Legalizing Marijuana Essay Sample

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Legalizing Marijuana has been an ongoing controversy for many years. Marijuana is considered the gateway drug that leads to the use of much stronger drugs. The use of Marijuana is highly addictive and can cause long-term users many discomforts when trying to stop. Marijuana is also used to help lessen the pain for patients with Glaucoma, Cancer, Arthritis, and many other illnesses. Patients have reported feeling more comfort with less pain after the use of Marijuana. From an ethical standpoint and for these medical purposes Marijuana should be legal.

If Marijuana is legalized it would create a number of problems. One of the problems is that the drug cartels would exploit it on the black market and it would become more of an international problem than it is now (New Push to Legalize Marijuana in Washington State, 2011). The people that would keep it alive would kill to protect it because of the money involved. Marijuana is being bought and sold all over the world and the smuggling of it in and out of the U.S. leads to many miscellaneous crimes and even death.

Marijuana has many harmful chemicals to date it is registered at 425 that convert to thousands when smoked. The medical problems it causes are not just short term but can be long term as well. These problems range from pre mature cancer, depression, memory loss, and addiction. Cancer is one of the main medical threats and is more harmful than tobacco in cigarettes (Marijuana should not be legal because, 2001). Therefore, the addiction rate is higher and can lead to harder drugs.

The use of Marijuana over a long period can lead to years of addiction. Drug addiction affects the lives of many people in our society today. Drug addiction is a compulsive behavior that effects how people function in their daily lives. It can affect how you treat your family, school, work, and recreational activities. Some research shows that approximately 9 percent of people who use Marijuana will become addicted (Info Facts: Marijuana, 2010).

Those who have been addicted to Marijuana for long periods of time show symptoms of withdrawal when they try to stop. Some of these withdrawal symptoms are anxiety, loss of appetite, sleeplessness, and irritability (Info Facts: Marijuana, 2010). These symptoms make it hard for the users to remain abstinent for very long. Sometimes if unable to stop due to the withdrawals users go through they might substitute the Marijuana use with another drug such as pills or cocaine. This leads to yet another addiction and further problems down the road.

Marijuana that is bought and sold today is 25 more times as potent as it was many years ago. The main ingredient found in Marijuana is THC (Tetra Hydrocannibinol). THC affects the brain leading to a “high” the user is trying to seek. These areas of the brain are called cannabinoid receptors. Some brain areas have many of these receptors and others have very few. These receptors are in the parts of the brain that effect pleasure, concentrating, thinking, and coordination (Marijuana should not be legal because, 2001).

The federal Controlled Substance Act (CSA) classifies marijuana as a schedule I drug. Being a schedule I drug, marijuana has a high potential for abuse and no acceptable medical use (Dresser, 2009, pg. 1, para. 1). By the middle of 2009, fourteen states passed laws permitting the use of medical marijuana under certain circumstances. Patients and doctors in these fourteen states cannot be prosecuting for breaking state laws for possessing or growing marijuana (Dresser, 2009).

There are studies that have been done showing that people who use marijuana regularly have high anxiety, depression, and schizophrenia. These same studies show that the age a person chooses to start using is a big factor. People who start using at a young age are more vulnerable to problems later in life. There is not any proof yet that the use of marijuana has any cause to mental illness (Info facts: Marijuana, 2010).

Smoking tobacco along with drinking alcohol is not any more harmful than the use of marijuana. The only difference is the fact that alcohol and tobacco are both legal. Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulate the use of tobacco and alcohol, it is still very harmful (Gupta, 2011). I am not sure the exact statistics but there is thousands of alcohol and tobacco related deaths each year. Marijuana has medical benefits and tobacco and alcohol do not yet they are both legal.

Legalizing the use of marijuana would stop the crime and violence that goes along with buying and selling it illegally. People would no longer have to break the law and have criminal charges brought against them that will follow them for the rest of their lives. Our government officials can start spending their time and the taxpayer’s dollars on more serious crimes. According to California authorities, the annual sales of marijuana could be worth 14 billion dollars (Gupta, 2011).

There has been much research on the medicinal purposes of marijuana. This research has brought a lot of controversy to our society. Scientists have confirmed that the cannabis plant contains active ingredients with therapeutic potential for relieving pain, controlling nausea, stimulating appetite, and decreasing ocular pressure (Marijuana should not be legal because, 2001).

If Marijuana were to be legal, the government would make millions of dollars from putting a tax on the sale of it. This money could be used for health care, education, local law enforcement, and for the fight against drugs all over the world.

In Washington State where I currently live Marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes. Patients in Washington who have a medical Marijuana permit are allowed to have around 24 ounces and 15 plants. If needed they can be allowed to have more. In the RCW laws is says that an individual having a medical Marijuana permit can possess up to a 60 day supply of Marijuana (RCW 69.51A.040, 2011). Since the law has been passed in Washington, I have seen only good come from it.

As it stands right now, marijuana is still illegal for both recreational use and medicinal use in most places. Due to it still being illegal, the government has no control over the buying or selling of marijuana or the crime that goes along with it. In most places, marijuana sales are not purchased with only money. People trade illegal firearms, money made from selling other illegal drugs, and other drugs themselves. The legalization of marijuana would give the government more control over the situation and prevent such activities from happening.

Utilitarian’s look for a solution that is for the greater good for the greatest amount of people (Mosser, 2010). Looking at this topic from a utilitarian point of view is difficult. One might say it is for the greater good to legalize Marijuana in the efforts to help hundreds of thousands of people live more comfortably. Utilitarian’s would look at this issue and see that a greater number of people would be happier if it were legal than if it were not. More people would benefit from the legalization of Marijuana than not.

In order to actually resolve the problem of legalizing or not legalizing marijuana will take some time. Those who follow utilitarianism say that there is an obvious solution that is fair, and it can be common sense as well (Mosser, 2010). Utilitarian’s not only look for the greatest good for the greatest number of people but also try to minimize pain and suffering. Furthermore, looking at the controversy of the legalization of marijuana I believe utilitarian’s would be for the legalization and not opposed to it.

If marijuana were legal, there would be less crime and therefore less people incarcerated due to those crimes. Having less people incarcerated would mean fewer tax dollars would be spent housing those inmates. The government could put a tax on the sales of marijuana and put the money toward things such as health care and education. The overall positive benefits that would go along with legalizing marijuana are more than the negative.

From a medical standpoint, the legalization of marijuana will help thousands of people who are in pain from a number of diseases. Utilitarian’s try to minimize pain and suffering. Therefore, marijuana use for those suffering from cancer, glaucoma, MS, depression, and many other known diseases can live life more comfortably. Furthermore, a utilitarian can argue the fact that alcohol and tobacco are both legal creating nothing but problems in our societies and for those who live in it. Will it be more harmful or the same if marijuana were to become legal?

Emotivism is a non-cognitive theory of ethics, because it denies, among other things, that moral claims can appeal to facts. Rather, emotivism, as the name indicates, simply says that moral claims express an emotional response, or an attitude, we may have toward a given kind of behavior (Mosser, 2010, pg 25, para. 3). Emotivism is the perspective on ethics that moral evaluations are merely expressions of approval and disapproval, and that ethics is constituted solely by these expressions (Mosser, 2010). An emotivist might argue against the legalization of marijuana by simply saying it is wrong.

I think many people do not know much about marijuana and what it really is or what it can do. The fact that it is a drug that is illegal, people simply go on believing it is wrong. Going back to alcohol and tobacco, if these two drugs were also illegal than would we regard them as wrong as well? I believe in today’s society people are a product of their own environment and their morals come from those who taught them right from wrong as they were growing up. So being brought up in an environment where drugs are wrong and marijuana is a drug then those people will be against the legalization of that drug.

There are many people against the legalization of marijuana and I believe they are for reasons more personal to them than they are for what is actually for the best interest of our society. When people hear the word marijuana it is like a red flag flashes in front of their face and they automatically think no that is bad. We are all taught as children that certain things are good and certain things are bad. Drugs, lying, stealing, cheating, and breaking the law are just considered morally wrong. People are just set in their ways and belief systems and do not want to change. I personally have to agree with the utilitarian’s point of view. Legalizing marijuana would be good for a greater number of people than it would not. If there were a tax put on marijuana, we can use that money to provide better health care for those who need it. Our schools that educate the younger generation could use the money for larger classrooms and school supplies. Maybe even the possibility gas prices could go down because the money can be used to help the stock market.

Due to my own addiction to tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, and methamphetamine, I thought about the legalization of marijuana for many years. I first wanted it to be legal for my own benefit at the time because I wanted to use it legally. After getting sober and recovering from all substances I was against it. I was against it because I had a closed mind and for my own selfish reasons and fear of my own children using it, I did not want it legalized. After looking at it from many different points of view I think it would be more beneficial than not if marijuana became legal. I learned while in prison just how many people are incarcerated for the use and sales of marijuana.

Thousands of taxpayers’ dollars are spent each year housing inmates for the use and sales of marijuana. If marijuana were to be legal, that money could be spent on preventing crimes that are more serious and other drug activities. Not only would we be putting our tax dollars to better use but we also would be helping many people rest more comfortably at night. I know there is still a lot of research to do in the medical field when it comes to marijuana use, but it has already been proven it does help with many diseases. In the future, I am hopeful there will be many more positive outcomes for marijuana and its use for medicinal purposes.

In conclusion, there are many different things to consider before making the decision whether Marijuana should or should not be legal. I have my own opinion from an addict’s personal point of view. I started smoking Marijuana at the age of 11. At that time, it was for recreational purposes only. After a few years, it became a necessity and eventually it was not doing for me what it did in the beginning. I did not try to stop due to fear of withdrawals I had heard about in school and through other people. I than began drinking and that lead to harder drugs. I am now recovering from a 20 years drug addiction problem that ruined my life in many ways.

It is hard for me to say for sure if this was a direct result of my early Marijuana use or something more. I once was all for the legalization of Marijuana than was against it and now I think it should be legal. There are many positive and many negative points to take into consideration. Many people go through years of addiction because of Marijuana use yet many patients have reported feeling more comfort with less pain after the use of Marijuana. From an ethical standpoint and for these medical purposes Marijuana should be legal. From many other standpoints, it should not.


Dresser, R. (2009). Irrational Basis: The Legal Status of Medical Marijuana. Hastings Center Report, 39(6), 7-8. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from EBSCOhost. Failure to seize marijuana, qualifying patients’ affirmative defense., Wa. tit. 69, § RCW 69.51A.040 (2007 & Supp. 2011), Gupta, S. (2011). Pros and cons Legalizing Marijuana. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from Info Facts: Marijuana. (2010, November). Retrieved August 29, 2011, from National Institute on Drug Abuse database. Marijuana: New Poll shows Americans want it legalized. (2011, August 24). Daily Gleaner,C.7. Retrieved September 11, 2011, from Canadian Newsstand Complete. (Document ID: 2433271851). Marijuana should not be legal because. (2001, June 2). Retrieved August 29, 2011, from Mosser, K. (2010). Introduction to ethics and social responsibility. San Diego, Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved September 12, 2011, from New Push to Legalize

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