Legalizing marijuana is one of the most heated debates in contemporary social, political, cultural, and economic arenas. In the United States, several states have passed laws that permit the medicinal and recreational use of marijuana. Supporters of legalizing the drug argue that it does not bear significant adverse health effects on the users. In contrast, the opponents contend that marijuana compromises a person’s sobriety and predisposes them to addiction. An in-depth analysis of marijuana legalization based on the Christian worldview and personal opinions will reveal its pros and cons.
I hold a personal opinion against decriminalizing recreational marijuana, as I believe doing so bears numerous negative implications on the users’ health. Scientific evidence has shown that the drug has euphoric effects on users, compromising their reasoning and capacity to act logically. Impaired short-term memory, decreased satisfaction with life, cognitive impairment, and heightened risk of using other substances are some of the negative effects of recreational marijuana (Yu et al., 2020). However, there is a growing misconception about the harms of recreational use of the drug. Pacula and Smart (2017) attributed this misunderstanding to the slow development of research, which led people to believe that previous legalizations meant marijuana is harmless. Therefore, I believe that the government should not legalize marijuana for recreational purposes due to its potential adverse effects, although they are not documented comprehensively in research.
The Christian worldview also informs my position against decriminalizing marijuana. Although the Bible does not specifically address the abuse of marijuana, it encourages Christians to preserve their bodies’ purity because it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. According to the Bible, our bodies are temples of God, and if anyone destroys the temple, God will also eliminate that person (New International Version, 1973/2011, 1 Cor. 3:16). Misusing marijuana is one of the ways that a person may desecrate the Lord’s temple. Legalizing marijuana would make it available to more individuals, exposing them to the dangers of the drug, including addiction. As a result, the users would violate the Lord’s temple by becoming dependent on marijuana.
Despite the evidence against legalizing marijuana, proponents highlight several benefits that may arise from decriminalization. Todd (2018) argued that criminalizing the drug at the federal level impedes research on its potential medicinal advantages. As a result, people who may benefit from such research miss out on the possible treatment options we can derive from cannabis. Todd (2018) also argued that delegalizing marijuana is pointless since most governments have already legalized other substances like alcohol and tobacco that have worse outcomes on public health. However, there is a need for advanced scientific research to underpin these claims. The government should also invest in establishing ways of controlling the distribution to avert unscrupulous business and the likelihood of abuse.
In conclusion, legalizing recreational marijuana affects the users, society, and other stakeholders involved in making policies and addressing potential negative outcomes. My personal opinion is that the drug should not be legalized as this would contribute to an increase in adverse effects. For example, research shows that marijuana compromises people’s cognitive abilities. The Christian worldview also prohibits violating the body with substances that compromise the temple of the Lord. In contrast, legalizing would help the government reduce the cost of incarceration of offenders. There is a need for future research that measures the positive and negative implications in cities that have legalized the recreational use of marijuana.
New International Version Bible. (1973/2011). Biblica. Web.
Pacula, R. L., & Smart, R. (2017). Medical marijuana and marijuana legalization. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 13(397), 419. Web.
Todd, T. (2018). The benefits of marijuana legalization and regulation. Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, 23(1), 99-119. Web.
Yu, B., Chen, X., Chen, X., & Yan, H. (2020). Marijuana legalization and historical trends in marijuana use among US residents aged 12–25: Results from the 1979–2016 National Survey on drug use and health. BMC Public Health, 20(156), 1-10. Web.