The topic of marijuana legalization has always been a subject of numerous heated debates for decades. The legislative measures and methodological tools to study both positive and negative effects are present. However, the social attitude towards cannabis is gradually shifting with an increased amount of acceptance and understanding. The given research paper analyses the current argumentative basis of marijuana legalization. The detailed study of the problem included a thorough description of people’s arguments and reasons for and against the legalization of marijuana. Each opposing side of the subject was granted an equal amount of expression and representation, which promoted an unbiased observation. The aim is to create a full comprehension of the issue and an overview of the social stigma surrounding the topic. The outlook and review of international experience are important to use as an illustration. The conclusive statement revolves around unbiased research and analysis of societal attitudes towards the topic.
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The fight against drug addiction and drug trafficking in the world is conducted in various ways and means; methods of struggle are usually divided into three distinct groups according to the degree of stringency of legislation in relation to this social phenomenon: countries of moderate control, countries with tough policies, states of a liberal approach. At the same time, in some countries, the fight against drug trafficking began to change its forms, choosing more progressive approaches to solving this issue. The beginning of the process of legalization of marijuana in Canada and Georgia provoked heated discussions not only at the public but also at the government level, which is associated with the expansion of the geography of countries in which the use of the drug in question has become legal. The main goal of the given research study is to overview and analyze the arguments regarding marijuana decriminalization and how they affect social perception. These given disputes will be a demonstrative basis for the development of a full understanding of the marijuana legalization controversy.
The methodological approach of the given research study involved detailed analysis and overview of the current state of affairs regarding the controversy over marijuana legalization. The objective observation tools and unbiased argumentation instruments were applied in order to deliver thorough results and information for further discussion. The study was designed on the parallel model, where each side of an issue is considered. Population and sample strategy subjects of representative legislative initiatives were collected from all over the globe, including Canada, Uruguay, and the US. The main variables were argument details and number, which indicated overall social attitude towards the controversy. Data was collected through analysis and overview of the current knowledge basis and research studies. Systematic overview and argumentation gathering were used as primary methods of analysis and observation.
Extensive research resulted in a thorough analysis of current social shifts in attitudes towards cannabis legalization and the controversy over it. The report includes information from the US, Uruguay, Canada, Ireland, Australia, and Germany. The data collection showed that several nations possess the problem of objectively addressing the issue of drug criminalization. The main finding is that in the United States, the cannabis legalization movement is currently in full swing: in 2016, states like California, Massachusetts, Maine, and Nevada joined Washington and Colorado to legalize marijuana. Other states, such as Florida, Arkansas, Montana, and North Dakota, also followed suit, but the consumption of marijuana was legalized only in cases of medical use. Thus, now more than half of the states have decriminalized the use of cannabis in full or limited medical volume (Maier, Mannes, & Koppenhofer, 2017). However, speaking of the movement for the jurisdictional allowance of the use of soft drugs, it is important to note that in the United States, as in many other states, there is a fairly broad movement opposing legalization, justifying this position with a lengthy list of arguments and arguments.
The process of legalizing cannabis is not an exceptional phenomenon, characteristic only for the United States. A secondary finding is that currently, 21 states have legalized marijuana in whole or in part for medical and adult-use (Maier et al., 2017). Relatively recently, Georgia has also embarked on the path of partial cannabis legalization, which has thus become one of the first countries in the international space in which cannabis consumption and its cultivation for its use has ceased to be a criminal offense (Onders, Casavant, Spiller, Chounthirath, & Smith, 2015). In 2016, Uruguay and Canada began the process of legalizing marijuana through legal regulation of the main provisions on the use of this type of drug while maintaining restrictions on the production and sale (Cruz, Queirolo, & Boidi, 2016.) Ireland, Australia, Germany, and Jamaica approved laws that recognize medical marijuana; however, the use of marijuana in other cases continues to be an offense and can be punished, including the application of criminal law. Medicinal use of marijuana involves its use to combat the individual symptoms and effects of a number of diseases, is allowed only with the appropriate prescription of the doctor, excluding the possibility of free distribution of the drug.
The discussion is aimed to derive the entire argumentative basis of the controversy of the cannabis legalization issue. The major finding is that the argumentative basis for the controversy is large and includes numerous similarities across the nations. The main results are arguments that are emphasized by supporters of the legalization of marijuana include social causes, legal reasons, and fiscal arguments. First, the marijuana ban is unreasonable government intervention in the individual freedom of choice; thus, a person is free to decide for himself what and how to do, what to use, and in what sizes.
In addition, marijuana is no more harmful to human health than alcohol or tobacco, which is legal and widely used and regulated by the government, which, through the introduction of a system of excise taxes, uses the sale of alcohol and tobacco products to replenish the state budget (Stringer & Maggard, 2016). Cannabis provides medical care to patients suffering from a multitude of diseases, including cancer, AIDS, and glaucoma (Doussard, 2017). Crime and violence rates, both in the country and at its borders with neighboring countries, are significantly increased due to the illegal sale and purchase of marijuana. Legalization would logically stop the need for such criminal behavior, translating the entire shadow business. The suggested policy is to create an unbiased platform for a thorough discussion of the issue. Practical implications are observations on the social scale, where the emerging arguments shift the social stigma around controversy.
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Furthermore, there a significant amount of legal reasons to decriminalize marijuana consumption. Statistics show that crimes related to the acquisition, storage, sale, and distribution of drugs account for a significant proportion of the total amount of crimes committed, exceeding the quantitative indicators for other types of crimes. As a result, the number of such crimes has a significant burden on the activities of law enforcement agencies, as well as on the workload of the judicial and penitentiary systems. In addition, young people between the ages of 18 and 30 who are sentenced to sufficiently severe punishment, up to imprisonment, are charged with drug-related cases (Stringer & Maggard, 2016). As a result, convicts are subjected to significant social harm, and society receives people who, at the time of their maturation, have lost the opportunity to be part of the culture.
Moreover, fiscal reasons play a critical role in the topic of controversy. For instance, fighting marijuana requires substantial financial expenses from the state, which are necessary for law enforcement, judicial and penal systems, as well as the subsequent re-socialization of those who have served their sentences (Stringer & Maggard, 2016). The legalization of marijuana will be the impetus for the development of legal business, the emergence of new jobs, which will inevitably lead to an increase in tax revenues, as well as the removal of part of the money from the black market.
Nevertheless, the controversy over cannabis legalization is fueled by the arguments of the opposing side. The main reasons against the legalization of marijuana are also social, legal, and fiscal (Ward, Lucas, & Murphy, 2018). The main cultural cause is that one of the reasons is the moral component of this issue since the legalization of a “light” drug as marijuana raises the question of the immorality of this decision (Cruz et al., 2016). Since people are talking about drugs, the use of which is considered shameful and reproachful, makes it possible and permissible to discuss further the possibility of legalizing other drugs.
Furthermore, there is an assertion that regular use of marijuana can lead to the use of heavier, more dangerous drugs, such as heroin and cocaine, because this is how many people become and become addicts, and drug addicts tend to seek and repeat the first sensations caused by use narcotic drugs (Ward, Lucas, & Murphy, 2018). Additionally, the opponents of legalizing marijuana believe that individuals involved in the illegal purchase and sale of drugs are more likely to be involved in other crimes, indicating a close relationship between these types of crimes (Doussard, 2017). The legalization of marijuana will lead to the creation in the country of a whole network of legally operating organizations that can simultaneously carry out illegal activities to sell other types of drugs, hiding behind the sale of marijuana. The strength of the study is the availability of the given information and consequent improvement with alterations. However, the major limitation is a practical implementation and continuous observation of social influences. In addition, the given research includes many variable elements which affect the results.
In conclusion, the controversy over marijuana use is greatly influenced by the social stigma around the topic. Therefore, it is highly important to fully understand the argumentative basis for the dispute. The arguments “for” and “against” the legalization of marijuana are mutually exclusive, and the strength of the position of one party or another in a given dispute depends more on the socio-political situation in each specific state. However, it is clear that legalization in certain regions will lead to positive consequences. It should be noted that the overwhelming number of countries in the world consistently oppose this process, and most countries in which marijuana legalization occurred, conducted this process only partially, which means that they allowed restricted medical use of marijuana, while another is still recognized as an administrative or criminal offense.
Cruz, J. M., Queirolo, R., & Boidi, M. F. (2016). Determinants of public support for marijuana legalization in Uruguay, the United States, and El Salvador. Journal of Drug Issues, 46(4), 308-325.
Doussard, M. (2017). The other green jobs: Legal marijuana and the promise of consumption-driven economic development. Journal of Planning Education and Research, 39(1), 79-92.
Maier, S. A., Mannes, S., & Koppenhofer, E. L. (2017). The implications of marijuana decriminalization and legalization on crime in the United States. Contemporary Drug Problems, 44(2), 125-146.
Onders, B., Casavant, M. J., Spiller, H. A., Chounthirath, T., & Smith, G. A. (2015). Marijuana exposure among children younger than six years in the United States. Criminal Justice Policy Review, 55(5), 428-436.
Stringer, R. J., & Maggard, S. R. (2016). Reefer madness to marijuana legalization: Media exposure and American attitudes toward marijuana (1975-2012). Journal of Drug Issues, 46(4), 428-445.
Ward, K. C., Lucas, P. A., & Murphy, A. (2018). The impact of marijuana legalization on law enforcement in states surrounding Colorado. Police Quarterly, 1(1), 1-9.