Marijuana Should Not Be Outlawed
Marijuana Should Not Be Outlawed
Human laws are based on moral and ethical principles. This applies to almost all existing laws aside from the drug laws. Because of this aspect of the drug laws, much clamor is present as many groups are calling for the legalization of drugs like marijuana. Marijuana and other illegal drugs are not evil but it has gained a negative connotation because of numerous misinterpretations. The prohibition of drugs has also brought about negative effects instead of positive effects. In analysis, legalization may even prove to have more benefits.
According to Benson Roe, the professor emeritus and chairman of the Cardiothoracic surgery at the University of California, there is no reason why marijuana, cocaine and heroine would be called poison as these substances have not been proven to have any ill effects on the health of a person. Roe narrated an incident when he was removing destroyed heart valves from a drug user and he got curious and consulted the San Francisco coroner to what extent do illegal drugs cause death.
Roe was surprised to find out that the only causes of death coming from drugs come from the very rare cases of overdose and the use of infected intravenous injections. According to the coroner, “clean, reasonable dosages of heroin, cocaine and marijuana are pathologically harmless” (Roe). It is argued that marijuana causes psychological damage but the truth is no scientific evidence has traced mental illness or psychological damage to the use of marijuana.
Marijuana users have been found to exhibit psychological distress after intake of the drug. However, it has been proven that these effects are temporary and will pass away after some time. It has also been argued that the harms brought about by marijuana have been scientifically proven but the Lancet, a British Medical Journal, concluded that based on 30 years worth of research, smoking marijuana is not harmful to health even if it is used in the long-term. Likewise, marijuana use has also been related to brain damage.
This was thought to be proven in an earlier study when rhesus monkeys were exposed to marijuana smoke, however, a more reliable study wherein monkeys who were forced to inhale a significant amount of marijuana smoke manifested no brain damage. Anti-drug advocates also argue that marijuana has addictive properties even as evidence points to the direction that marijuana is not addictive. Less than one percent of marijuana smokers smoke marijuana on a daily basis. Majority of the people who smoke marijuana only smoke it occasionally.
Some people who wish to stop smoking marijuana have no trouble breaking the habit. Even if a person experiences symptoms from marijuana withdrawal, these are usually mild symptoms (Drug Policy). There is also no reason to classify marijuana as illegal when other substances that have proven to be more addictive and harmful to the health, such as tobacco and alcohol, remain legal. In 2005, the number of deaths that has been associated with marijuana in England and in Wales only totals 19 while tobacco has been associated with 86,500 deaths and alcohol with 6,627 deaths.
The number of deaths caused by alcohol and tobacco do not compare to the number of deaths caused by marijuana. Even other drugs which have more notoriety still fall short as heroine and morphine account for only 842 deaths, while cocaine (including crack cocaine) is associated with only 176 deaths (Transform). The use of drugs like marijuana does not affect other people aside from the person ingesting the drug. Technically, a person who uses drugs does not violate the rights of any other person.
If a person under the influence of drugs violates the rights of another person or commits a crime, this is the time when he/she should be prosecuted by law. Alcohol remains legal even as drunk people commit heinous and even brutal crimes. The substance is not an excuse for committing a crime and drinking alcohol is not a crime in itself but when a person commits a crime under the influence of alcohol, this is when he/she is prosecuted. The same should apply for the use of drugs (Cussen & Block, p. 532). Drugs are not evil per se but it has gained a negative image because of negative propaganda.
The media always make use of the phrase “drug-related” in the presence of a drug in a crime even as the drug has not been indicated as a direct cause of the crime. Usually, the crime is not motivated by the drug. It is usually motivated by another external factor. The media has inadvertently played a role in giving drugs a negative image. This practice has been so common that no one even looks to identify if a crime really is related to drugs (Jackson). The anti-drug lobby also makes use of vague and emotive statements to persuade the people to support their cause (Russell).
Even politicians make use of these statements and call for tougher drug laws simply to forward their political careers (Jackson). People interpret these vague and emotive statements differently and this may be identified as a basic element of a black propaganda. In a book entitled Hugs not Drugs: A Drug Abuse Prevention Manual published in the Philippines, the author starts by narrating a story of a studious young girl who got mixed with the wrong set of friends who influenced her to use marijuana.
As a result, the young girl dropped out from school and had relationships with men that took advantage of her low self-esteem. After realizing what had happened to her, she decided to undergo rehabilitation. And after a tearful reunion with her parents, she vowed to stay away from drugs. This story is very common and immediately suggests that marijuana caused all the negative things failing to look at other factors which might have caused the girl to behave the way that she did. Additionally, the book indicated that drug use has been directly related with juvenile and even violent crime.
However, the book does not cite where the information was taken or what study linked drugs with crime. The book also does not have a clear reference page evidencing that it is not a reliable source. Many critics of drug also make use of violent and obscene images in an attempt to prove that drugs are harmful. Drug prohibition results in too many expenses for the government as the drug laws leads to the incarceration of many non-violent offenders.
In 2002, it is estimated that prohibition expenses amounted to $18. 22 billion indicating that “incarceration is an expensive policy option” (Taylor, Trace & Stevens, p. 3-4). Prohibition is not good, in fact, it is even the greatest ally of the drug dealers as drugs are priced very high because they are illegal and not regulated (Jackson, 1998). Legalization will even benefit the general public. Marijuana has been related to crime rate by anti-drug groups but all unbiased studies have pointed to the direction that marijuana does not cause people to do criminal acts.
The only crime that marijuana users commit is that they possess the drug (Drug Policy). Additionally, legalization will come with regulation which will eliminate the already minimal number of deaths as a result of drug use. Also, crime rate will decrease because drug prices will be regulated and people would no longer need to resort to crime to be able to buy the drugs. It will also be another source of income for the government as the drug trade will be taxed and the costs of prohibition would be avoided (Roe).
No scientific evidence has proven that marijuana is harmful to the health and it also has not been identified as a cause of crime. Because of this information, there is no reason to outlaw marijuana. Legalizing marijuana may even be the better option as it will be a source of income for the government, all the while avoiding the high costs of prohibition. It will also reduce crime rate as well as prevent the incarceration of people that are merely caught possessing drugs. The negative image that drugs have gained is mainly because of negative propaganda.
University/College: University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
Date: 28 November 2016
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