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Legalization of Marijuana/Other Illegal Drugs


Most of us would go ahead and give away around $5 for a latte at Starbucks? What is the reason? It is because we wish to do anything that would give us a good feeling; that would make us confident.

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Similarly, drugs are done for the same reason. Why should they have to be any different? Those who use drugs do so because they wish to be comfortable and to feel good, even though those drugs are illegal.

But then, there are arguments against the use of drugs, and they are the reason for them being illegal. Surely, those arguments would not have been presented without sense. A major reason for the drugs being illegal is that they cause the users to commit crimes. Before the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act, Harry J. Anslinger is said to have written that:

“How many murders, suicides, robberies, criminal assaults, holdups, burglaries, and deeds of maniacal insanity it causes each year, especially among the young, can only be conjectured…” (Nolan, p. 33).

It is clear from this that the number of damage drugs can cause is great and dangerous, thus the illegalization of them.

Issues with Legalizing Drugs

It appears to be like there is a call to “legalize drugs!” from everywhere; from liberals as well as the conservatives. Some individuals claim that the drug war can be won only if drugs are legalized. Certainly, drug enforcement places a great load on the country and capital and other resources are utilized while they could have been employed somewhere else and for better purposes. However, if drugs are legalized the predicament, which is by now great, would go uncontrollable. If the arguments concerning the legalization of drugs are examined, it will be seen that this would certainly not resolve the dilemmas that the country is facing due to drugs.

There are certain problems with the drug war that is going on. The techniques that are employed for drug prevention are certainly not efficient enough (Augustine & Schilling, 100). There are circumstances when the government agents enter some person’s abode – could be the wrong person even, which is outrageous – and arrest the drug user who had only been using some illegal drug, without harming anyone. On the other hand, these agents do not catch those drug lords who are the ones responsible for allowing the access of drugs to become easier than it could be, by trafficking drugs into the nation worth millions of dollars.

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What needs to be done instead is to provide the necessary education to the children as well as adults about the hazards associated with drugs along with preventing the drug dealing from going on by arresting the dealers. The drug dealers are to be handled more than the drugs users. Due to the fact that the attempts made for the drug war do not turn out to be successful, the efforts should not be surrendered. Instead, they should be improved and re-focused on.

There is an issue regarding drug prevention that deals with the basic human rights. There is a viewpoint that the use of drugs is a personal behavior and that the government has no right to influence personal conduct. The government should not interfere with the people’s actions as long as they are not harming anyone. This is the view of the people who advocate legalization of illegal drugs such as marijuana. They feel that as long as the person is affecting just himself, he shouldn’t be arrested or disallowed to use drugs. This issue would come when he goes on to harm others. Also, their point is that the government has no right to prevent someone from using anything that would allow them to prevent or alleviate pain; like marijuana does. This would be a breach of personal human rights.

These people rightly say that the war on drugs has not helped in any way; instead, it has only cost a lot of money that could have been used elsewhere. One statement that they point towards is that the death toll due to drugs has not changed in the last three decades.

Although the promoters of drug legalization have a point, those who oppose this cannot be ignored at this position. These people do not dispute the facts and figures that the promoters of drug legalization put forward, but they do say that without the drug war the use of drugs would be a lot more. These individuals have the thought that the demand for drugs, particularly cocaine, has gone down to a great extent following the harsh decrees, together with the attempts to educate people about the hazards that could result due to drug obsession. Thus, this category of people believes that the war on drugs has turned out to be effective. According to their thinking, if drugs such as marijuana and cocaine are legalized there would be a greater prevalence of drug addiction, child abuse and neglect, and accidents at both works as well as traffic.

Concerning the use of drugs considering that a person has the right to deal with his body as he wishes, the non-supporters of drug legalization have a valid statement. They point out that a person does not have a right to do just anything he wishes to. For example, a person cannot just simply walk around on the streets naked, although, like marijuana, this is also a completely natural thing. Thus, it is not that anything natural should be, or is, allowed.

Apart from this, this group claims that drugs do not only hurt the person who ingests them, but also the family, friends, and even those he does not know. And also, that there will not be any reduction in crimes due to the legalization of drugs; the crimes may increase because there is a positive relationship between the use of drugs and the crime rate.

Pros of Legalizing Drugs

What if the use of drugs such as marijuana became legal in the United States? Some people may find this a scary idea, but if the point is thought about it is not all that an awful suggestion after all.

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The first and instantaneous positive argument which one thinks of concerning the legalization of drugs in the United States, particularly marijuana, is that it has certain medical applications. For the people who are undertaking chemotherapy, it helps to relieve nausea (Schwartz et al., p. 169). It would be considered callous if permission is not given to use something that helps to alleviate any of kind affliction or pain. Apart from such terminally ill patients, certain drugs like marijuana can ward off depression, fuel appetite for the anorexic, and relieve anxiety. And there has been not a single death caused due to overdose of marijuana. This is not all. There are several more benefits of marijuana and similar drugs. So is it not that there should be legalization done for the drugs?

Since the 1930s there have been great discoveries due to science and now we know about certain drugs, like cocaine and opium, being harmful to people. However, there is no solid similar evidence for marijuana. Although there is plenty of misinformation regarding marijuana, there have been recent studies performed that state that marijuana does not have any harmful effects on the consumer. No instance of lung cancer because of marijuana has been reported, and the research even states that this drug does not instigate emphysema, or brain damage. Therefore, there is no reason that marijuana, and any drug that has been proven to be safe, should not be legalized. There goes a saying that: “God made grass, Man-made booze. Who do you trust?”(The Point). As it is not causing any danger there is no reason for it to be illegal.

However, if some people out there do argue over the fact that marijuana causes brain cells to damage (Yoga Journal, p. 30), what about the other things that are legal but responsible for this too? Like diesel fuel, mobile phones, microwaves, reality television. Should these be banned too? Alas, they are there and legal. So why can marijuana and other similar drugs also not be legal? It does not make sense.

Then other drugs are actually given out to people. The doctors prescribe them daily to so many patients and those drugs are said to have the potential of killing people immediately. One example is chemotherapy; although this saves people’s lives there are also many out there who have lost lives due to it. Thus, there is again no reason why chemotherapy is legal while certain drugs are not. Perhaps it should be banned as well.

The United States government is responsible for starting the problem of drugs. Once upon a time all drugs were legal but the state did not disintegrate. The reason behind now there being illegal drugs are the special interest groups. Governments are not supposed to control private conduct; they do not have the right. The private industry should be doing work.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages

There are certainly several advantages of legalizing drugs and they have been discussed above. However, most are not without costs.

One advantage of the legalization of drugs is that some of them, like marijuana, is good for medicinal purposes. This is a great benefit as it allows the lives of many people to be saved. Legalization of drugs would make easier availability of them for medicinal purposes and not cause problems in obtaining the drugs.

It may be argued here that this would allow everyone to get the drugs easily and that would cause problems. However, the thing here is that the people who do get overdosed are responsible for their own selves, but the government would be responsible if because of it some innocent person does not manage to survive because marijuana, being illegal, was not available for his treatment.

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Similarly, if drugs are legalized there would be much fewer arrests since the drug users would be not jailed. Again, this poses the same trouble, of there being too much drugging going on. However, a point here is that, if the drugs are legalized, instead of charging and arresting people for use of drugs, the government agents can focus more on catching the people who are harming others, like murderers and thieves and rapists. Also, since alcohol is legal and widely available while being harmful at the same time, there happens to be no reason why certain drugs are not.

Plus, it can be said that marijuana laws are not fair and that they were formed in order to manage the Mexican people in the lower states of the United States. The legalization of drugs would change these laws and there would be freely available drugs. Even though this might not be seen as an advantage, it is fact that another benefit due to this would override it. That benefit is that use of hemp paper would be allowed and as it is environmentally friendly, it would lead to the prevention of the forests being cut down for paper.

There is yet another factor for the legalization of drugs. Even though legalization of drugs would lead to their being widely available, it would allow the government to tax the sale of drugs. Only the lawbreakers are at the moment getting profits from the use of drugs. If these are legalized then their cost would decrease a lot and they could be taxed. Since the people would be buying them whether they are legal or not, it is better to legalize and then tax them.

Cons of Legalizing Drugs

It is strongly not recommended that drugs be legalized because the consequences are going to be extremely devastating. The current generation as well as the next are going to suffer badly, and might end up wishing that the legalization of drugs did not take place. Just like some people today feel that alcohol and tobacco should not have been legalized. Today, there are large numbers of consumers of alcohol and tobacco. Everyone drinks and smokes – the substances run in our veins. Although it may be said that people must look after themselves and have enough morals and values so as not to take up drugs, it is not a very good argument. When something would be available that a person wants, he would certainly get to it. Not everyone can restrain themselves. The government has a duty towards its people and that is to guide them when they tend to move astray. In this case, also the government should help the citizens.

Another point is that if drugs are legalized there would be no stop to their usage. There would be no line drawn. The people would be getting drugged openly and commonly and that is not a good point.

There are still issues relating to drugs too health. Although there have been several studies stating that some drugs are not harmful, such as marijuana, there has to be more research conducted in order to validate this point more truly.

What is so wrong with the people that they actually need drugs? Why do they wish to change their reality? They can surely get happiness, or relief, or freedom from depression through other means. It does not have to be brought about artificially, especially when there is a chance of it harming the person.

Advantages vs. Disadvantages

The advantages of not legalizing drugs are mentioned above and there can be a discussion on them to prove their validity.

If the drugs are made legal there would be widespread use of them and that would cause problems. There is no reason as to why drugs should be made legal. If the medicinal concept is used to defend the issue, there can be an argument against it. It can be said that there can be availability of the required drugs only at chemists or physicians instead of making the whole thing legal. This would help the patients along with the public.

The point made above was that drugs are supposed to be causing harm, but then there are other items also that are damaging like the microwaves, but they are not banned. There is not much that can be said here except that it would be possible for a person to survive without drugs but he may find it difficult to live without all modern technology (microwaves and cell phones). Thus, one should avoid as much damaging stuff as he can.

Personal Assessment

Personally I would say that drug legalization should not be taken place on a general level. What should be done is the drugs that have been proven to be beneficial for medicinal and such purposes should be made available only to those who require it, and only in the amount that is needed. This would allow for possibly saving lives along with not making it legal.

As there are variations as to whether certain drugs are beneficial, or at least do not cause any harm, drugs should not be made legal. More research is required to completely, absolutely establish the fact that the named drugs are perfectly safe and do not cause any kind of harm or side effects. Till then, it would be in the best interest of the public to refrain from making drugs a legal commodity.


There is a solid argument against the use of drugs like marijuana. It is that a person is only once bestowed with a brain, and any item that would lead to an alteration in one’s viewpoints of and the interactions with the society should be considered harmful because these influence mainly the brain. If this was not the case, the public would not have been ingesting them.

The American way of life is founded on the concept of freedom, and most Americans wish to live according to their desires. Nevertheless, there should be a balance of freedom with control. If drugs are legalized this balance would be disrupted and thus it would lead to a limitation of the law to indict the individuals who misbehave when under the influence. If one comes to think about it, Americans would still be living as they wish to so there is no point in legalizing drugs.

The essay relates both the pros as well as the cons of legalizing drugs but since there is a solid argument for both sides, a conclusion cannot be reached unless there is more research conducted on drug use.

Annotated Bibliography

Augustine, Norman, R. & William R. Schilling. Non-traditional Warfare: Twenty-First Century Threats and Responses. USA: Potomac Books Inc., 2002.

In this book, the extensive skills of technologists, teachers, and journalists are brought together to explain the nature of the non-traditional menaces and the possible ways to deal with them. The book indicates the deficiencies in the U.S. strategy along with the managerial underperformance that has to be amended so as to allow for better preparation for the tackling and overpowering of those vague hazards.

Dowbenko, Url. “Marijuana Double Take.” Yoga Journal. 35. (1980): 25-31.

This particular article in the magazine talks all about marijuana, as can be deduced from the title. The author writes about how marijuana is considered harmless by some people. She talks about old times and the studies performed on marijuana to ascertain its safety.

Nola, James, L. Reinventing Justice: The American Drug Court Movement. New Jersey, USA: Princeton University Press, 2003.

In this book, the author deals with how the beneficial techniques differ from the conventional magistrate’s trials and how those disparities replicate modifications occurring in the American society plus the ideas of justice.

Schwartz, Richard, H., Eric A. Voth, Michael J. Sheridan. “Marijuana to prevent nausea and vomiting in cancer patients.” Southern Medical Journal. 90.2 (1997): 167-172.

This journal article is about a survey concerning marijuana’s beneficial aspects. The researchers mailed a survey to 1,500 American clinical oncologists. A specific question was about how frequent is their prescription of marijuana to their patients. Although it was recognized that marijuana helped with nausea, it was not established whether it could be used as an antiemetic medicine.

“Weed Wars: Fight for the Right!” The Point. 2009.

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