Even though Marijuana isa a standard drug administered by physicians, its usage remains illegal in the U.S. The question of whether marijuana should be legalized or stay banned remains a subject of intense debate up to date. Marijuana, which is a substance gotten from the leaves of Cannabis sativa, is said to help people to improve their skills and talents. In medical circles, the drug is used in easing the pain for patients suffering from chronic diseases like cancer and Aids.
On a negative note, the drug is said to make its users lose objectivity as well as causing them to have short-term memory lapses. However, the use of marijuana has been proved to cause less damage compared to othe ther substances like cigarettes.
This has always made me ask questions like if cigarettes are more potent, why should they be legal while marijuana remains banned? Do the negative effects of marijuana outweigh the positive ones? May be we can get answers to these questions by looking at the positive, negative, and the economic implications that marijuana has on our country. (Southall)
For a long time, marijuana has been used to relieve pain among patients suffering from intensive pain. Some states in the U.S having realized the medicinal values of the drug have gone just short of declaring it as legal. According to Ashley Southall from the New York Times, the District of Columbia has taken bold steps toward legalizing the drug. According to Southall, it is now possible for Columbians with ‘certain chronic illnesses’ to get a dose of marijuana from a local clinic.
Unlike in the past, doctors in Columbia can now prescribe marijuana for patients suffering from HIV, glaucoma among a host of other terminal diseases. According to the new legislation, patients can now walk into any of the designated clinics and get up to four ounces of marijuana. According to the article, doctors have found marijuana to play a crucial role in relieving nausea, reducing the side effects of chemotherapy among other positive things in the medical field. (Southall)
Despite the positive effects of marijuana, the drug has also been known to have diverse negative effects on its users. Tetrahydrocannibinol (THC), which is the main element in marijuana, has been known to cause stimulation in the brain. The chemical (THC) ties itself around brain receptors and spreads to every part of the nervous system. Since the brain is responsible for giving coordination to the body, a person under the effects of marijuana becomes paranoid, begins hallucinating, and often times than not makes impaired judgments.
According to experts, prolonged usage of the drug shortens people’s memory and hinders their brain from processing information. According to recent research, excessive use of cannabis among teenagers increases their chances of developing mental illnesses later on in life. Despite these disorders brought about by the use of marijuana, studies show that up to 150 million people worldwide still use the drug on daily basis. (NIDA)
According to a report by Jeffrey Miron released in 2005, the use of marijuana has great economic implications for our country. According to Miron, every police department is allocated an enormous budget to help in seizing marijuana users. Statistics show that the number of people arrested for marijuana trafficking or for its usage has been on a steady rise over the years. On top of this, the government devotes a large portion of its budget on imprisoning those arrested for dealing in marijuana.
Those who advocate for the legalization of marijuana claim that by continuing to ban the drug, the government loses revenue that could be gotten from legal sale of the commodity. Research shows that in 2000 alone U.S residents spent close to $10.5 billion on the purchase and sale of marijuana. This shows that despite the drug being banned, its usage is still widespread among Americans. Given the enormous budget that the government spends in trying to deter the usage of marijuana, something needs to be done about this issue. (Miron)
Like every American citizen, the issue of legalizing marijuana has been of interest to me. Personally, the issue has affected directly since my brother in law was executed after being indicted for trafficking in the drug. My heart always goes out to people who have to endure intense pain just because the use of the drug that can aid relieve their pain is branded illegal.
Considering that the use of marijuana is less harmful compared to other legal drugs like cigarettes, I find myself leaning more on the side of those calling for the legalization of the drug. Despite the enormous budgets that governments set up to curb the spread of the habit, the number of those consuming the drug keeps on going up.
Over time, I would like to carry out more research on the issue just to determine if the damages caused by marijuana outweigh the positive side of it. It would also be interesting to see if the government would collect revenue from the legal sale of the drug and if the crime rate would go down upon legalizing the drug. Lastly, it would be interesting for me to notice what would happen to those people servicing prison sentences once the use of the drug becomes legal.
Miron, Jeffrey. The budgetary implications of marijuana prohibition, 2005. Web.
NIDA. InfoFacts: Marijuana. National Institute on Drug Abuse, 2009. Web.
Southall, Ashley. “Washington Approves Medical Use Of Marijuana.” New York Times, 2010. Web.