Should Marijuana Be Legalized Nationally Essay

Length: 6 pages Sources: 6 Subject: Law  (general) Type: Essay Paper: #70658318

Excerpt from Essay :

¶ … Marijuana Be Legalized Nationally According to the Terms of California Prop. 64? People have been using Cannabis Sativa, also known as marijuana, for a number of centuries now. The plant from which marijuana is made grows in several locations around the world. Cannabis Sativa plant's flowering top is the source of marijuana as it has Tetrahydrocannnabinol (THC), a chemical that induces the state changes among users of marijuana. Studies show that using marijuana has both long-term and short-term health effects. Marijuana's short-term effects include distorting the senses including the sense of time and a reduced ability to concentrate. Long-term effects can be more damaging health wise and include a drop in testosterone and sperm levels among men, respiratory problems similar to those suffered by those who smoke tobacco, fatigue, lower libido, reduced fertility and alterations of body composition where the body records a drop in muscle mass as fat mass increases. Further, women may also see their premenstrual and ovulation cycles affected (Caulkins, Kilmer & Kleiman, 2016). This paper will make the argument as to why marijuana should not be legalized for recreational use.

Proposition 64 made it legal to use marijuana recreationally in the state of California. The law puts a requirement for a minimum age, stating that only people over the age of 21 are allowed to have in their possession or use marijuana recreationally. To ensure that marijuana use is of economic benefit to the state, the state introduced two new taxes that would be levied on the retail price as well as on the cultivation of the plant (Bender, 2017).

Argument against Legalization of Marijuana

Smoking a substance of any kind has been shown to negatively affect and potentially pose a life-threatening risk to an individual's respiratory health. The other effects of marijuana include reduced problem solving skills, reduced judgment, IQ and memory. Studies have also linked marijuana use to increased likelihood of developing a mental illness but there isn't enough evidence yet to back such conclusions. For instance, a number of marijuana users have been diagnosed with schizophrenia and psychosis (Caulkins et al., 2016). Another point to note is that cannabis sativa strains that are currently circulating in the market are significantly stronger than the ones that were being used some years back.

The use of marijuana, as is the case with alcohol use, can lead to the impairment of the user. What this means is that while someone is driving, for instance, they will be prone to accidents that may harm both themselves and other road users. There is also increased likelihood that using marijuana reduces a person's productivity and so a person's performance at the work place will greatly be affected. Such drops in performance can be very detrimental for careers that require high cognitive aptitudes such as being a


Evidence pointing to the use of marijuana being harmful is available. The FDA, an agency that approves all prescription medications used in the country, stated that smoking marijuana, given the available evidence today, is harmful. Further, not enough medical services are available for people using marijuana. Research also points to using marijuana leading to reduced motivation as the user becomes less driven and their determination to achieve reduces. This observation is supported by a number of studies that link using marijuana to criminality, lower incomes, unemployment, low life satisfaction and higher dependence on welfare (Caulkins et al., 2015; Caulkins et al., 2016).

Reducing the use of marijuana in the United States is critical to ensuring that the nation has better healthcare, education and increased productivity. Working on more strategic and well-thought out policies can reverse the failures of the current policies that have failed to protect citizens from the many negative effects of using marijuana (Caulkins et al., 2016). Since the legalization of marijuana for recreational use will likely lead to an exponentially greater number of users and so increased number of addictions, it is not a smart decision as far as public health is concerned even though some key players may view it as a smart political play for state and federal administrators.

Data from the states of Washington and Colorado where the use of marijuana was legalized in 2012 and where new laws were proposed to limit public marijuana use show that there is still a lot of controversy on the topic. It is important to note that the legalization brought with it new modes of consumption such as laced cookies, sodas, waxes and candies. This led to the development of new industries with lobbies backed with strong financial interests. These lobbies have increasingly been pushing for less and less state and federal regulation on marijuana (Monte, Zane & Heard, 2015). Colorado and Washington are now some of the states with the highest number of youths using marijuana. Meanwhile, the promised benefits from taxation of marijuana have not been forthcoming. The tax revenues, relative to revenues from other sectors, are so small that they constitute less than 1% of the tax revenues for the state of Colorado (Monte et al., 2015).

Since the legalization of marijuana use in Washington and Colorado, the number of children between the ages of 12 and 17 who regularly use marijuana have dramatically risen and passed the national average. Further, Colorado is now the leader in children aged 12 to 17 who use Marijuana as well as the percentage of the population who try marijuana for the very first time.…

Sources Used in Documents:


Bates, B. (2010, Feb). Teen cannabis use predicts depression. Clinical Psychiatry News, 38(2).

Bender, S. W. (2017). The Colors of Cannabis: Reflections on the Racial Justice Implications of California's Proposition 64.

Blake, D., & Finlaw, J. (2014). Marijuana legalization in Colorado: Learned lessons. Harv. L. & Pol'y Rev., 8, 359.

Caulkins, J. P., Kilmer, B., & Kleiman, M. A. (2016). Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know? Oxford University Press.

Cite this Document:

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