The problems and violence caused by the use of illicit drugs, and the lack of efficient measures by the government to reduce the use of these substances has affected both society and businesses. In recent years, many politicians have debated the pros and cons of decriminalizing marijuana, even the population voted to decide whether to legalize or not is the best option. Throughout this essay, it will be analyze both sides of the issue and confirm if legalization of marijuana is the best option for U.S. and how this affect Mexico in the legal, society and business aspects. According to an article posted by William Booth in The Washington Post, he said that “Mexico spends billions of dollars each year confronting violent trafficking organizations that threaten the security of the country but whose main market is the United States, the largest consumer of drugs in the world.” As we can see, the problem of drugs in U.S. directly affects Mexico, because the government has to deal with the cartels that take thousands of innocent lives year by year.
This is why the decision made by either one of the two countries will have serious repercussions on the other, as they will have to make drastic changes to fit and work together in the best way. Marijuana legalization is an issue where citizens are involved in, and we have to know and consider that any decision made about this is problem harms without limitations or borders. First of all, to talk about a problem we have to know about it. According to the Medicine Net marijuana is “A common street and recreational drug that comes from the marijuana plant: the hemp plant cannabis sativa […] is used to heighten perception, affect mood, and relax. […] Signs of marijuana use include red eyes, lethargy, and uncoordinated body movements.
The long-term effects may include decrease in motivation and harmful effects on the brain, heart, lungs, and reproductive system. People who smoke marijuana are also at increased risk of developing cancer of the head and neck.” Analyzing the above, this drug causes disturbances in the human body, influencing short and long term health of people; this is why governments try to protect the society by prohibiting its use. Despite this, it is important to consider that the consumption of alcohol and tobacco cigarettes is even more harmful to health than marijuana. For better understanding and analysis of the problem, this essay is mainly divided by three parts: legal, social and business implications for both countries.
According to Cross & Miller, “dozen states, including California, have adopted medical marijuana laws that legalize marijuana for medical purposes. Marijuana possession, however, is illegal under the federal Controlled Substances Act (CSA).” As it is mentioned by these authors, at the present time some restrictions exist with the possession and nonmedical use of Cannabis. The legal implications will be that politicians would have to make reforms and changes to state and federal laws for the legalization had valid throughout the country.
In addition to the above mentioned changes, Mexico would have implications too. According to The Washington Post “the decision by voters in Colorado and Washington State to legalize the recreational use of marijuana has left Mexican President-elect Enrique Peña Nieto and his team scrambling to reformulate their anti-drug strategies in light of what one senior aide said was a referendum that “changes the rules of the game.” As we can see the problem is for both countries and the legal implications too, because Mexico and U.S will have to harmonize their laws as much as possible regarding this issue, to prevent the emergence of bad political reactions ahead. None of them can act unilaterally.
Recent studies show that legalizing the marijuana increases use by teenagers. These are mainly based on the experience in Germany where many adolescent start consuming this soft drug. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, “legalization of marijuana could decrease adolescents’ perceptions of the risk of use and increase their exposure to this drug. Furthermore, data concerning adolescents’ use of the 2 drugs that are legal for adults (alcohol and tobacco) suggest strongly that legalization of marijuana would have a negative effect on youth.” The aforementioned problem directly affects the society, because if adolescents think that by decriminalization marijuana means that the drug is not harmful, the problem of consumption will enormously increase. Because of this, there may be new social problems, for example, teenagers would have health problems at a younger age, concern for parents could be constantly growing and the rate of car accidents or crime could increase.
On the other hand, whether marijuana is legalized or not, a person who wants to consume this drug will find the way to do it, regardless of age. In my opinion, there are possible solutions that will definitely benefit the education of society but will help adolescent to take right decisions. According to Roger A. Roffman a “well-funded multifaceted marijuana education program that is based on science rather than ideology. Far too few Americans are sufficiently informed about marijuana’s effects on health and behavior, both the positive and the negative. A key to good decision-making is possessing accurate information”. These measures (applied both in Mexico and the United States) will certainly help society to avoid consuming Cannabis, and if we add health centers that provide treatments for current users, I think that the problem may significantly decrease.
According to Kelly Phillips in her article in Forbes, she said that “States that have moved to legalize marijuana for medical reasons have done so for quite logical reasons: legalizing the drug (like nicotine and alcohol) means that it can be regulated. Regulations mean control. And control is directly linked to the almighty dollar.” As we can see if the government has control of marijuana by decriminalizing it, the product will become taxable and they will collect sums of money from each sale. In addition, looking and chasing drug dealers or drug cartels and keep them in jails are costing a lot of money to the government and taxpayers.
This is a problem that definitely affects the economy of both countries. Moreover Mike Moffat analyzed that “entrepreneurs noticing the great profits to be made in the marijuana market would start their own grow operations, increasing the supply of marijuana on the street, which would cause the street price of the drug to fall to a level much closer to the cost of production.” By taking this point of view in consideration, the profits made by marketing marijuana will start decreasing with the pass of time. Businesses in these countries especially in Mexico have been affected badly due to the crimes and delinquency that exists because of traffic drugs, including marijuana. It is important to consider that this drug is the most trafficked illegal substance in our country, which is also the most used illegal drug in the world.
Other issue to consider with this problem is that corruption is increasing, because drug cartels are too strong and they “buy” or threaten the police and army to market marijuana more easily. In my opinion the illegal drug trade has been arisen as a result of drug prohibition laws that both countries established.
Roger A. Roffman stated, “we can do better. By regulating and taxing marijuana based on a set of strong public health principles, I believe our cultural norms concerning marijuana will shift and the harms we’ve witnessed will greatly reduce.”
As conclusion, I think that the best option for both governments is to legalize the use of marijuana. Why? Because the laws that prohibit it are not working well, there is a lot of money invested in stopping this problem with no success, the industry is a lucrative market, and both governments will have control of it and it will taxable. If we go back in history, there was a similar problem when the alcohol was prohibited and since they decriminalized it, the crimes and violence began to decline.
Also I think that with the legalization, educational programs and health centers should come with it, in order to help society to be aware of the damage caused by the use of this drug and also the damages caused of legal substances (such as alcohol, tobacco). Politicians should also enact laws that completely control the sale, possession and use of marijuana. Finally, the communication between Mexico and U.S. is vital for the proper functioning of the legalization and mutual aid will improve the quality of life of both countries.
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