The subject of legalizing marijuana or keeping illegal has been an ongoing debate for some 40 years. America is getting closer to having the ban on the “devil weed” lifted, with approximately eight states now allowing marijuana for medicinal purposes. While the use of marijuana has been connected to a rise in criminal activity in some communities, marijuana is not the harmful drug everyone thinks it is.
It has been found to be a myth that marijuana is a gateway drug, or a stepping-stone to harder more dangerous drugs. The war on drugs is really a war on marijuana. In my opinion, the legalization of marijuana falls under the ethical theory of virtue ethics, which is described as the ethical theory that evaluates the morality of a person doing a certain act. Smoking marijuana is considered by many to be just plain wrong. There are arguments for both sides. Some say, those that smoke pot are doing so under informed consent, those are aware of the possible legal ramifications if they were to be caught.
Others say that smoking pot will, without a doubt lead to the use of harder dangerous substance abuse. Marijuana laws are based on falsehoods, misinformation and just plain fear. Pot was domesticated more than 6,000 years ago, it has always been a part of human culture. Used for medicine, food, fuel, fiber and just for fun. Pot is our genetic and cultural heritage. (Bruce D. Marsh-New Jersey Sentinel -2-2-12) The prohibition of marijuana is a crime against humanity and a remnant of Jim Crow laws, because minorities are more associated with its usage.
Are people so afraid of Willie Nelson, The Beatles or the entire cast of SNL for the last 20 years. Not to mention the last three presidents of the United States and several other Politian’s admitted to smoking pot as teenagers. The active molecules are identical to what our bodies produce and needs. That’s why it works, and does no harm. The California Medical Association voted unanimously for the legalization for everyone, not just patients. The laws against marijuana are based on falsehoods, which continue today.
Nonsmokers are said to not have the moral right to put smokers in a government cage, seize their property and in many other ways ruin the lives of those doing something that has been a normal and natural part of human life throughout history. Several people that are pro-legalization say legalize it, tax it and use that money for social security or one of the many other social programs whose funding is being cut. Legalizing marijuana and taxing it could actually financially help the United States The United States war on drugs places a great emphasis on arresting people for smoking pot.
Since 1990, around 5. 9 million Americans have been arrested on marijuana charges. Most of the arrests and incarcerations were for simple possession. Recent FBI statistics state that one pot smoker is arrested every 45 seconds in America. The total number of arrests are greater than the combined arrests for violent crimes. (Ethan Nadelmann, July 2004. The National Review) People that smoke marijuana also pay taxes, have families and love and support those families, they work hard to make a better life for their families. So one day they are arrested for smoking a joint.
They are jailed, and treated like a violent criminal just because of the way they choose to relax. Other agencies step in and deem the pot smoker an unfit parent, declare the children “in danger” and separate the family. These actions by the authorities, cause great pain, and financial hardship. This also causes distrust and disrespect for the law, which is supposed to protect us. Not to mention disrespect for the criminal justice system as a whole. Responsible smokers pose no danger or threat to America. There is no reason to treat them as criminals, or take away the family.
Responsible smokers are not the enemy, and it is time to stop arresting them. All the facts, both pro and con need to be presented. It is clear that the marijuana laws need reform. It should be openly debated using only facts. The empty claims, and exaggerated scare tactics that have been used by the anti-marijuana politicians and other prohibitionists should be rejected. The US government, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and The Bureau of Mortality Statistics has annual American deaths caused by drugs: Tobacco-400,000Asprin-500 Alcohol-100,000Marijuana-0
All Legal Drugs-20,000Caffeine-2000 All Illegal Drugs-15,000 Like any substance, pot can be abused. The most common problem is frequent overuse, which could cause lethargic behavior, but does not cause any serious health problems. Marijuana can cause short-term memory loss, however only while under the influence. Marijuana does not cause long-term memory loss, and it is not a stepping-stone to harder drugs. It does not cause brain damage, genetic damage, or harm the immune system. Marijuana does not cause violent behavior or kill brain cells, unlike alcohol.
It is possible that long-term continual smoking could cause bronchitis, but the chance of this happening to a casual smoker is almost obsolete. A 1997 UCLA School of Medicine study (Volume 155 of the American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine) conducted on 243 marijuana smokers over an eight year period reported the following: “Findings from the long-term study of heavy, habitual pot smokers argue against the concept that continuing heavy use is a significant risk factor for the development of chronic lung disease.
Neither the continuing nor the intermittent smokers showed any major decline in lung function as compared with those that never smoked marijuana. ” The study concluded: “No differences were noted between even heavy smoking and non-smoking. ” Marijuana does not cause serious health issues like those caused by the use of tobacco or alcohol, such as major addiction, cancer, heart problems, birth defects, and liver damage. Death from a marijuana overdose is impossible, in all of world history, there has never been a single death from a health problem caused from marijuana.
In doing research, I found an article from High Times magazine, which lists the top ten reasons that marijuana should be legalized. 10. Prohibition has failed to control the use and domestic production of marijuana. The government has tried to use criminal penalties to prevent use for over 75 years. Cannabis is currently the largest cash crop in the United States. 9. Arrests for marijuana possession affect blacks and Hispanics, reinforcing the perception that law enforcement is biased and prejudice against minorities. 8. A regulated, legal market would reduce pot sales and use among teenagers, as well as other illicit drugs.
The fact that marijuana is illegal makes it more valuable, providing many opportunities for teens and tweens to sell it to their friends. 7. Legalized marijuana would reduce the cash flow from the American economy to international drug cartels. The illegality makes foreign cultivation and smuggling highly profitable. 6. Legalization would simplify the development of hemp as a valuable crop in the United States, including the development as a bio-fuel to lower carbon emissions. 5. Prohibition is based on lies and misinformation. The dangers of marijuana have been highly exaggerated for decades, there has been no “reefer madness”.
Adults have demonstrated over the past several decades that moderate use is without harmful impacts to themselves or to society. 4. Marijuana is not a lethal drug, and is safer than alcohol. It is a scientific fact that it is not toxic to humans, an overdose in practically impossible, and it is not nearly as addictive as tobacco or drinking, 3. Marijuana is too expensive to our justice system, and it should be taxed to support various programs. Law enforcement is responsible for arresting 750,000 people a year for simple possession. These arrests make justice more expensive and less effective.
They are wasting jail space, clogging court dockets and diverting the time of the various law enforcement officials from more violent crimes. 2. Its use has many positive qualities, such as its medical value, and the recreational use with very few side effects. It provides relief from pain, spasms, nausea and a host of other symptoms. Many chose to smoke pot as a way to relax, as opposed to drinking. 1. Users are determined to stand up to the injustice of marijuana prohibition and accomplish legalization, no matter how long or what it takes to succeed. High Times Magazine, 9/1/07 www. alternet. org/story/60959) Never before, have so many Americans supported decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana. Seventy-two percent of people say that for simple possession, people should be fined, but not incarcerated.
The generally accepted definition of decriminalization. Even more Americans support making pot legal for medicinal use. Two out of five Americans (according to a 2003 Zogby poll) say that the government should treat marijuana the same way it treats alcohol: regulate it, control it, tax it, and make it illegal for children. Ethan Nadelmann, An End To Marijuana Prohibition; National Review/ July 12, 2004) Close to 100 million Americans-including more than half of those between 18 and 50 have tried marijuana at least once. Military and police recruiters have no choice but to ignore past use by job seekers. The public apparently feels the same way about presidential and other political candidates. Several in the past two decades have freely admitted to smoking pot in the past. In the past couple of years, there has been a surge in the sales of something called “Legal Marijuana or synthetic marijuana”.
Young people are getting high on this dangerous powerful, substance that is perfectly legal. It is sold in head shops, tobacco stores and even gas stations and its popularity has soared. Synthetic marijuana is a mixture of common herbs that are sprayed with chemicals that mimic the effects of marijuana. There is a disclaimer on the packaging that it is not for human consumption. This disclaimer is what allows it to stay on the shelves. This synthetic substance has the Drug Enforcement Administration very worried.
It has been banned by the legislature in 12 states; it is also banned in some cities in Texas. It is still legal in the remaining 37 states. In the past year, there have been over 500 reported cases of adverse reactions to synthetic marijuana across the country, according to the American Association of Poison Control Centers. The message of the dangers is not getting out. It is an internet sensation. Catchy music, sexy poses and smoke filled pictures appeal to a youth culture that sees a high that easy to get. No matter how it is glamorized, the danger is very real.
Tests performed on “spice”, one name that the drug goes by, shows that it could be as much as five times more powerful that marijuana and it has dangerous long-term and short-term side effects. When you ingest these substances you are playing Russian roulette. Some side effects include hallucination, increased heart rate and blood pressure. These chemicals also appear to affect parts of the brain. Arguing that the government has no right to regulate euphoria, retail stores that sell the products are fighting federal efforts to ban the sales of these harmful products.
In my personal opinion, I believe 100% that marijuana should be legalized. Tax it, and use that money to help with our country’s massive deficit. Also, legalizing it may help with some of the border control issues we have. If it is legal in our backyard, then that stops the dangerous drug cartels from smuggling it into our country, usually using drug mules to do so. It would stop excessive governmental spending to incarcerate those that have simple possession charges. More money that could be spent elsewhere.
I already mentioned that I feel this issue falls under the ethical theory of deontology, as for the argument side I can points in all three theories that the legalization of marijuana falls under. Such as; relativism, a person is conditioned by their culture and surroundings, I personally know several people that smoke pot, and come from a family of pot smokers. Emotivism, a moral issue in this case disapproval from society towards those that chose to smoke marijuana. Finally ethical egoism, the behavior is simply to satisfy a persons desire to smoke marijuana, with no regard to the laws against it.