Arguing for the Legalization of Marijuana in Washington State Essay
Excerpt from Essay :
Legalization of Marijuana in Washington State
The legalization of Marijuana would allow for the government to have more regulation over the drug and its users. This of course does not come without rules and blankets like how cigarettes and alcohol come with warnings when purchased. If Marijuana were to be legalized, it can be sold with a list of active ingredients, purity levels and warnings like those of pharmaceutical drugs; this would let people know more about the drug. Marijuana does not have any harmful effects besides for the user, who is willing to accept those risks when in taking the drug. Countries that have legalized Marijuana, such as Amsterdam, have had positive results. The legalization of Marijuana has more benefits for the state of Washington than negative aspects.
The state of Washington has enacted laws on the legalization of medical Marijuana. This is due to modern research which suggests that Marijuana can help with the treatment of a lot of clinical applications, and can ease pain (Bock 2000, null7). Additionally, this treatment includes relief from nausea, glaucoma, spasticity and movement disorders. Because Marijuana is a very strong appetite stimulant, research suggests that it could protect the body from a variety of medical conditions such as some types of malignant tumors (Bock 2000, null7). This was effective on July 27, 2007, Chapter 69.51A RCW Amendments (Stiley and Cikuvitch, n.d.). The act states that only patients who are terminally ill, with the approval of a licensed physician can benefit from the medical use of Marijuana. Medical professionals are to exercise their best judgment in approving for patients who they believe would qualify as a benefactor of this drug. In the state of Washington, an individual caught with the possession of Marijuana which is less than 40 grams will be punished up to 90 days in jail, and will be fined up to $1,000, depending on the amount on person. A greater punishment is for those who are in possession of over 40 grams, penalties can be up to five years in prison and they can be fined up to $10,000 (Stiley and Cikuvitch, n.d.). The delivery, cultivation or sale of Marijuana is considered a felony and a fine of up to $10,000 will be charged, plus it is punishable up to five years in prison. Penalties double if the sale was to a minor who is at least three years the junior of the offender. If the person in possession of Marijuana claims to need the drug for medical purposes, no more than what is needed for personal medical use for up to sixty days should be on person. This individual should also provide the proper documentation which meets the criteria of a patient who has a valid medical need for the drug (Stiley and Cikuvitch, n.d.). The conviction of a misdemeanor crime in regards to the possession of Marijuana has a 24-hour minimum jail sentence, and the offender will be fined at least $250; this is for first-time offender, subsequent convictions will result in prison sentences. Juvenile drug offenders will have their driver's licenses suspended for one year (Stiley and Cikuvitch, n.d.).
Many ask the question why Marijuana should be legalized, however the question should really be "Why is Marijuana illegal in the first place?." The use of Marijuana is the choice of an individual, and that individual should be free to choose what he or she wants to do (Frideres, and Warner 1980, 109). Many people know that over-eating or the consumption of high-cholesterol foods can cause a risk of heart disease, and this heart disease kills millions of Americans each year, however the government does not seem to be putting a limit on the amount of cholesterol found in food. Nor is the government putting a ban on over-eating. The government should only exercise their limitation in choices for an individual's action if anything were to cause an individual to endanger someone else. An individual using Marijuana does so only according to free will; the government should only limit an individual's actions if he or she may pose a significant harm or threat to anyone else (Goode 1969, 16). Logically, this would not apply to marijuana since the drug is less dangerous as compared to other drugs which are legal, even as compared to alcohol or cigarettes.
If there were any proof that Marijuana has shown to have any criminal behavior or violent effects, then the fight for the legalization of the drug would be more for the protection of society than of civil
liberties (Goode 1970, 211). However, there are no known third party harms that Marijuana can cause; any which may be mentioned for the sake of argument are just "what ifs." When one takes on the lifestyle use of Marijuana, the individual is only harming himself, and he or she is supposedly aware of any risks it can pose physiologically. The de-criminalization of Marijuana is more of a liberty which will be given to people, who are supposed to exercise this free will; this of course has to come with its own regulations. For example, alcohol is legal, however driving if intoxicated with alcohol is illegal.
The argument whether Marijuana causes crime and violence does not have the full support of evidences today, science suggests that it has more benefits for an individual who is chronically ill than for it to cause a person to act un-according to social norms (Goode 1970, 211). According to () it is only the police and some of the public who are convinced that Marijuana does cause crime and violence. It is said that a majority of law enforcement officers strongly believe that Marijuana plays a big role in criminal behavior, and creates individuals to be public menaces; they are a great harm to society.
The author Throvald T. Brown (1961) who wrote a textbook on drugs for policemen stated that:
"…there is no more criminality in a tin of marijuana than there is in a fifth of whiskey, gin or vodka.
Bizarre criminal cases attributable to marihuana and other drugs, while common in newspaper stories, are rather rare in official police files. Crimes of violence such as murder, rape, mayhem, shootings, stabbings, pistol? whipping robberies and inane street beatings of innocent victims, occur every day in most American cities. Seldom is there any connection with these offenses and drugs" ( Brown 1961).
The cost of keeping Marijuana illegal is irrelevantly high; if this drug were to be legalized the government would save a lot of taxpayers' money (Goode 1969, 16). This is in regards to the participation of all levels of the United States government in the "War on Drugs." As compared to other illegal drugs, Marijuana does not pose a great harm to any third parties as stated above. More time should be spent focusing on other illicit drug related issues. Each year, billions of dollars are spent on the chase for people who choose to smoke Marijuana as a lifestyle; these people are then thrown in jail or in prison and taxpayers' money is spent on their housing, healthcare, food, attorney fees and other court-related or incarceration costs. Additionally, if Marijuana were to be legalized, the government would be able to impose a tax on the drug, making it a source of revenue rather than spending the taxpayer's money on it. This money which the government could make on the taxation of Marijuana can be spent on effective drug education programs or other causes which could benefit the public.
Prohibiting Marijuana use is an obvious failure since there are many who still participate in drug use and trafficking; this only causes more of a problem in society (Frideres, and Warner 1980, 112). There is no evidence whatsoever that prohibiting any drug decreases drug use; theories actually suggest that this prohibition may increase drug use, especially for minors. This is mostly psychologically, where an individual is more curious of the drug since it is forbidden (Ashton et al. 2005, 6). Because Marijuana is illegal, the trade of the drug is not regulated, and this gives easy access for anyone to obtain the drug. This makes it dangerously available to high school students; drug dealers do not ask for identification or even care if the customer is over 21, all he or she cares about is the sale. Because there is no regulation over Marijuana, it is much easier for a minor to obtain this drug than for them to purchase alcohol. To be able to regulate and control the sale of Marijuana, this drug should be legalized, and minors should be educated better about the use of this drug (Gerber 2004, 49). The prohibition of drugs does not stop people from consuming drugs, it provides an opening for those who are selling the drug to increase the value of the product, and this is due to its black market status. Because of this abnormally high value of the drug, people may resort to commit crimes…
Sources Used in Documents:
Alan W. Bock, The Politics of Medical Marijuana (Santa Ana, CA: Seven Locks Press, 2000), null7, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=98432636.
Erich Goode, The Marijuana Smokers (New York: Basic Books, 1970), 211, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=99522922
Erich Goode, ed., Marijuana (Chicago: Atherton, 1969), 16, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=96962183.
James S. Frideres, and Lyle G. Warner, "Attitude-Action Relationships," Canadian Review of Sociology and Anthropology 17, no. 2 (1980): 109, http://www.questia.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=95707042.
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