cultivated, produced, distributed, and consumed. As much as some of their intentions are reasonable, such as bolstering the economy, the act of legalizing the substance can induce a series of predicaments in society. As such, legalization of the same should never be considered as an option.
Some proponents also propose the capacity of marijuana to benefit people suffering from mental illnesses. Indeed, when used during pregnancy, marijuana helps to alleviate nausea and extreme vomiting while at the same time helping them maintain an ideal appetite. However, it is also true that marijuana can trigger harmful mental implications for users. Legalizing marijuana will have not only an adverse implication on finances but also the physical and mental development of the users. It is beyond a reasonable doubt that the utility if marijuana by a vast percentage of the populace generally prompts societal disorganization.
In like manner, the substance impairs good relationships among people, thus hindering cooperation at both family and national levels. As much as the argument may not hold water as the contention is a mere fear yet to be proven, the previously articulated implications are enough proof as to why the drug should not be legalized and a basis for developing this argument. The continued use of marijuana predisposes the human brain to adverse structural changes. Besides, the issue may be severe enough to trigger mental illness. In other cases, marijuana impairs IQ, which translates to reduced neuropsychological functioning. In like manner, prolonged use may also induce functional brain impairments (Sagar and Gruber 254). Such is because marijuana can reduce the thickness of the cortex, which entails the outer grey matter of the human brain.
The proponents also raise substantial concern over the racial disparities triggered by the integration of stern marijuana laws. As much as the whites and blacks use the substance at almost the same rate, blacks are 3.7 times more likely to be apprehended for the crime in the US than the whites (Thompson 214). In like manner, the radical movements of the 1930s against marijuana merged commendably with the Chicano movement of the same era. In like manner, the Mexican Americans were associated with the substance, and a ban of the same was envisioned as the white man’s ways of deterring the development of the Mexican-American subcultures. Proponents of legalizing marijuana argue that the espoused concerns often had close ties with degeneracy that often hailed from economic depression instead of the use of drugs. Concurrently, compelling facts indicate otherwise. The public popularity of the substance among the white communities in the 1970s and 1960s rendered the drug free from its association with ethnic groups. In like manner, the framework for eradicating marijuana as advocated by various movements of that era was established in a period where the substance was perceived as an infringement in honorable majority white society of the US by Latino and black people, otherwise regarded as oppressed ethnic minorities. As such, the argument does not hold water as a basis for legalizing marijuana.
Creation of Employment
Contenders have also argued that the legalization of marijuana could create employment opportunities for a vast number of people in society. Allowing the cultivation, production, and use of the same could oversee the creation of countless job opportunities for Americans ranging from plantations to production organizations as well as distributing entities. As much as the claim may seem logical, it is imperative to acknowledge that marijuana is a substance or rather a drug that alters the body’s functioning. The users of the drug encounter alterations in their perception of things when under the influence. For instance, mild to moderate cases of consumption can be distorting enough to prompt traffic accidents. Marijuana accounts for one of the drugs that play a major role in road carnages or driver injuries.
Traffic Arrests and Accidents
Intriguingly, legalization proponents contend that DUIs arrests and traffic deaths are not directly proportional to marijuana use. They even contend that such issues may reduce the adoption of friendly measures regarding marijuana use. The contenders further argue that some states like Washington and Colorado have experienced reduced arrests associated with driving under the influence. On the contrary, the legalization of marijuana can potentially impair driving (Manoj Sharma and Mohata 3). Accordingly, Critics of the matter purport that marijuana is a significant contributor to highway accidents, injuries, and crashes. Most importantly, it triggers the visual impairment of the driver as a result of poor brain coordination. Indeed, the driver may also forget the driving basics previously learned hence increasing the risk for severe road accidents.
The decision to legalize marijuana in the US as well as around the globe may also induce undesirable consequences related to expenditure and finance. The age factor will not limit the users of the drug. As such, many adults and youths will indulge in malpractice to greater extents until their finances are greatly impacted. In like manner, the nation will also suffer from lowered rates of development, especially concerning family relationships. Besides, irresponsible behavior and laziness may also undermine a significant percentage of workers as a result of using marijuana. As a result, the workforce suffers from poor productivity that further translates to reduced profitability of organizations and lower economic development rates.
Indeed, future policies on drugs must be effective and smart in addressing the demand for illegal substances such as marijuana. The smart initiatives should begin by identifying ways of reducing drug use among the currently addicted populace. Monitoring initiatives have promising results in curbing drug use and improvement rates among criminal offenders. Refraining from drug use alleviates aggravated recidivism rates as well as incarceration. In like manner, the denial to approve marijuana use in the country will play a pivotal role in making highways safer while at the same time reducing the overall drug use. Indeed, the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes would also translate to elevated marijuana use in society instead of its intended purpose to promote health and wellness. Such can farther result in addiction among teenagers as well as adults. The legalization of the drug is not a smart and effective public safety and health strategy for the state.
Some compounds found in marijuana have therapeutic advantages for symptoms of diseases like cancer and multiple sclerosis. As such, if the legalization of the substance undertakes a medicinal approach, they must follow all the legal protocols observed by other medications that are prescribed by physicians rather than state legislation or popular vote. Besides, if marijuana is also to be approved for therapeutic reasons, it should also be administered via channels that alleviate long-term health hazards. For instance, oral pills can be provided by regulated pharmacies to ensure appropriate concentration and use. Concurrently, recreational marijuana triggers diverse and adverse implications for the users. Most importantly, the substance is highly addictive and with disturbing withdrawal symptoms. Indeed, it has also been linked with devastating mental health and intelligence implications. That said, driving under the influence of marijuana aggravates the hazard of highway accidents. The legalization of the substance may have unproven social benefits such as local criminal justice policy. However, such advantages are at the expense of public health and social expenditures. It is imperative to consider the pros and cons associated with the subject matter in the bid to make an informed decision.
- Bradford, Ashley C., and W. David Bradford. ‘Factors driving the diffusion of medical marijuana legalisation in the United States.’ Drugs: Education, Prevention and Policy 24.1 (2017): 75-84.
- Chauchard, Emeline, et al. ‘Validation of the french version of the marijuana craving questionnaire (MCQ) generates a Two-Factor model.’ The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse 41.1 (2015): 82-87.
- Manoj Sharma, M. B. B. S., and Manoj K. Mohata. ‘Marijuana and Driving: Implications for Drug Education.’ Journal of Alcohol and Drug Education 62.3 (2018): 3-7.
- Palamar, Joseph J., Marybec Griffin-Tomas, and Dimitra Kamboukos. ‘Reasons for recent marijuana use in relation to use of other illicit drugs among high school seniors in the United States.’ The American journal of drug and alcohol abuse 41.4 (2015): 323-331.
- Ruggeri, David, and Michelle Teti. ‘Marijuana Consumption and Access Among Midwest College Students.’ Education 139.1 (2018): 43-52.
- Ryan‐Ibarra, Suzanne, Marta Induni, and Danielle Ewing. ‘Prevalence of medical marijuana use in C alifornia, 2012.’ Drug and alcohol review 34.2 (2015): 141-146.
- Sagar, Kelly A., and Staci A. Gruber. ‘Marijuana matters: reviewing the impact of marijuana on cognition, brain structure and function, & exploring policy implications and barriers to research.’ International Review of Psychiatry 30.3 (2018): 251-267.
- Thompson, Beverly Yuen. ‘“Good moral characters”: how drug felons are impacted under state marijuana legalization laws.’ Contemporary Justice Review 20.2 (2017): 211-226.
- Ward, Kyle C., Paul A. Lucas, and Alexandra Murphy. ‘The Impact of Marijuana Legalization on Law Enforcement in States Surrounding Colorado.’ Police Quarterly 22.2 (2019): 217-242.