Issues On Legalization Of Marijuana Essay, Research Paper
Issues in Legalization of Marijuana
The legalization of marijuana has long been a strongly debated social issue in the United States. Both sides have gathered their thoughts and research to provide a persuasive view of their position. Other than the issue of the medicinal benefits that can be provided through the prescribed use of marijuana, here in the United States there is a war raging regarding the personal opinions of many and the politics regarding the same. Herein is presented a brief overview and a discussion of the opposing views on legalization of marijuana in America.
The on-going debate over the legalization of marijuana has been played out quietly in newspapers and magazines. Although, to those involved in the dispute, it is not calm and quiet, instead it is hot, steamy and loud. Everyone has their own point of view and they have taken their respective corners; all except the government. The government has basically stayed out of the debate altogether by saying, law is law . An editorial in The Economist states, that in doing this, the government has drawn a ridged line between alcohol and tobacco on the one hand and marijuana, cocaine and heroin on the other (15). These articles reveal the background of the debate over the legalization of marijuana.
The people on the side of the legalization of marijuana feel that the goal should be to reduce the use of all drugs. They then point out that studies show that the use of the only two legal drugs, alcohol and tobacco, is decreasing. They also want to note that the use and/or misuse of marijuana, cocaine and heroin are on the rise. Therefore, they are trying to prove that, if marijuana were to be legalized, the rate of use would decrease and cost taxpayers less in the long run. Pro-legalizers say that the cost of sniffer dogs, spot checks, undercover policemen, medical and health-care costs and lost taxes because of illegal drug transactions will all cease if the drug is legalized. They go on to state that the government could even gain a little profit on the tax that they could place on the legal marijuana (The Economist, 15). One view on this same idea is that, legalizing marijuana may just steer the users of cocaine and heroin toward marijuana instead (Kinsley, 92). This drop in the use of other more dangerous drugs is just one of the many arguments on the part of marijuana legalization.
Most articles do not necessarily come right out and state the side of the anti-legalizers of the marijuana debate. The anti-legalizers basically are a conservative group who believe that the laws that are in effect today are just and should not be changed. They feel that drug abuse and use is an awful, horrible, and an unspeakable problem that should be dealt with behind closed doors (or bars, as the case may be). They do not necessarily believe that alcohol and cigarettes are bad, but they do believe that the United States government should hold their ground and not give in and legalize another bad drug. These anti-legalizers have just recently obtained quite a victory. For the past 25 years, personal use of marijuana has been legal in the State of Alaska. Two months ago, Alaska passed a law prohibiting the use or possession or marijuana (Egan, 16).
Michael Kinsel says that,
Both sides of the legalization debate cite the example of alcohol, without really understanding it. Pro-legalizers say other drugs are no worse than alcohol and it is hypocritical for society to spend millions trying to ban the use of drugs, while other millions are spent promoting the use of Scotch. Anti-Legalizers say hypocrisy or not, we are stuck with the social costs of alcohol, but that does not mean that we need to add other drugs to the vicious stew. (92).
To many people, this whole debate is all too familiar; it seems to be very reminiscent of the 1960s and the prohibition of alcohol (The Economist, 15). Michael Kinsley justifies this point best by stating that,
Alcohol is not legal out of tragic necessity, just because prohibition was a practical failure. Alcohol is legal because Americans LIKE to drink. Almost all drinkers indulge their habit in moderation, with no harmful effect. Quite the reverse: alcohol is a small but genuine contribution toward their pursuit of happiness. Society has decided that the pleasure of drinking is worth the equally genuine cost to society and pain to many individuals of alcoholism, automobile accidents and so on (92).
In The Economist, they believed that, sooner or later, the prohibition will end. For those who can see that, the alternative to the policy is clear: legalize, control and discourage (15).
From the views described above, it is evident that the people on both sides of the issue have well-supported arguments. One could very easily take either side because both groups have made logical points to their claim. The main point to think about when one is trying to decide a view is which side would help the most people and somewhat help to prevent drug dependency. As voters we should all be concerned with this issue, and through a discussion of opposing views on legalization of marijuana and its background, a logical decision on this issue should be reached.