A report released by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) in 2004 (Douglas & Peter 179) revealed that marijuana is one of the most heavily abused drugs among the most addictive substances in the United States of America. According to the report in 2004 for instance, 70.3 million people used marijuana at least once in the month preceding the survey. However, Cannabis/marijuana/pot smoking is one of the acts that pose an extremely serious health risk not only to the smoker himself or herself but also to the people in the environment with which the smoke that he or she puffs into the air pollutes. Irrespective of the fact that many people tend to view marijuana usage in terms of the actual smoking, the act itself involves puffing the cannabis (marijuana) smoke and then releasing it into the air and which anti-smoking campaigners and medical practitioner argue that it poses equal health risks to the innocent public that inhales the polluted air or who are referred to as standby (G2 3).
Pragmatically, therefore, the environment in which cannabis smokers exist is composed of marijuana-contaminated air particles suspended in it. Ideally, cannabis smokers pose a great health risk not only to themselves but also to all those other people around them: the latter of whom consistently breathe the air that the cannabis users contaminate with the drug in form of unconscious or passive smoking (Messerli 4). Although debates have ensued regarding the legalization of marijuana just like cigarettes and alcohol, the anti-cannabis legalization activists assert that the legitimization of marijuana would be a very dangerous move by the authority which is likely to lead to the creation of very many lunatics, especially among the youthful population. anti-cannabis legalization activists have often cited zero advantages of cannabis and cannabis smoking (Messerli 6). Whether marijuana should be legalized or not has been a matter of debate over the years with both the pro-legalization and anti-legalization activists taking different sides of the argument (Gelders & van Mierlo 167). This paper, therefore, puts a positive argument as to why cannabis smoking should not be legalized just like narcotics and other hard drugs.
The argument against the legitimization of marijuana
Anti-legalization of marijuana activists has tended to assert that cannabis Sativa is a very dangerous drug that should not be legalized in any one circumstance and putting the forth strong argument in support of their position. This group argues that cannabis or rather marijuana greatly acts as a foundation of other substances abuse including narcotics and other hard drugs such as cocaine, Madrax, heroin, and others. In a research carried out by NIDA in 2004, it was revealed that close to 60% of individuals who had become drug addicts and undergoing rehabilitations in the California centers were introduced to drugs either via cigarette smoking or cannabis (Messerli 4).
According to MacCoun & Peter (47), the use of marijuana often leads to the abusers developing mental malfunctioning due to the drug’s adverse effect on the brain hence its legalization is likely to lead to an increase in abnormal behaviors among abusers especially the youths who exhibits high prevalence rates in its use. Based on this argument its legalization is likely to lead to an increase in stone diving and other dangerous or even fatal behaviors.
More often than not, anti-legalization of marijuana campaigners have cited immorality in the legalization of the drug which they argue is unacceptable in a civilized society. Furthermore, it is argued that if marijuana is legalized; it would increase its accessibility even to children. Abuse of cannabis just like other drugs leads to an increased crime rate thus its legalization is likely to lead to a virtual explosion of crimes particularly in the United States leading to an unprecedented social crisis.
According to Cermak (223) marijuana is a very dangerous drug. Unlike alcohol, cocaine, and other hard drugs the latter say that marijuana is not a single molecule drug but is indeed made up of a mixture of over 400 different chemicals of which sixty referred to as cannabinoids are exclusive to marijuana. Medically, the use of marijuana poses a very serious threat to the heart of the abuser and it’s likely to cause heart disorders as well as the likelihood of developing high blood pressure (Douglas & Peter 179; Parker 7). More so, it harms the smoker’s lungs which greatly increases the risk factor of developing lung cancer on the part of the abuser. In addition, the use of cannabis causes a short-term reduction in body hormones that controls body growth and development hence may stunt physical development (Parker 7). Furthermore, medical evidence reveals that the use of cannabis among males is likely to cause a significant drop in sperm production thus causing low numbers of normal and healthy sperm which may result in lower fertility rates among men abusers (Parker 8).
On the other hand, cannabis is evidenced to disrupt the hormonal balance that virtually controls menstruation cycles in women. Irrespective of the fact that these changes are not permanent in those advanced in age researchers have often speculated that the effects may be permanent among the young cannabis users an age group that is most affected by its abuse and which points to a catastrophe in the future generations (Parker 8). As such, legalization has strongly been refuted on the medical ground even though there are places in California where marijuana has been legalized for use in medical practice (Mckinley 18).
Passive smoking of cannabis
Proponents of cannabis smoking often put forth an argument that cannabis smoking is an individual’s personal lifestyle and a personal choice thus illegalizing smoking would be infringing on the rights of such persons (Messerli 4). However, this argument has been disapproved and dismissed based on the finding that inhaling the air contaminated by the smoke that cannabis smokers puff into the air has equally disastrous health effects just like the actual act of smoking by the first-hand smoker. As a result, users of marijuana are unknowingly endangering the lives of as many people who get to breathe the air they pollute with cannabis smoke; amounting to what is referred to as passive smoking of marijuana (G2 6 ). While actual smoking can be controlled by limiting the amount of cannabis that one smokes, the amount of contaminated air that an individual breathes is incontrollable making it even more dangerous to the health of unconscious smokers. Furthermore, the fact that passive smokers are innocent and are being subjected to smoking without their intention to do so makes it extremely unfair to the population.
The argument for the legalization of marijuana
Pro-legalization of cannabis activists has however cited numerous reasons in support of their position ranging from economic reasons to social factors. Marijuana does not pose greater harm to the abuser relative to other drugs such as alcohol and tobacco if their use was to be adequately moderated (Messerli 4). As such, controls of its use would be more appropriate than illegalizing the drug as it currently is. Furthermore, the activists argue that it is the choice of an individual to choose the kind of lifestyle that he or she wished to live thus making the drug illegal would limit the freedom of people to do so. The fact the drug is currently illicit makes it expensive according to G2 (6). As such, the latter insinuates that making marijuana legal would come with positive economic results since it would significantly lead to a reduction in drugs costs. Furthermore, they argue that it could contribute to the economy via tax revenues unlike nowadays when it is sold in black markets. Messerli (4) argues that the legalization of marijuana would lead to a significant reduction of street justice associated with marijuana which could also culminate into a significant reduction in crimes.
Douglas & Peter (183) asserts that it is only the legalization of marijuana that can lead to a sustainable reduction in the cases of drug busts the latter of which is charged with tapping youths into a flowed system making them become long life hardcore criminals. An ideal alternative to the illegalization of marijuana is for the FDA and other anti-drug organizations to come up with adequate and effective measures to control the amount and guide safe use of the drug. According to Douglas & Peter (185) marijuana presented the users with a form of entertainment and a source of pleasure the same way as sex, alcohol, and tobacco/cigarette smoking hence making it illegal was an infringement of the right to fun in life on the part of the smokers. In another augment for the legalization of marijuana, Messerli (6) asserted that the latter was an ideal approach to fight the use of hard drugs and narcotics as the drug dealers will be driven out of business if the drug was legal. Also, it has often been argued that the drug poses some medical befits particularly in the treatment of cancer patients.
Despite the raging debate about the legalization of Marijuana, the pro-legitimization of the drug activist’s augment cannot be fully justified and it is incomprehensible what the society would turn into if the drug was to be legalized. It is the right of those who are for the legalization of the drugs but in due respects, it is evident that how they tend to look at the whole phenomenon is narrow and greatly fail to look at the long-term effect that the legitimization of the drug will pose to the society. Health basis alone provides an ideal basis for anyone to dread cannabis whether it is legal or illegal hence campaigns should be conducted to sensitize people against its use rather than its legalization. While the pro-legitimization of marijuana argument makes sense, it presents short-term solutions to a problem that needs a long-term measure which greatly rests on enactment and effective enforcement of laws that makes marijuana illegal with heavy penalties for those convicted of handing or using the drug.
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Douglas, Husak & Peter, Marneffe. The legalization of drugs: marijuana for and against: Cambridge University press 2005 178-194
Gelders, Dave & van Mierlo, Jan. Legalized or not? Poor public communication causes confusion over the new cannabis policy in Belgium. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, 2004, Vol. 11 Issue 2, p167-177
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Mckinley, JESSE. Push to Legalize Marijuana Gains Ground in California. New York Times, 2009, p18
Messerli, Joe. Legalization of marijuana (pros and cons, argument for and against: Should Marijuana is legalized under any Circumstances? Balancedpolitics.org. 2009. Web.
Parker, Jim. Marijuana: Health Effects, Do It Now Foundation. 2009. Web.