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Substance abuse has been a major concern in most countries due to the negative effects of drugs on the health of the users. However, drugs also have some benefits to the society. Marijuana refers to “a dry, shredded green and brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves derived from the hemp plant cannabis sativa”(Reinarman & Cohen, 2004, p. 837). Marijuana has both psychoactive and medicinal effects. In North America, the legality of marijuana varies from one state to another. I argue that marijuana should be legalized because it will facilitate the use of marijuana as a medicine, it will reduce the strain on the state budget, and it will create jobs and increase tax revenue.
Medicinal Benefits of Marijuana
Marijuana should be legalized on medical grounds since it has been empirically proved that it has therapeutic effects. Modern research indicates that marijuana can be used to treat “neuropathic pain, nausea, spasticity, glaucoma, and movement disorder”(Joffe & Yancy, 2004, p. 633). Marijuana can also be used to stimulate appetite among patients suffering from HIV/ AIDs and dementia. Emerging research findings reveal that marijuana can also be used to prevent malignant tumors. Besides this, an overdose of the drug cannot lead to death. This makes it a safe medicinal drug that will improve the health of citizens(Joffe & Yancy, 2004, p. 634). Medicinal marijuana will significantly reduce medical expenses to patients who cannot afford expensive manufactured drugs available in the local pharmaceutical outlets. Moreover, it will act as an alternative medicine to patients who have developed resistance to the medications they have been relying on.
Responsible use of Marijuana
The premise that consistent use of the drug will lead to negative health effects on the users is misguided. This is because research reveals that consistent users of marijuana tend to develop their own etiquette in terms of personal norms and values which guide them in using marijuana. Thus, the users of marijuana have a mechanism for controlling their consumption of this drug(Joffe & Yancy, 2004, p. 635). This enables them to avoid the negative health effects associated with it. Apart from this, the citizens can be educated by the government and the producers of marijuana on responsible consumption. It has also been proven that the users tend to reduce the frequency at which they use marijuana over time. This finding counters the notion that quitting the use of marijuana is challenging. The social costs of using marijuana in terms of expenditure, mortality and morbidity are considered to be lower as compared to other drugs, such as tobacco and alcohol. This will translate into less strain on the state budget.
Financial Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana
Marijuana can only be sold in the black market since it is an illicit drug. Consequently, producers and sellers of marijuana continue to enjoy tax free profits from the illegal trade. By legalizing marijuana, the government will receive more tax revenue from the production and sale of the drug(Reinarman & Cohen, 2004, p. 839). Besides, the government will make huge savings by eliminating the costs of arresting and punishing marijuana offenders. Legalizing commercial production of marijuana will enable the marijuana industry to grow tremendously. The producers will have more time to concentrate on production rather than avoiding being noticed by the law enforcement officers(Reinarman & Cohen, 2004, p. 840). As the industry grows, more firms will join it, thereby creating more job opportunities. This will help in reducing the high rate of unemployment.
The above analysis shows that marijuana has several benefits. It is also possible to manage the negative effects that are associated with it. This implies that it is not as dangerous as believed by those who oppose its use. It is apparent that the medicinal aspect of marijuana can only be beneficial to many patients if it is legalized(Reinarman & Cohen, 2004, p. 839). Thus, marijuana should be legalized because it will facilitate the use of marijuana as a medicine, it will reduce the strain on the state budget, and it will create jobs and increase tax revenue.