In Germany it is still an offence under the drug laws to posses the drug but the laws are some what more liberal. For example the prosecution may not press charges where the drug was found to be in 'low quantity 'and was for personal use. Thus patients have received lower penalties. The progress in Germany is such that in April 2000, the German company THC Pharm received the approval to make "THC (dronabinol) available to pharmacies." (Grotenhermen, 2002) the future developments in that country depends on how the patients, physicians, politicians, lawyers and others involved in the debate bring it to a conclusion. In the U.S. The debate has taken another turn with economists showing that it is better to legalize the use of marijuana in the open market. For example a research on the relevance of the ban on drugs and crime and economic impacts of legalizing marijuana conducted by Shepard, Blackley (2007) suggested that the marijuana law enforcement has been counterproductive, and the arrest for usage of marijuana per se, is the root cause of other crimes. Thus they advocate that it is necessary for marijuana to be legalized or marijuana laws become non-punitive.
II. D. The controversy to legalize the drug
The controversy to legalize the drug is a disadvantage of the use of marijuana. "Cultivating hemp for marijuana is illegal but a few countries under the federal Control Substance Act (1970) is listed as a Schedule I substance." (Degenhardt; Hall, 2008) Some of the medicines that have THC and cannabidiol are approved for sale in Canada are still being investigated in the U.S. Marketed in Canada as Sativex, the drug is ingested by being sprayed under the tongue or elsewhere in the mouth. The effects are not however as it would have been by inhalation and therefore patients may prefer smoking an herbal preparation. Smoking marijuana however is frowned upon for the possible side effects to lungs. (President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2010) These considerations weigh in the mind of legislators who have to make the rules for the use of medicines made from the hemp plant.
III. Only few states that legalize marijuana for medical use
Because of the legal status surrounding the use of the drug, there are only few states that legalize marijuana for medical use. State and federal legislations are conflicting over to legalize marijuana for medical use. The legal problem and the principles that are in conflict involve the individual rights as enshrined in the constitution and the state and federal systems of legislating. If the federal government is to make the marijuana production or use illegal and consider it as a schedule drug, then what will be the position of state laws that liberalize its use in medicine? Courts have been approached in this regard, and some of the cases have even referred to question of whether marijuana has therapeutic use has been debated. (Hyatt, 2006)
The state of California passed the law in this regard. The drug policy does not provide any leeway for drug use and has a 'zero tolerance' approach. For marijuana, the restrictions began with the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 and subsequently the Boggs Act and the Narcotic Control Act 1950 and these acts provided with very harsh penalties for the possessing and use of the drug. It was further made stringent with the Controlled Substances Act 1970 which classified marijuana as a Schedule I drug. (Khatapoush; Hallfors, 2004)
There was continued use of the drug for recreation purposes and enforcement costs escalated over time. The question is if the drug policies need be revised in a national level. It was Oregon that decriminalized marijuana in 1973; and by 1996 most states passed state acts, for example the California Moscone Act of 1976, the act decriminalized possession of marijuana and did not provide prison sentences. It was followed by the Compassionate Use Act, and after the act it has become legal to cultivate and use marijuana for medicinal purposes with the written or oral recommendation of a doctor. (Khatapoush; Hallfors, 2004)
To conclude our argument in the thesis statement about the use of marijuana for medical purposes is by far correct if we are to go by the opinions and actions of many nations like Canada and Germany. It is proved by researchers of the medical community that marijuana has many advantages and disadvantages for medical purposes, and the benefits seem to outweigh the defects. Even as a pleasure drug it does not seem to be very harmful or addictive and does not seem to cause drug dependency. Under this circumstance there would be no problem in changing the marijuana policy in the United States so as to allow medical use of the drug. But the issue is more complicated with a general clamor to liberalize the use of marijuana altogether.
There must be debates on all the issues and since many state laws have challenged the federal policy the federal government must start the debate on national policy on legalizing marijuana especially for medical purpose. The Canadian government has been very progressive in the adaptation of a nationwide policy regarding the medical use of palliatives of those suffering from painful diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, AIDS and epilepsy. In all these cases liberalizing the medical use of marijuana seems to have been fund to be beneficial and there does not seem to be any substantial problem with drug abuse. Thus making it liberal will help a lot of people and the side effect to society is nil. Therefore marijuana for medical purposes must be allowed.
Degenhardt, Louisa; Hall, Wayne D. (2008) "The adverse effects of cannabinoids: implications for use of medical marijuana." CMAJ, vol. 178, p. 1685.
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