The debate regarding the legalisation of drugs, particularly that of soft drugs like cannabis (or marijuana) is capable of being characterised as one which pits the concept of freedom of the individual against the concept of a paternalistic State.
Advocates of legalisation argue, amongst other things, that cannabis is not only less harmful than legal substances like alcohol and tobacco, but as a matter of fact has been proven to possess certain medicinal properties.
In stark contrast, those opposed to legalisation argue that the legalisation of cannabis will act as a precursor to increased addiction to hard drugs, and will necessarily lead to an increase in the crime rate itself.
In 1937, the Marijuana (Marihuana) Tax Act was introduced by Henry Anslinger and passed, levying taxes on anyone who was associated with cannabis, hemp, or marijuana. These types of association include possession, use, sale, and many other acts which would be considered illegal today. In addition to the taxes provisioned by the bill, penal codes for the procedural use and possession of marijuana were also outlined - violators could face five years in prison in up to a $2,000 fine. In 1951, an act that superseded the Marijuana Tax Act was passed criminalizing the possession and use of cannabis, hemp, and/or marijuana. In 1969, in the case of Leary v. United States, the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was overturned on the grounds of the 5th Amendment because those seeking a tax stamp would have to incriminate themsleves. In 1970, Congress passed the Controlled Substances Act listing cannabis as a Schedule I drug. Despite the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, many states and local cities began to decriminalize marijuana citing possession/use/sale/etc. as low priority offenses. Although many attempts have been made to reschedule cannabis off Schedule I, the Supreme Court ruled in a 2005 decision in the case of United States v. Raich, the federal government has jurisdiction over the legal status of marijuana.
Marijuana is no more harmful than tobacco and alcohol Although cannabis does indeed have some harmful effects, it is no more harmful than legal substances like alcohol and tobacco. As a matter of fact, research by the British Medical Association shows that nicotine is far more addictive than cannabis. Furthermore, the consumption of alcohol and the smoking of cigarettes cause more deaths per year than does the use of cannabis (e.g. through lung cancer, stomach ulcers, accidents caused by drunk driving etc.). The legalization of cannabis will remove an anomaly in the law whereby substances that are more dangerous than cannabis are legal whilst the possession and use of cannabis remains unlawful.
Marijuana can have a beneficial mind-altering effect if used right Marijuana use can alter one's perception of reality or consciousness. The alteration need not be thought of as spiritual or religious to be respected for what it is; a fresh look on a reality that we are programed as humans to perceive only in a particular manner. Marijuana can help humans perceive that complex reality from simply a different perspective, which can benefit our appreciation for that reality and our unique and limited perceptions of it. With this more intelligent approach to marijuana consumption, it is easy to argue that mental, perceptual, and societal benefits exist.
Weighing marijuana's "mind-expansion" against its costs is subjective. Who can say that marijuana use is "worth it" or "not worth it"? Many individuals strongly believe that marijuana use has a "mind expanding" effect that makes the health costs worth it. Other disagree. But can the government or anyone conclude for us all that "it's not worth it"? No. With so much subjectiveness involved, marijuana should not be illegal.
Legalization would change drug consumption from a criminal to a health issue The biggest issue with marijuana relates to the health problems it creates, with lung problems, "addiction", short-term memory loss, energy loss, and even the risk of schizophrenia. The social costs are little different than those with alcohol or cigarettes. Therefore, it should be treaty as a health issue, rather than a crime issue.
Marijuana is not addictive There is no evidence that marijuana physically addictive. While it may be psychologically addictive, in the sense that people like it and want to do it again, this is little different than alcohol. But, certainly, cigarettes are more addictive than marijuana. And, since cigarettes are physically addictive and yet legal, should addictiveness really be a barometer for a substance's illegality? No.
It is a myth that marijuana use can cause schizophrenia Dr. Lester Grinspoon, associate professor of psychiatry at the Harvard Medical School and author of Marihuana Reconsidered: "Marijuana laws and their enforcement have become increasingly severe, buttressed by 'new' myths dressed in scientific costume such as the present notion, developed largely in England and Australia, that marijuana causes schizophrenia."
Marijuana has many CONFIRMED medicinal uses. It was widely used to treat glocoma, give relief to chemotherapy recipients, and also as a TREATMENT for many psychological disorders (such as social anxiety disorder and anxiety disorder). Additionally, there is no contention, in any medical circle, that marijuana is an effective stress reliever, causing it to have IMMEASURABLE beneficial effects in the treatment of stress-related physical and psychological disorders... yet many state governments have banned even the medical use of marijuana soley because it potentially makes it more available to elicit users. There are several studies that not only discount marijuana as a cause of schitzophrenia, but further suggest that it has sometimes profound beneficial effects on patients with A.D.D., Borderline Personality Disorder and (yes) schitzophrenia.
Marijuana has been used in religious rites and rituals for thousands of years. If venomous snakes in religious rites and rituals (often used on congregational children) cannot be banned in this country (which the Supreme Court decided is constitutionally protected), then what right does the government have to prohibit the use of an obviously less deadly practice such as the consumption of marijuana? It is for every person ALONE to decide what is spiritually beneficial to them. Our FIRST amendment guarantees it.
Marijuana is worse for individuals and society than alcohol. Both alcohol and marijuana impair judgement. And, both have can have damaging health effects on internal organs and cause death if over-consumed. Yet, the distinguishing feature of marijuana is that it has greater long-term effects on memory, cognition, and motivations. Marijuana is more the drug of "losers in life" than alcohol. If one primary objective in society is to produce as many succesfull, "winners" as possible, alcohol is less costly to this objective than marijuana. Also, much less is known about he health effects of marijuana than of alcohol; making caution toward legalizing marijuana more appropriate. It is, therefore, fitting that marijuana be illegal while alcohol be legal.
Marijuana is worse for individuals and society than tobacco. Both cigarettes and marijuana do damage to the lungs. But, marijuana smoke is much more potent, and can do much more damage. Marijuana use reduces hormone levels and sperm count unlike cigarettes. And, marijuana impairs judgement, does long term damage to the mind, and can cause psychosis. Cigarrettes have none of these mental costs. In addition, the health effects of tobacco are much better documented than those of marijuana. Therefore, it is appropriate that cigarrettes be legal while marijuana be illegal.
Marijuana is addictive There are many studies that demonstrate a "dependency" relationship evolving between individuals and marijuana.
Marijuana impairs brain functions. Many researches conclude that marijuana impairs short-term memory, cognition, and motivations.
Marijuana smoke is highly damaging to the lungs. Marijuana smoke is more potent than cigarette smoke, with some researches concluding that the negative effect of one joint is equivalent to a pack of cigarettes.
Marijuana use impairs hormone production. It is frequently cited that marijuana use leads to reductions in sperm levels. This reduction in hormone levels is a major cost of marijuana use.
Marijuana use causes apoptosis or programmed cell death Unlike alcohol and tobacco, cannabis has a hallucinatory effect on the mind. This is inherently dangerous in itself. Furthermore, just like other drugs, there are many individuals addicted to cannabis who will resort to crime in order to fund their addiction. The legalization of cannabis will lead to the drug becoming more readily available, which in turn will mean that many more people will gain access to it. This will subsequently lead to an increase in the crime rate. Initial statistics from the Netherlands shows that the decriminalization and eventual legalization of cannabis did led to an increase in crime in Dutch society.
Uncertainty of marijuana's health effects makes illegality prudent. There certainly remains uncertainty and debate about marijuana's health effects. This makes it prudent to error on the side of caution and maintain illegality in states where this is the status quo. What if, for example, a state decided to legalize marijuana, to only discover five years later that marijuana has a dramatically more negative impact on human cognition than previously thought, or that it substantially increased the risks of psychosis? This would be politically and socially damaging. More scientific conclusions should be reached before decisive action is taken in any direction.
Individual liberty: Should individuals be at liberty to use marijuana?
Individuals should be free to harm themselves.
People should be free to use marijuana as long as it harms no one else People should be at liberty to treat their bodies how they want to. Indeed, people are allowed to eat and drink to their detriment and even death, so why shouldn't they be able to harm themselves with marijuana use? This is, of course, assuming that their use does not harm anyone else. This means, as with substances such as alcohol or cigarrettes, that regulations be put in place to ensure that one individual's consumption of marijuana does not violate the liberties of another citizen. If this is achievable with alcohol and cigarettes, it seems achievable with marijuana.
Marijuana's social costs should not be arbitrarily discriminated against. Marijuana may indeed have indirect social costs, such as increased healthcare costs, increased risks on the road, and others. But, illegalizing marijuana on this basis risks being seen as arbitrary discrimination against marijuana. Wouldn't you also have to illegalize alcohol, tobacco, and fast food on a similar basis. Certainly, the social costs and risks of these substances can be argued as equivalent to the risks of marijuana consumption. Illegalizing marijuana on the basis of its social costs, therefore, opens the law to accusations of being arbitrary, discriminatory, and of double standards. This is not good for the law and the integrity of the social contract.
Marijuana is only unhealthy or risky when abused. The problem with illegalizing marijuana is that it lumps the most moderate of uses of marijuana in with the worst of abuses. Just like with alcohol, there are scales of use that fall within responsible to irresponsible to abusive categories. The responsible use of marijuana might involve the recreational use of the drug a couple of times a year and in very small doses, such as, a single toke. Does it make sense for such innocuous levels of consumption to be illegal? No. And, yet, in states where marijuana is illegal, such levels of consumption are illegal. Instead of this system, marijuana should be legally regulated like alcohol on the basis of abuse in circumstances where it has the potential to threaten other citizens, such as before driving or operating machinery.
Use of Marijuana (illegally) is a choice. Many people seem to be under the impression that the use of illegal drugs is something that may be forced on someone. However, unless coerced by force, this is normally not the case. Because laws are a part of our everyday lives, we are taught what things are legal and illegal by law, through life experience. By definition, illegal drugs are not legal to use. Since marijuana is illegal, then use, cultivation, sale and distribution is illegal as well. One doesn't have to be aware of the moral or health related issues that go along with something to know that it's illegal. Therefore, if someone wishes to commit an illegal act, then the punishment for getting caught is the punishment of the illegal act violating the law.
What would our fore-fathers say on this point?
"I predict future happiness for Americans if they can prevent the government from wasting the labors of the people under the pretense of taking care of them."
- Thomas Jefferson
Many people seem to be under the impression that our constitution grants the rights we should have. This is a falicy. All rights are assumed to every individual. The constitution as meant to restrict the federal government's right to regulate or limit the rights we already have. Asking whether we should have the right to choose the use of marijuana is inherently a mute point as a result. The real question here is whether the federal government should be allowed the authority to take away that right. Many people hold manditory seat-belt laws and other forms of "for your own good" legeslation as being an inherent contradiction to the spirit of the constitution. it could be argued (with the exact same arguments as this issue) that the prohibition of candy and fast food would be for our own good as well... yet would directly contradict the quote sited above and would nullify the spirit under which the constitution was penned. In our society, there may be the EXISTANCE of big brother laws (as is there the existance of dishonesty amoung our politicians), but that does NOT mean those laws are constitutionally valid and it certainly does NOT mean that we should accept all new big brother laws as being acceptable on that basis alone.
"It is the duty of every patriot to protect his country from its government."
- Thomas Paine
...NOT the other way around.
Judgement and common sense cannot be legislated. No matter what research you read of who's stories you listen to, the fact remains that the bad or good aspects of marijuana use are above all else subjective, and in essence an oppinion. It is simply a judgement call. Each side has it's oppinion on the benefits and/or negative ramifications of marijuana use.
With marijuana use there are the same pitfalls as any other life activity... bad judgement yeilds bad results... but our ability to choose for ourselves MUST be preserved. There are MUCH more severe social ramifications from a government that is allowed to illegalize ANYTHING solely on the basis of maybes. They cannot illegalize fast food even though it is WIDELY accepted that it is bad for you. They cannot illegalize swimming because you MAY be attacked by a shark. They may not illegalize ANYTHING on the notion that it MAY cause harm. If that were allowed, then any opinion may be made law.
Marijuana legalization MAY cause a rise in crime, marijuana MAY hinder your cognative process... or it MAY be found to be the most effective treatment for many deseases; legalization MAY cause crime rates to go down and be good for the economy; it MAY lead to a more siritually enlightened society. None of us know for certain, and there is some evidence on both sides. The fact remains, however, that we ALREADY HAVE the right to smoke marijuana... and by all that our country stands for and all that our constitution provides, the federal government does not have the authority to take away the individual's right to choose for themselves unless it is EVIDENT (not MAYBE) that it poses a SEVERE and IRREPERABLE risk to our nation AND that it's illegalization would not have more severe consequenses to the same. That is, our government has absolutely no right to take away each individuals right to choose what is right for them unless it CLEARLY infringes on the rights of others (like murder and theft). All else must simply be regulated and only as is necessary for our nation's survival.
Even the proponents of prohibition admit that there is simply not enough research data to say with any degree of certainty what the ramifications will be. All we know is what MIGHT be, therefore our right to choose MUST be preserved. Anything less is an affront to the very bedrock of our country. When the goverment is alowed to choose for you... even in an effort to "protect you from yourself" your liberty is lost.
"The provision of the Constitution giving the war-making power to Congress was dictated, as I understand it, by the following reasons. Kings had always been involving and impoverishing their people in wars, pretending generally, if not always, that the good of the people was the object."
"If people let government decide what foods they eat and what medicines they take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny."
The State is justified in protecting individuals from themselves Even if marijuana's effects were isolated to the individual, there is room for the state to protect individuals from harming themselves. This is why it is illegal, in some places, not wear a seat belt. If marijuana's effects are seen as clearly harmful, the state can justly protect its citizens from it.
Some are "pressured" into marijuana consumption without a "choice". The notion that individuals should be free to make the choice to consume marijuana is predicated on the notion that they are fully informed of the costs and are in a position of detached judgement. The problem with this assumption is that many individuals grow up in, for instance, ghettos where marijuana is widespread, social pressure to consume is high, and few information is available regarding the costs. In addition, an individual may be illiterate or lack sufficient recourse to uncovering the costs. Is it fair to that individual to expect that they can make a sound judgement? No. The guidance of marijuana's "illegal" status is an important barrier and red flag to such individuals.
Marijuana use directly threatens other's liberties. Various risks to other citizens are greatly enhanced by marijuana use. Because marijuana impairs judgement and motor skills in various ways, people on a high who attempt to drive or operate heavy machinery risk other people's lives or health. Impaired judgement from marijuana use also has the potential to lead to violent encounters.
Legalization of marijuana would make roads more dangerous.
Some train and plane tragedies were connected with marijuana use.
Legalization of marijuana would increase work-place accidents
Marijuana's harm to individuals spill over onto communities and society To argue that individual consumption of marijuana entails only individual consequences is to argue that individuals exist in something of a vacuum. The reality is that citizens within society are highly interconnected and interdependent. If marijuana use leads to the degradation of an individual in various ways, this creates stresses on other individuals who depend on that individual. For example, an individual may be unable to function properly in their job due to their marijuana use, and this may damage the business they are involved with. This damage, in extreme circumstances, could lead to layoffs of other workers or possibly even the disintegration of a business. Another frequent example is the degradation of a family due to marijuana use, and the subsequent degradation of a church and community. To significant degrees, these social damages can be seen as violations of the liberties of other individuals to the extent that liberties can be defined as the opportunity for individuals to seek fulfillment and happiness.
Marijuana's public health costs violate tax-payer liberties.
Social: Would legalization entail heavy societal costs?
Illegalized marijuana forces consumers to interact with criminal underground Presently, cannabis is sold by dealers who have connections with the underworld. The legalization of cannabis will help facilitate the sale of the drug in establishments like Amsterdam’s "coffee houses". This will shift the sale of cannabis away from the criminal underworld. The severance of this ‘criminal link’ will ensure that the users of the drug no longer need to come into contact with organized crime.
Illegalized Marijuana directly produces socially deviant behavior. With Marijuana being illegal, those who participate in it's use are automatically engaging in socially deviant behavior. This label of socially deviant behavior because of marijuana use does not, however, deter the use of marijuana. However, marijuana is no more or less a danger to the individual than smoking tobacco. This is why marijuana users typically refuse to comply with the laws and rules regulating it's use. Because this socially deviant behavior is also illegal, this increases the amount of money spent policing and housing new criminals, many of which are not distrubuting marijuana, but have marijuana for personal use.
What about the social ramifications of ILLEGALIZING marijuana? My own children were showed REAL marijuana in school so that they knew what it looked and smelled like... then told to call the police if they found any... EVEN IN THEIR OWN HOMES. This is not only a circumvention of constitutional protections against illegal search, but it also serves to break down the family bond and promotes dissention between children and parents. It gives our youth the notion that their loyalties must lie with the state rather than their own families... just like the Hitler youth did. That is social ramification at it's ugliest. Our children are taught in our PUBLIC SCHOOL SYSTEM that use of marijuana is "bad". Being that many religions avocate the use of marijuana in it's rites and rituals, our youth are being taught that certain religions are "bad"... a direct violation of the notion of separation of church and state... and AGAIN perpetrated on our youth.
It is the contention by proponemts of prohibition that our youth "grow up in a society where they have no knowledge of the costs" of marijuana usage. This is false. The fact is, our children are innundated with anti-marijuana propaganda on a daily basis from all sources such as television "public service" announcements, classroom instruction, MANY anti-marijuana children's organizations... and our own government, in that it is currently illegal. They are never allowed the benefits of a non-biased oppinion on the subject. They are subjected to "guest speakers" in school who have had very bad experiences from drugs, shown the possible worst case consequenses from television show theams... but never given access to the oppinions of those who have had GOOD experiences (such as tribal shamen, chemotherapy recipients or gocoma treatees). We even make it illegal to allow them to see another side by adding drug use as a criteria by which to disallow movie entry to any below a certain age. It is easy to brainwash a generation into believing that something is wrong if you illegalize it and render it socially unacceptable. The same situation existed with the right of women to vote... it was illegal and rendered as socially unacceptable to the point where even many WOMEN believed they were unworthy to cost a ballot, have a career, or even oppose the notion that they were second class citizens. That IS loss of liberty; that IS goverment control of freedom of choice; and that IS social ramification.
We have so many youths using drugs because they see our legislative hypocracy. They are constantly told of the evils of marijuana, but when they TRY it... and the overwhelming majority do... they see that it is not ALL evil. They see the other side... just as the sufferagettes saw the other side of having a career... and they recognize that what they have been told is just one side; just propoganda; as this statement... just one oppinion.
if a more clear picture is what we need, then abolition of marijuana prohibition would CLEARLY make it easier for scientific studies to take place, thereby increasing the public knowledge-base and providing a more accurate picture of the physical, psychological, spiritual and sociologic effects of the drug. Just as the lift of taboo on discussions of a sexual nature in public schools has resulted in a more informed youth as to the dangers of unprotected sex (in the effort to reduce incidents of sexually trasnmitted deseases and teen pregnancies), so would the increased availability and accuracy of scientific data on marijuana in health and sociologic concerns serve to curb the effectiveness of peer pressure tactics and to reduce the ratio of abuse to responsible use.
Marijuana is the drug for life's losers If we want to produce a better society, there is some room for "big brother" regulations to prevent citizens from doing harm to themselves. This is particularly appropriate in the context of some individuals not having a "choice" in the matter, in the sense that they grow up in an environment that exposes them to marijuana and in which they don't have any knowledge of marijuana's costs.
Consumption levels: Will legalization reduce the consumption of marijuana?
Legalization of drugs will remove the rebellious glamor of it Many psychological studies indicate that the attractiveness of a thing is often increased when it is scarce or when it is forbidden. This may have to do with a desire to be unique or to stand out. Some associate it with a frequently youthful desire to be rebellious. Whatever the cause, there is substantial reason to believe that the illegality of marijuana actually increases the appeal of it, and subsequently increases its consumption.
The Netherlands has lower Marijuana consumption rates than the United States. The Netherlands, which has permitted the possession and retail sale of marijuana since 1976, actually ranks lower than the United States in the percentage of people who have ever used marijuana in every age category, has a higher age of initiation among those that do try marijuana, and fewer adolescents in the Netherlands than in the United States use other illegal drugs.
Our own government research discounts any relationship between the present illegality of marijuana and our usage.
Lloyd Johnston, Ph.D. is a leading federally funded researcher on the subject of marijuana usage rates, yet admits that there have never, to his knowledge, been another study that compared marijuana usage rates in the decriminalized states to rates in the other states in the U.S. other that the one in which researchers concluded that "decriminalization has had virtually no effect either on the marijuana use or on related attitudes and beliefs about marijuana use among American young people in this age group." In fact, the use of marijuana in adolescents has skyrocketed AFTER prohibition. Studies further show that increased penelties for usage have had NO effect on trends in adolescent marijuana use rates either.
In addition, the National Institute on Drug Abuse; Washington, D.C has shown, in it's own study (National Survey Results on Drug Use from the Monitoring the Future Study, 1975-1995), that every year approximately 85% of the nation's high school seniors report that marijuana is 'fairly easy' or 'very easy' to obtain. The Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse found that teenagers find marijuana easier to obtain then beer, thus fuling the further conclusion that regulation of a legal controlled substance is more effective than the prohibition (even under varying penalty severities).
The legalization of marijuana will increase consumption Legalization of marijuana will make the drug more accessible, affordable, and acceptable, making its increased consumption a near certainty. Empirical evidence with countries that have moved to legalization appears to flush this theory out.
Legalization of marijuana will make it more accessible.
Legalization of marijuana will make it more affordable.
Illegality of marijuana sets moral standard against consumption. Laws provide a clear societal standard. They make it clear what society holds dear and what it rebukes as immoral, harmful, or simply socially undesirable. This creates a symbolic boundary that deters consumption. If this barrier is removed, it may seen as a symbolic act of tolerance and acceptance of the marijuana consumption. This is likely to lead to greater consumption and social harm.
Gateway drug: Is Marijuana not a gateway drug?
There is little evidence that Marijuana is a gateway drug If marijuana was a gateway drug, you would expect to see high numbers of marijuana consumers also being, for instance, cocaine users. But, this correlation does not really exist. In America, for every roughly one hundred marijuana user, there is only one cocaine user. In addition, it is nearly impossible to establish a direct causal link between an individual's marijuana consumption and their subsequent "hard" drug consumption. It is completely possible, for instance, that individuals who choose to partake in marijuana consumption are inherently more risk-taking. Therefore, their choice to try cocaine could be completely causally dissociated from their initial consumption of marijuana.
Marijuana may be a "gateway drug" because it's in the drug blackmarket Marijuana is often criticized as being a gateway drug to harder drugs, and this is used as a justification for its illegality. Irrespective of a lack of evidence in this regard, there is reason to believe that marijuana's illegality itself could be the cause of Marijuana being a gateway drug. The illegality of marijuana causes its sale, purchase, and consumption to occur in the blackmarket, where the sale, purchase, and consumption of all other hard drugs occur. This means that marijuana's blackmarket existence causes consumers of it to be exposed to a network of other, harder blackmarket drugs, which subsequently increases the likelihood that these consumers will be swayed to try harder drugs. If marijuana was legalized, the sale, purchase, and consumption of marijuana would not take place within these blackmarket, and therefore the link to harder drugs would be broken.
Alcohol is more of a gateway drug than marijuana.
Marijuana is a gateway drug Marijuana is considered a "soft" drug, as compared with "harder" drugs such as cocaine, heroine, and crystal meth. This is because it is less addictive and generally considered less harmful than these other drugs. But, the problem is that, as a "soft" drug, marijuana acts as a stepping stone or "gateway" to "harder" drugs. Having tried marijuana and having been indoctrinated into the world of "mind-altering" drugs, people are much more likely to then try harder drugs. The illegality of marijuana creates a barrier before this "gateway".
Judicial overload: Would the legalization of marijuana relieve strained courts?
Special marijuana courts do not relieve strain on court system. While some argue that special courts bypass the normal court process and thus relieve court strains. But, they are still a part of the judicial process, strain the system, and cost taxpayer money.
Marijuana consumers are typically not convicted of a crime Many marijuana offenders are not convicted of a crime. This means that most of the money being put into law enforcement to battle marijuana results in no convictions. It is estimated that $1.6 billion is spent each year policing marijuana crimes, but most of these crimes lead to no conviction. Therefor, millions of dollars are thrown into a system that typically makes no difference in the issue of marijuana; all the while putting the government deeper into financial debt. By legalizing marijuana, the tax that can be put into place would possibly be able to bring in an estimated $2 billion according to offered California legislation.
Marijuana consumers are typically not convicted of a crime While some argue that marijuana prohibition overburdens courts with marijuana possession cases, the reality is that the many arrests that occur each year for marijuana possession do not actually lead to charges and court cases. Therefore, marijuana possession laws are not the judicial burden that legalization advocates often make them out to be.
Legalizing marijuana will decrease crime by ending criminality of drugs. Smoking marijana is not forbidden in the Netherlands. But, it is forbidden to grow marijuana,and to buy marijuana in great quantities. And there is the cause of crime. If you want to make consumption of marijuana legal, then producing, growing and selling marijuana ought to be legal too. Now producers of marijuana are criminals. It is the law, in this case, that makes the crime.
Rise of criminal acts associated with Marijuana addiction is directly related to a prohibition. The main reasons is because the use is prohibited, then the price is high and is hard to obtain, that conduct to a criminal acts to obtain the drug.
Contradictory arguments by opposition.
We cannot, in the same breath, say that crime will rise if marijuana is legalized because users will commit more crimes to obtain it, yet maintain that prohibition and harsher penelties are now keeping usage down. If it is maintained that marijuana users will commit VIOLENT offenses (such as burglary or armed robbery) to obtain the substance, how can the position be maintained that current prohibitory legislation (which is NOT a violent offense) be effective by threat of penelty?
Inequality of comparison.
Legalization in SOME countries has led to MARGINAL crime increases in those countries (and some other countries in crime reduction), yet we are the United States of America, where we grow up believing we have the right to be free from the oppressions of unreasonable governmental action. In this respect we differ from those other countries at the most basic level, therefore rendering comarison inaccurate. Nearly all mariguana users believe the prohibiton to be unconstitutional (correct assumption or not) and unreasonable, therefore the use of marijuana in the U.S.A. is not effected by prohibitory laws because the vast majority of users already see such laws as an infringement of their God-given rights. This is not just another unpopular law in a country which isn't guaranteed freedom and liberty. Marijuana prohibition is more widely perceived by users in the U.S. as an affront to all that this country stands for. When an opression is perceived in THIS country, we tend to defend it with more vehemence than most; simple defiance becomes necessary patriotism. In short, users believe their actions to be more patriotic than unlawful. If the percieved threat to our freedoms is removed (i.e. that is replace prohibition with taxation and regulation) then the otherwise law-abiding citizens that are users can no longer use self-perceived patriotism as an excuse for being unlawful and will tend to resume their otherwise lawful lives (as was seen when alchohol prohibition ended). Maybe it will even give them a reason to believe in our government again.
It is not inconceivable that the same criminal elements who now sell cannabis will, when the drug is legalised, diversify its business and set up "coffee houses" themselves. In effect this will do nothing to separate the sale of cannabis from the criminal underworld. Conversely, it will give them a legitimate base from which to operate their activities.
Economics: Would the legalization of marijuana be economical?
Legal marijuana can be taxed for revenue gain According to a study conducted by Harvard Professor Dr. Jeffrey Miron, replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation similar to that integrated on alcoholic and tobacco products would result in annual savings and revenues of between $10 and $14 billion per year. Leading the endorsing economists are three Nobel Laureates in economics: Dr. George Akerlof of the University of California, Berkeley, Dr. Milton Friedman of the Hoover Institute, and Dr. Vernon Smith of George Mason University. Akerlof, Friedman, and Smith along with over 500 other economists are supporting Dr. Jeffrey Miron's study and are calling for a debate assessing the logic and rationale behind marijuana prohibition. Dr. Jeffrey Miron's study concludes that removing the prohibitive status on marijuana and replacing it with legal regulation would result in approximately saving $7.7 billion in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement; $2.4 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at state and local levels.
Increased legal marijuana consumption will decrease economic productivity If marijuana consumption can be concluded as leading to decreased cognition, short-term member, and motivation, and if legalization can concluded as likely to raise consumption, than the result of legalization will be to marginally decrease productivity in the market place.
Legal marijuana's social costs will negate new tax revenues. The degradation of family and community relations has major economic costs. These are important support networks. If marijuana disrupts them even marginally, the government becomes obliged to support those who's social networks and communities have weakened due to marijuana use.
Legal regulation: Would legal regulation of marijuana be superior to a ban?
Users simply smoke less of potent pot to achieve the same high There is nothing sinister or dangerous about potent pot. Assuming that people will smoke until they are as high as they want to be, and then will stop, smokers of potent pot may simply have to take only one hit to get as high as they want, as opposed to a full joint with less potent pot. It is similar to the consumption of spirits as compared to beer. And, if adults are trusted to consume spirits responsibly, why not potent pot?
International treaty: Would marijuana legalization contravene some treaties?
Regulation and susequest prohibition for minors would be maintained (as it is for alcohol and tobacco products) therefore would not pose a conflict to the UN's children's rights act. In addition, legalization would make it easier for scientific studies to take place, therefore contributing to the discovery and knowledge base of the actual effects of the drug, which would, in turn, result in increased scientific data to our public school system and a more informed society.
In June, 2005, Jeffrey Alan Miron, a libertarian economist and Visiting Professor of Economics at Harvard University and more than 530 distinguished economists, including Milton Friedman, a Nobel prize winning libertarian economist, called for the legalization of marijuana in an open letter to President George W. Bush.