Marijuana is the processed cannabis plant that can be used as a psychoactive drug prohibited in most countries of the World. Nevertheless, it is still used by many people illegally, which stimulates the necessity to discuss the situation arisen. Marijuana legalization is an issue for perpetual discussion in modern society on different levels, including governmental: both sides of the dispute provide numerous arguments, which seem reasonable and not groundless.
There were even some attempts to legalize marijuana in the USA: in the early 1980s, thirteen states approved permission for using marijuana in medicine; however, by 2000, it was clear that the mechanism does not work (Gerber 92). The complexity of the marijuana legalization discussion is also caused by the fact, that this issue touches not only upon the smokers themselves, but influences significantly those around them.
One of the key questions that concern the issue of marijuana legalization is the extent of its harm to human health, especially in terms of causing addiction. The data about marijuana’s ability to cause any addiction is rather controversial: on the one hand, the research by the British Medical Association has shown that marijuana is less dangerous in terms of getting addicted than nicotine or alcohol (Mack 180).
This means that the law contains the contradiction, as cigarettes and alcohol are not prohibited. On the other hand, this does not rebut the possible addiction itself. The following kinds of marijuana influence have been defined: tolerance and withdrawal. Tolerance with marijuana works similar to that of alcohol or nicotine: the body has got used to the presence of a drug and requires increasing the quantity perpetually (Cermak 45).
In the case of marijuana, this effect is mostly not physical, but psychical: when a person knows, that a drug promises pleasant sensations, he tends to use it many times. Withdrawal means that a drug has become a component of a body’s normal activity, and when it is “withdrawn”, the body has to deal with setting a new chemical balance, which makes a person experience unpleasant sensations (46). Sometimes marijuana is considered a “gateway” to using heavier drugs; however, this regularity has not been proved empirically.
Besides the issue of chemical addiction, the most evident consequence of marijuana smoking is the motivational syndrome, which implies suppressed willingness to resist everyday life challenges (Cohen 71). Marijuana makes one feel his real-life conflicts minimized, which is rather attractive for a smoker and becomes his usual behavior model. Thus, when reaching middle age, one suffers from his helplessness, and weak will: he has got used that marijuana solves all his problems.
Another crucial issue when arguing marihuana legalization is its medical effect. First of all, it is talked about its ability to relieve the patient’s pain. However, modern science has already offered numerous legal acesodynes, and no doubt, many will be also invented in the future. Recent research has promised that marijuana can be effective in the struggle against cancer (DuPont 149). No doubt, this argument is rather strong, considering the contemporary extent of the cancer problem. However, this does not authorize total legalization. This only awakens the idea of partial legalization for cancer treatment, which, nevertheless, may cause a wave of misuses if the law leaves any “hole” for it. Besides, other researchers, on contrary, expect marijuana to be carcinogenic and cause many side effects when being used (Iversen 196).
The matter of marijuana concerns not only the medical aspects, touching upon some social issues, first of all, human rights. In contemporary society, a person has a right to make decisions about his life on his own. Nevertheless, besides providing rights to the citizens, the state has also another global task, which implies protecting the whole community and providing its prosperity through generations.
The matter of marijuana smoking concerns the whole society: it may lead to the degeneration of the nation, multiplying the number of weak-willed addicted people with amotivational syndrome instead of bringing up a healthy nation and increasing its humane capital. Besides the general issues of the nation’s degradation, marijuana legalization can cause immediate and definite problems, such as the flourishing of criminal tendencies. It is necessary to understand, that marijuana legalization will not bring its trade to the legal channel; instead, it will let loose those illegal.
Thus, both pros and cons of the marijuana legalization dispute are rather strong and at the same time controversial. Making a final decision requires further research and many-sided analysis. However, it is obvious, that the decision should be not lobbied by one side at the expense of another one, but weighed and compromise.
Cermak, Timmen L. Marijuana: What’s a Parent to Believe? Center City, MN : Hazelden, 2003. Print.
Cohen, Irving A. Addiction: The High-Low Trap. Santa Fe, NM : Health Press, 1995. Print.
DuPont, Robert L. The Selfish Brain: Learning from Addiction. Center City, Minn.: Hazelden, 2000. Print.
Gerber, Rudolph J. Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics. Westport, Conn.: Praeger, 2004. Print.
Iversen, Leslie L. The Science of Marijuana. Oxford [u.a.]: Oxford University Press, 2002. Print.
Mack, Alison, and Janet E. Joy. Marijuana as Medicine? : The Science beyond the Controversy. Washington, D.C.: National Academy Press, 2000. Print.