There have been debates on the legalization of marijuana since the Controlled Substances Act was introduced in 1970. Through solid backing from voters, several districts, including Columbia and Oregon, adopted a medical marijuana law despite getting opposition and arrests by the federal government. The Obama administration, in 2009, issued an administrative memo instructing the federal government to respect the laws enacted by different states (Boateng, 2019). This directive encouraged debates in the legislature and the public domain, with proponents and opponents presenting arguments supporting their opinions. The paper below discusses the major views tabled by supporters and opposers of these debates and the short-term effects of such legislation.
On the one hand, supporters of the legalization of marijuana proposed that its healing abilities were beneficial to the sick. Cannabis contains THC and CBD, which proactively help patients relieve pain, reduce inflammation and overcome mental illnesses such as depression and stress (Barnes, 2021). The supporters also argued that the legalization of marijuana would be beneficial to the state and local governments through increased revenues and a reduced correctional system burden. Barnes (2021) states that besides one’s freedom to use marijuana and the gains collected from dealers, prisons were overwhelmed by the number of inmates charged with use or possession. Since 2010, 31 states have adopted medical marijuana laws, while 15 have allowed recreational use, indicating rising support in the delisting of cannabis as a scheduled drug.
Opponents, on the other hand, have categorically put forward their claims that marijuana should remain illegal. First, they argued that legalization would increase accidents and lawlessness (Boateng, 2019). Marijuana had been known to cause paranoia, impaired judgment, and anxiety that would often result in injury or property damage. The opposers also argued that it was a ‘getaway’ drug that would lead to addiction and introduction to other harmful drugs (Boateng, 2019). Smoking being the primary way of imbibing cannabis has given opposers a claim, indicating that any kind of combustion gases are harmful to one’s health (Barnes, 2021). Though convincing, several assumptions have been scientifically disapproved, weakening the opposition’s stand.
With evidence from the last decade, when the first cannabis-use law was enacted, it is evident that marijuana should be legalized and its use controlled by local and federal governments. Recent findings have established that its use has not increased or decreased the crime rate in states that have adopted such laws. Also, the declassification of marijuana as a scheduled drug by the World Health Organization proves that it is not addictive or psychotic. Opponents dwell on myths and misinformation that are based on notions that were not substantiated in the past.
Barnes, M. (2021). The Inpact of legalization of medical Marijuana and recreational marijuana: A Hazy State of Affair. The American Journal of Nurses, 118(7). doi:10.1097/01.NAJ.0000541420.13348.d8
Boateng, D. (2019). The Spillover Effect of Recreational marijuana Legalization on Crime: Evidence from Neighboring States of Colorado and Washington. Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, 109 (9). doi:10.1177/002204262921359