Term Paper: Legalization of Marijuana or Cannabis

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[. . .] People are not willing to investigate the real impact of using marijuana since there is a lot of conflicting literature available on the subject. A close study of literature reveals that despite claims of marijuana being a dangerous drug, there is no concrete evidence linking it to death, fatalities, insanity or criminal activity. If we can allow alcohol and caffeine, both of which had psychoactive effects, why can't marijuana be legalized which is certainly less dangerous and less addictive.

Prohibition of marijuana has actually given rise to some serious ethical questions. We know that every year tens of hundreds of arrests are made on account of illegal possession of marijuana. This results in overcrowding of our prisons where inmates are already suffering from lack of space and resources. With legalization of this drug, which is certainly not dangerous, we can minimize this overcrowding of prisons allowing inmates to live in a healthier and less violent place. Dr. Ethan A. Nadelmann said "The nation's war on drugs has been a costly exercise in futility, filling the nation's prisons with low level criminals while keeping drug costs and profits high." (Evans 9a)

However legalization doesn't follow that the drug must be available for causal use and consumption. It means that while the supply should be regulated, it must be a banned substance so those who possess it are immediately sent to prison and people can benefit from its medical powers. "Legalization should not be taken to mean a lawless free-for-all with no restraint on the supply or use of the drug. Done properly it would allow government to take control of the distribution and quality of the substance away from criminals." (Brown)

In short, I believe that marijuana should be legalized for the following reasons:

Surveys conducted reveal that years of extreme restriction and rigidity in the drug controlling policies and "a hysterical law-and-order campaign against illegal drugs" have only resulted in highly and uncontrollable augmented prison population. (Nordberg, 2000)

Moreover, the contemporary debate has resulted in the augmentation of marijuana and cocaine prices rather than in the reduction of drug use. (Nordberg, 2000)

Polls and extensive research demonstrate that twenty million Americans have confessed smoking marijuana, a number that is impossible to be accommodated in the state prisons. (Nordberg, 2000)

Furthermore, a comprehensive and exhaustive study of the British drug policy, based on two years of extensive research, proves that "alcohol and tobacco are highly addictive and kill massive numbers of people, while neither of these effects have been demonstrated in marijuana use" (Nordberg, 2000)

In addition to the above, study conducted by the RAND institute shows that various industrialists exploit the capabilities of the prisoners held for drug abuse by making them work day in and day out and paying them minimum possible thereby compelling the remaining population to vie with this low-paid population. (Nordberg, 2000)

Hence I take the position of supporting the legalization of marijuana for our current war on drugs is obviously not producing any commendable results. Marijuana must be heavily regulated, like alcoholic beverages but not be prohibited. This is because prohibition results in the wastage of precious money, time and efforts with minimum fruitful output. Furthermore, we don't need to put small time drug offenders in prison when we need more room for the serious criminals charged with the history of murders or other grave offences. Instead, we can have detox clinix which are a good way to provide rehabilitation to small time drug offenders. They are working well in Netherlands and are similar to Alcoholics Anonymous in their mode of operation and objectives. This will help drug addicts or dealers become productive members of the society.


Cannabis" Accessed online 27 April 2004: http://www.cannabis.net

Richard Rudgley, The Encyclopedia of Psychoactive substances, Little, Brown and Company (1998), http://www.cannabis.net/hist/index.html

Carol E. Rachal, Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Use: Accessed Online 27 April 2004:


Brown, Christopher. "Bring Drugs Within the Law." The Economist. (5-15-93): 13.

Evans, Martin. "Schmoke urges NAACP to back decriminalization of drugs." The Sun. (7-13-89): 9A.

Zimmer, Lynn., and Morgan, John P. Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts. New York, NY: Lindesmith Center, 1997

Nordberg, D., COLUMN: Why continue drug war?., University Wire, 04-05-2000 [END OF PREVIEW]

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