Let’s Legalize it!
“The only way in which a human being can make some approach to knowing the whole of any subject is by hearing what can be said about it by persons of every variety of opinion and studying all modes in which in can be looked at by every character of mind. No wise man ever acquired his wisdom in any mode but this.” – John Stuart Mill
The topic of legalizing marijuana is a very conservational issue in American politics today. There are many good arguments both for and against legalization. But most important is that all of these arguments are based on facts. John Mill believes that one must be educated on both sides of an opinion before making one’s own opinion, these are the facts for both for and against marijuana legalization.
The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the act that effectively made marijuana illegal in the US, was based on the fact that “marijuana caused violent crime and sexual excess” (Grinspoon 139). These theories have been thoroughly discredited and proven to be unsubstantiated. If marijuana was legal crime would decrease, dealers would be driven out of the market by lower prices, and the government would benefit from the sales tax on drugs. Moreover, legalization would give the government more control over the purity and potency of drugs.
Drugs are a taboo subject in America, mostly because people are uneducated or misled by government education. Because of this most people feel that someone who uses drugs is a danger to society. When in fact, drug abuse for the most part is a victimless crime only affecting the user and the user’s body and therefore should be the user’s choice. It should be self-evident to see how Anti-Drug laws eliminate personal responsibility and free choice, leading to government infringement on individual rights. The War on Drugs has lead to the inexcusable erosion of our civil liberties by the use of “informers and entrapment, mandatory urine testing, unwarranted search and seizures, and violations of the Posse Comitatus Act (which outlaws the use of military forces to police for civilian law enforcement) are becoming more common. It is clear that our society cannot be both drug-free and free” (Grinspoon. 142). Lynch talks about how the war on drugs is not only eroding our civil liberties but is also wasting our tax money at a rate of almost 18 billion dollars a year. In addition, more than “300,000 people a year are arrested on marijuana charges, contributing to the clogging of our courts and overcrowding prisons,” (Grinspoon. 142) all this is also costing tax payers’ money on top of the 18 billion a year. The war on drugs is a war within our homes, a war between our friends and family.
From the early 1970’s until present we have heard that marijuana destroyed brain cells, caused psychoses, lowered testosterone levels ad sperm counts, led to breast development in males caused chromosome breakage and birth defects says Grinspoon. However not one of these claims could ever be proven and more and more people have grown to resent the governments deceiving propaganda. So far, not a single case of lung cancer, emphysema, or other significant pulmonary pathology attributable to cannabis use has been reported.
Furthermore, marijuana has many medical benefits and has been proven to help those suffering from “Chemotherapy nausea, glaucoma, chronic pain, epilepsy, migraine, and AIDS wasting syndrome” (Grinspoon 138). Also some people find it so useful in gaining new perspectives or seeing problems from a different vantage point that they smoke in preparation for intellectual work. Clearly these people have learned to make us of altered states of consciousness. Often our greatest songs, poems, novels, and works of art were conceived under the influence of marijuana. Additionally marijuana can enhance the appreciation of food, music, sexual activity, natural beauty, and other sensual experiences also under the right setting it can promote emotional intimacy is Grinspoon’s outlook on the situation. These were the main issues in the fight to legalize marijuana the tyranny and lies has gone on too long.
Advocates generally argue that crime would decrease under legalization, that dealers would be driven out of the market by lower prices, that legalization works in other countries, and that government would benefit from the sales tax on drugs. These arguments exemplify a great lack of understanding about the nature of drug abuse. The Netherlands has often been heralded as a country where decriminalization has worked. When in fact, “drug related holdups and shootings have increased 60 percent and 40 percent, respectively, since decimalization” (Voth 144). As for taxation, because of powerful drug lobbying the Netherlands has never been able to mount a taxation campaign against its legal drugs. Similarly in the United States Tobacco lobbyists have successfully defeated most taxation initiatives against tobacco.
Furthermore, legalizing marijuana would send the wrong message, it would give the appearance that marijuana wasn’t dangerous or that the government was approving it by making it legal. People would be more incline to use it and even more people would experiment with marijuana as a result of legalization. Voth thinks that legalization would result in as many as 250,000 to over two million new addicts. The Gateway effect has been well established in research and with a quarter to two million new smokers some if not most of them will some day get bored or unable to get high marijuana and will some day turn to harder drugs. The use of alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana are major risk factors for subsequent addition and more extensive drug use.
Even if marijuana users don’t go on to use harder drugs cannabis is still so deleterious to your health that it warrants prohibition. Marijuana smoke contains double to triple the concentrations of tar, carbon monoxide, and carcinogens found in cigarette smoke and have been linked to several forms of cancer. What is more, contaminants of marijuana smoke include “forms of bacteria and fungi users with impaired immunities are at particular risk for disease and infection” (Voth 146). As a result of marijuana our medical system has been over burden and with legalization only more people will get sick. Our health care system will not be able to handle the drastic increase in the number of addicts and associated health problems. Another more serious health risk is damage to the short to memory and the ability to perform complex task such as flying is impaired even 24 hours after intoxication. “Chronic addicts admit that their motivation to succeed lessens” (Voth 146). This may account for kids dropping out of school or their inability to hold a job. There are enough vices in our Society. Is it really necessary to go out of our way to add another one? Or should each person be aloud the freedom to make that decision for them selves?
After researching both sides of the opinion I believe the each person should be aloud the freedom to make the decision for themselves whether or not smoking marijuana is for them. Throughout this paper I’ve given the facts what pros and cons there would be and the pros seem to over power the cons because the cons are mostly self harming facts. The fact is that we as Americans should have the freedom to make the choice of whether or not we are willing to except the consequences that smoking marijuana has. On the other hand, the government could earn money from taxes on its sale, there would be more money for our country and less money ford the drug dealers, and it also has medical purposes. Its value to the medical world outweighs its potential abuse.
Grinspoon, Lester. “Should Marijuana be Legalized as a Medicine? Yes it’s a Beneficial Drug.” The World and I June 1994. Rpt. In Chemical Dependency: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Laura K. Egendorf. New York: Greenhaven, 2003. 145-149
Lynch, Timothy. “The War on Drugs Has Failed.” After Probation. 2000. Rpt. In Chemical Dependency: Opposing Viewpoints. Ed. Laura K. Egendorf. New York: Greenhaven, 2003. 150-156
Voth, A. Eric. “Should Marijuana be Legalized as a Legalized as a Medicine? No it’s Dangerous and Addictive.” The World and I June 1994. Rpt. In Taking Sides: Drugs and Society. Ed. Raymond Goldberg. New York: Dushkin, Brown and Benchmark. 1996. 143-147