Sunday, April 19, 2009

Response to Legalization of Marijuana

This entry is in response to the multitude of postings in favor of the legalization of marijuana to provide some issues and concerns for thought and response. I have yet to be convinced that the legalization of such a negatively portrayed substance by the federal government is "actually not that bad for society and can be beneficial." However, I am open to hearing sound arguments that can put forth factual information to prove this true.

To start, I find that the argument to legalize marijuana on the foundation that it might stimulate the economy to be hilarious. Not only the defining of marijuana as "a stimulant" of any kind, but the basis for resorting to allowing illegal substances as a way of saving our economy. If this is the route that is to be taken, then I am positive that we should add prostitution and human trafficking to the list. Although morally wrong, ethically unjust, and detrimental to a society on the whole, they surely would be taxable industries and create federal funds. I'd be interested to see the reaction of the international community to such a proposition.

Anyway, in terms of the argument for the legalization of marijuana, I would like to present a few thoughts for consideration. Although marijuana brings in a large amount of funding and potentially taxable industry into the United States each year, it is still considered an illegal substance on the federal level and has been documented as being detrimental to a society. This argument can be historically compared to the British empires trafficking of opium for the past two centuries until the early 1900s. Over 1/4 of India's total revenues were steadily based on the growth and sale of opium. However, as repeatedly shown, for example during the multiple Opium Wars in China where at one point 4 out of every 5 adult males were addicted to the substance in Southeast China, it completely devastated the society and its economic system.

Similarly in the United States in the past century, and arguably still occurring today, Southeastern states such as Florida, were experiencing large illegal operations of cocaine and similar drugs. Although these drugs can me biologically argued to be at a higher degree of reaction and detriment to society than marijuana, in legal terms it becomes a slippery slope.

If marijuana, a currently federal banned substance is allowed to be grown, sold, and used for even medical purposes to alleviate pain related symptoms, then legally so could cocaine, ecstasy, etc. Stare decisis would need to be completely altered and a can of worms would be opened for individual interpretation until it reached the Supreme Court Level. However, individual differences in cases would eventually overwhelm the Supreme Court to a level in which Congress would have to officially pass some sort of blanket legislation on the issue.

Furthermore, this blanket issue would need to be defined by agencies to individualize certain drugs, etc. This is the exact process that occurs today. So in essence, the battle would come completely round circle with the hope that marijuana would become legal without the implications that other similar affecting drugs would not be included. Therefore, the argument to allow marijuana to be legal just because it "has the potential to raise taxes" is one that I feel is extremely limited and falls flat without the bases of support by additional arguments on why the growth and distribution is beneficial to the community as a whole.

This is not only an economic battle, but a legal and philosophical battle as well. It is not simpler than allowing for gay marriages to occur. However, arguably the allowing of gay marriages does not carry the same detrimental possibilities to society as the legalization of marijuana. However, that is a completely different arena for contemplation.

The legalization of marijuana is a topic that is thrown around by many without a large amount of support outside of the realm of gaining popular support. I find that many times, the argument for legalization of such as substance is not fully supported by factual information but rather personal desires. In instances when the legalization of marijuana is compared with the overturning of prohibition, I find myself asking individuals whether they realize that one of the largest factors in overturning prohibition was because of the lack of federal funding and popular support to fight a domestic battle against a substance that is ingrained in the countries heritage. The same argument can directly be applied in the response to why tobacco is shown to be detrimental to society but is not made illegal.

However, marijuana cannot be factually argued to be ingrained in the roots of this country and has for the most part successfully been banned for several decades. Additionally, in response to the argument that there still is a "war on drugs" to demonstrate that it is not beneficial to continue to classify marijuana as a legal substance, I put forth this statement. There is also currently a "war" against gang violence, racism, etc. occurring within this country. To allow such things to be legal simply because they are present in society, is an argument that lacks both logic and justification.

In conclusion, I find there is more responses to arguments against the legalization for marijuana than there is in favor. Of course, I sympathize with those in pain from terminal diseases. However to allow them to detriment the overall population of society, I feel that I cannot allow to happen without proper justification. I have yet to find the means of factual contention to allow for this justification. However, I look forward to the opinion of those who claim to be able to provide it.


  1. Hey is this done by Michael Taylor, assistant prof at Seton Hall?

  2. I'm srry I meant --- was this written by him?