The issue of whether the use of marijuana should be legalized has been a controversial subject not only in the United States of America, but also in other countries that have banned its use. It is impossible to deny the fact that marijuana is the most used prohibited drug in the U.S for recreational purposes. However, it has been established that millions of Americans use this recreational drug just to get high. As highlighted in this paper, the importation, selling and use of marijuana should be legalized for several reasons. First, the medical value of this drug outweighs its potential abuse. Second, governments could earn some extra revenue in form of taxes on the sale of the drug. Moreover, its importance to religion, the clothing and paper industries cannot be ignored.
Despite immense pressure from various groups that oppose marijuana legalization by citing the increase in criminal activities as the main reason, the reasons for its legalization outweighs the opposing arguments by far (Gerber 76). Marijuana is the drug used by many people in world. Some people assume that marijuana is the most dangerous drug in the world. This may not be true because other than the dangers it causes, there is a lot more profit that marijuana can provide that the majority of people seem not to know about. This may be the reason why it is the most commonly used and abused illegal drug in the world.
The economic benefits from the marijuana outweigh the other benefits of this substance. There are many money-generating activities associated with marijuana. First of all, if marijuana is legalized, the income that will be generated from its sale will be enormous. Proper taxation regulations can be set up by the governments, and the tax that will be collected in the local budget can be used in the various sectors of the economy, like in the improvement of infrastructure and general increase of the standard of living of its people (Gerber 154).
This will also be possible because there will be employment opportunities for people in the different marijuana processing industries, thus reducing the level of unemployment. It is important to consider the benefits of marijuana in the development of other industries like clothing, drug industries, coffee industries, tourism and paper industries, in which marijuana can be of great importance. Its legalization can benefit not only one country but many other countries, especially developing ones that produce the plant. Other sectors like the transport companies and shipping industries can be highly boosted as they will be used as the means to transport the drug (Zimmer and Morgan 58). Their economies will expand tremendously and other problems, like immigration to well-off countries will be greatly reduced.
Lifting the ban on the import, production and selling of marijuana would greatly reduce the flow of money from the U.S economy to international criminal gangs. The illegality of this drug makes its cultivation and smuggling into the U.S extremely profitable. This practice, which has been going on for many years, has impacted the economy of the U.S.
Other than the economic benefits that marijuana has, it also has got some very good health benefits. Unlike other drugs that cause cancer, the probability of a person using marijuana to develop cancer as the result of the drug use is minimal. This is contrary to people who use other substances like cigarettes. Rosso (40) asserts that marijuana can be used as a pain reliever for people suffering from illnesses that cause a lot of pain, like cancers HIV/Ads and other serious diseases. Marijuana has got very good relaxation effects on the mind and body. This can be very therapeutic to a person in terms of reducing a person’s stress and uneasiness that comes with the disease. It can also be used to reduce high blood pressure and it can provide many other medical benefits. It should be used as prescription medicine, and doctors should be allowed to advice and prescribe it as a drug to patients who need it (Rosso 36). This will make it easily available for people who have the recipe for it. Currently it is difficult for doctors to prescribe it even in dire situations because of the fear of being charged, as it is illegal in most parts of the world. Marijuana has a positive effect on the nervous system, which in turn balances the entire body system.
Reduce Teen and Youth Exposure
It is obvious that the prohibition has failed to control the domestic production and use of marijuana. For over 75 years, the government has imposed different criminal penalties to prevent the production and use of this drug in American soil. Yet, this controversial drug is now being consumed by over 20 million teenagers and youth every year (Zimmer and Morgan 122). In fact, marijuana is arguably the largest cash crop in America. Claims that the ban on marijuana has been a successful policy are unsupported by facts and ludicrous, and the notion that this drug will eventually be eliminated from the United States is a ridiculous fantasy. Legalizing its use and consumption is the only way of regulating its use and consumption, because marijuana is here to stay.
A regulated and legal market for this drug would limit marijuana use and sales among teenagers and youths, as well as reduce their exposure to other severe drugs in the illegal market. Gerber (56) argues that the illegality of this drug makes it more valuable than if it were legal, thus attracting teenagers and youths in droves. The teens and youths are not only attracted to smoking marijuana, but also to the presented opportunities of making easy money by selling it to their friends. If the excess profits that come from the sales of marijuana were ended by legalizing it, there would be less incentive for teenagers and youths to sell the drug to one another.
Exploiting the Many Uses of the Plant
Marijuana is arguably the most valuable plant on the earth due to its multi-purpose nature. As a matter of fact, every part of this controversial plant is used in industry. It is known that hemp is used for paper, plastic, and fabric. Hemp is marijuana that is used for creating products, rather than smoking. It has been established that clothing, paper and fiberboard that is made from hemp is twice as strong as those made from wood. Zimmer and Morgan (90) assert that many European countries, as well as Canada, have supported legal hemp cultivation without necessarily legalizing marijuana. The United States can borrow a leaf from such countries and legalize this diverse and valuable agricultural crop. As the country tries to shift its dependency on oil and embracing bio-fuel as an alternative, legalizing the cultivation of hemp will be very helpful in this quest.
The seeds of the marijuana plant can be used as food source. The plant contains vital fats such as omega 3 and 6, which are important for human body. Moreover, the oils from the marijuana seeds can also be used as a cheap source of fuel. Due to its patented nature, no one can use marijuana to become wealthy. It is very unfortunate that the resources that can be extracted from this plant are unused because of the ban (Zimmer and Morgan 243). If marijuana use becomes legal, cutting down of trees will be reduced significantly, hence the world would be greener.
Reduction of Cost
As we all know, the amount of effort and money spent on the fight against marijuana is significant. Governments can save all the money set aside for war against drugs and spend it on other important matters. The number of people in prisons across the world because of selling, using or possession of marijuana is overwhelming. Governments have to spend lots of tax payers’ money to arrest offenders, hire prosecutors, and sustain these individuals in prison. This large number of prisoners can be reduced by legalizing marijuana, so that these people are freed and individuals, who commit more serious crimes, can be arrested. Gerber (1230 believes that the large sums of money set aside for war against drug can be spent on more important projects. The decision to use the drug is of person’s own free will. Once it is legalized, all these costs will be cut down as the numbers of prisoners will be largely reduced. Moreover, people will use marijuana more responsibly, as they will have to use proper channels to get the drug (Zimmer and Morgan 67). On the other hand, its legalization will make it easy for governments to control its use. The governments will easily take control in a case, where there is misuse of the drug. Since marijuana can grow in literally every part of the world, it is not likely to bring any losses due to poor harvest; on the contrary, it will bring more profit as it grows very well without much struggle.
Reduction of Crime
In a society where marijuana is illegal, the number of criminal activities and violence are pretty high. Crimes like robbery, theft, and rape are prevalent among people, who use the drug, as these individuals misuse marijuana without any control. People selling the drug will go to any lengths to sell the drug to unsuspecting individuals, some of whom do not even know the effect the drug has (Gerber 65). When the drug is legalized, these crimes will greatly decrease in numbers as people will use the drug freely, therefore they will be more responsible. The drug may end up in young students’ hands and the consequences may be very serious. For this reason, I think the drug should be legalized as there will be more public awareness about marijuana and its effect. This will motivate people make informed decisions when they decide to use the drug. Once it is legalized it will become just like any other drug, similar to cigarettes. There will be no big deal in its use.
Impact on the Minority Communities
The legalization of this drug will paint a very different picture of the criminal justice system. For many years, the criminal justice system, especially the police and law enforcement agencies, have been faulted for being very strict and biased against minority communities in the United States of America. Corry and Enyart (1) contend that blacks and Hispanics are more likely to be arrested for selling, use and possession of marijuana. These arrests have reinforced the belief that law enforcement is prejudiced and biased against these communities. Blacks account for almost 13 percent of America’s population and approximately 13.5 percent of regular users of marijuana. The worrying trend is that blacks account for almost 26 percent of all marijuana-related arrest. Studies have also revealed that Hispanics and blacks account for the bulk of marijuana arrests in New York. For this reason, many people, especially minority groups believe that the law enforcers demonstrate that minorities are discriminated against when it comes to marijuana related cases..
How It Can Be Legalized
The legalization of marijuana can be made easy by making legislations and law that affects both the sellers and buyers. This may be done by setting up specific places, where the drug will be sold. It should not be sold in every available place (Corry and Enyart 1). There should be specific places designated for the sale of the drug. It has to be sold to adults only and no person, who is underage, should be allowed to buy marijuana. The individuals selling the drug must be legalized and licensed. They should be adults of high moral standard, so that they do not sell the drug to underage persons or to unauthorized individuals.
As aforementioned, there are millions of seasoned marijuana smokers in the United States and millions more infrequent smokers. As the paper highlights, smoking marijuana has far fewer hazardous and harmful impacts of individuals and the society at large compared to the legal drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol. In this regard, the ban on marijuana is based on disinformation and lies. Therefore, the justification of this ban is founded on distorted and selective inclination of scientific records this has caused harm to the credibility of law enforcement officials, teachers, and scientists throughout the United States. Moreover, the dangers of this drug use have been blown out of proportion for almost a century. It is asserted that the claims that marijuana’s harm is founded on old 20th century chauvinisms that originated in an era, when science was uncertain of how this drug produced its characteristic effects. Everyone understands that marijuana, or any other drug use, such as tobacco or alcohol, is not for minors. Nonetheless, adults have shown over the past several decades that marijuana can be used moderately and casually without any destructive effects on people and the society.