Marijuana, which is commonly also known as pot, herb or bhang, is a preparation of the cannabis herb’s dry flowers, buds and leaves used either as a medicine or as a psychoactive drug (Caulkins, Hawken, Kilmer, and Kleiman 4). The leaves, buds, and flowers of this plant contain varying amounts of mind-altering compounds known as cannabinoids. Marijuana is consumed in various forms and is the most frequently used illicit drug in the world. It is used for medicinal purposes, for socializing, and for aesthetic value (Caulkins et al. 3).
Marijuana gives its users a high, which they find to be a very pleasant experience. The intensity of the marijuana high not only depends on the part of the plant where it is taken from but also the strength of the plant and the form in which it is consumed, that is, whether it is eaten or smoked (Ruschmann 12). The cannabis plant flowers and buds produce a higher intensity of a high than the leaves since they have more amounts of tetrahydrocannabinol, THC, which gives marijuana its characteristics of judgment impairing and mind-altering. Individuals who are high normally talk a lot and become calm, feel more relaxed and are very sociable (Ruschmann 12).
International treaties and laws in most countries prohibit the growing, possession, or sale of marijuana. There are multiple perspectives from different people regarding marijuana’s legalization in most countries. The decision of whether to legalize marijuana or not has sparked various heated debates as the issue is highly controversial. While some people are of the opinion that cannabis is a mild non-toxic plant that can be used to alleviate several ailments, others argue that it is an illegal substance, which is very destructive and causes addiction (Steve 9). This essay will look into the issues that are discussed by proposers of this legalization as well as the issues discussed by those who are against the validation of marijuana.
The proponents of the legalization claim that marijuana should be legalized because of various reasons. First, medical research professionals report that marijuana use can have some health benefits for people suffering from certain medical complications such as anxiety, nausea, migraines, cancer, glaucoma, chronic pain, and AIDS (Morgan 22). Second, legalizing marijuana would create a huge income to the country in form of tax revenue from the sale of the marijuana. Currently, marijuana is sold in the black market and only a few individuals get profit from this sale. Legalizing marijuana will result in government officials monitoring its sale and distribution, leading to situation whereby revenue in terms of taxes is collected. This will in turn boost the country’s economy. In addition, legalization would save on the funds that are spent by the government in arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning lawbreakers. These funds could be put into better use in improving the economy of the country (Morgan 12).
Third, the proposers of legalization assert that the sale, possession and growing of marijuana should be legalized in order to eliminate the black market production, sale and distribution, though some rules and regulations should still be set up to govern the whole process (Caulkins et al. 3). Lastly, the cannabis plant can be put into various industrial uses as different parts of the plant can be used make various industrial products. Oil from the hemp seeds can be consumed by humans and it contains proteins and vital fatty acids that are suitable for a healthy diet. In addition, the oil can also be used in the production of plastics and paints. The stalks of the herb can be soaked in water until they disintegrate into fibers that are used in the making of ropes, paper, insulation materials, cloths, and used for flooring (Morgan 19-20). Marijuana is gotten from the leaves of the cannabis herb. These leaves and flowers contain a chemical known as tetrahydrocannabinol, THC that gives the marijuana its ability to be mind-altering and to impair judgment.
Those who oppose the legalization of marijuana are concerned about the health complications that are associated with marijuana. Some of the health issues are that it may lead to, especially lung and respiratory tract cancer (Shohov 4). This is because marijuana is more often consumed through smoking by its users than it is consumed in any other form. Secondly, it not only reduces the cognitive response of its users, but it may also cause brain damage since it negatively alters the functions of neurons in the brain (Shohov 3). Thirdly, marijuana users are at a higher risk of experiencing a heart attack since marijuana has an effect on blood pressure and heart rate and it reduces the capacity of blood to carry oxygen (Shohov 3).
Other health effects are that the THC in marijuana impairs the immune system increasing the chances of a user to develop tumors and bacterial infections (Shohov 5). Marijuana has also been found to have severe detrimental effects when used by expectant women. There is a huge chance of babies born to mothers who use marijuana often exhibiting distorted responses to visual stimuli and neurological complications. Later on when these babies grow, they will become sluggish in language comprehension, they will not have a sharp memory and their attention span will be very short (Shohov 7).
Another claim from those who oppose the legalization of marijuana is that the use of marijuana will result in an increase in the number of road accidents in view of the fact that most careless drivers will drive after they have used marijuana and their judgment is impaired as a result, thereby driving recklessly. They also argue that the legalization of marijuana will predispose most of its users to the use of other unlawful substances that may eventually pose serious health risks to them. Lastly, the tetrahydrocannabinol, THC in marijuana has been associated with an adverse withdrawal syndrome for the marijuana addicts who are trying to quit using it. The withdrawal syndrome symptoms include anxiety, depression, irritability, insomnia, and chills (Shohov 7).
In conclusion, the evaluation of these claims and arguments is that both perspectives present strong convictions supporting their stand. My evaluation is that marijuana should be legalized and this legalization should be followed by the enactment of strict laws and regulations that will govern its growing, its production, its distribution, its sale, and its use by members of the public. For example, there should be a legal minimum age for users, producers, distributors and sellers should have a license, and taxing of the sale of marijuana should be enforced. Public education on the proper use of marijuana should also be carried out in order to eliminate the causes of addiction, driving when high or wrong use of marijuana.
Caulkins, Jonathan, Hawken, Angela, Beau, Kilmer, and Mark, Kleiman. Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. Print.
Morgan, Kayla. Legalizing Marijuana. Edina, MN: ABDO Publishing Company, 2011. Print.
Ruschmann, Paul. Legalizing Marijuana. New York: Infobase Publishers, 2003. Internet resource.
Shohov, Tatiana. Medical Use of Marijuana: Policy, Regulatory, and Legal Issues. New York: Nova Science Publishers, 2003. Print.
Steve, Elliott. The Little Black Book of Marijuana: The Essential Guide to the world of Cannabis. New York: Peter Pauper Press, 2011. Print.