Sunday, February 22, 2009
Another look at Marijuana
Legalization of marijuana has been a topic that has been long discussed, proposed, and usually rejected. It is a banned substance that many people, especially younger people use all the time. It is considered a “soft” drug but that still does not help its cause because of the gateway theory. The Gateway Theory says that soft drugs like marijuana will eventually lead people to open up and try harder more addicting drugs because of their enhanced effects. This is still just a theory and is relatively unproven yet law makers and legislators continue to use it as one of their primary defenses. Marijuana was first taxed in 1937 by the Marijuana Tax Act which required sellers to have a license in order to sell marijuana. Later it was said that marijuana had detrimental effects on people and a law was quickly passed to ban the now considered drug; there was little argument or opposition to the law. The stand the government has taken now is that they can not distribute marijuana because it is a drug and that would be immoral of the state to sell something that can be harmful to the people’s health. They also say it will not stop drug trafficking and it will send a message to the people that drug use is just fine. I disagree with these points. For one the government regulates cigarettes and tobacco products which have been shown in many studies to cause problems such as cancer and heart disease. Yet the government continues to allow the distribution of the product even knowing the harm and thousands of death it causes every year. As part of the moral issue who is right to say what is moral and what is not. As the article says” immorality of marijuana use can only be based on one set of moral beliefs. For example, it is discriminatory to claim that Judeo-Christian abstinence from intoxication is the correct set of moral beliefs.” It is deemed immoral just because of its classification as a drug yet when you compare its effects with alcohol use they are not that much different and there is no physical dependence that can form with marijuana unlike alcohol. The biggest part that can be argued at this point in time because of the economy is the tax revenue that the government could get if it was legalized and regulated. Just like cigarettes have a tax so could marijuana. It could become much needed money for our country. It would also be able to help put the illegal marijuana market out of business because prices are so high through the black market. If distributers grew and sold the product it would be much cheaper and people would not have a reason to go to the illegal sellers anymore. I do not think the reasons to not legalize it outweigh the reasons to legalize marijuana. It makes a lot of sense and there would be many positive aspects if it was legalized. It would give the government extra revenue and control over the substance and best of all it would out the illegal growers and sellers out of business because they will not be able to compete.