Marijuana is one of the illicit drugs in different parts of the world. In the United States, numerous debates have emerged regarding the use of this illegal substance for either recreational or medical purposes. Those who oppose or support either side offer convincing opinions and ideas that stakeholders should take into consideration. Within the past two decades, different American states have been keen to allow this drug for both medical and recreational use, such as Colorado and Washington. Despite the divergent views and controversies many stakeholders present, the move to legalize recreational marijuana will ensure that consumers are protected under established federal policies, reduce the level of insecurity in the United States streets and free up the criminal justice system, and present new economic opportunities. This argumentative paper offers powerful reasons that explain why the federal government should legalize and regulate recreational marijuana.
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The Controlled Substance Act of 1970 is a federal law that dictates how American citizens acquire and use various substances. Under this policy, marijuana is outlined as a Schedule I drug since the country’s Congress resolved that it had increased chances of being abused (Todd, 2018). For several decades, it has remained illegal to produce, possess, prescribe, or sell marijuana. However, some of the completed research studies have supported the medical significance of this substance. Different states have pursued additional policies that continue to dictate the way people use various illicit substances. Bowling and Glantz (2019) indicate that majority of the states have enacted several laws that legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes only.
More states have been allowing the possession and transportation of small quantities of marijuana. Since some regions are yet to adopt such guidelines, the American government has been forced to incur numerous expenses while trying to identify drug cartels that market this substance. The country’s criminal justice system has been forced to handle many cases associated with the possession or use of marijuana. Although these measures have managed to deliver positive results, O’Connor and Lietzan (2019) reveal that over 128 million Americans have used or tried this drug at some point in their lives. In 2017, it was reported that public support for this substance had increased to over 60 percent (Keyhani et al., 2018). This background sets the stage for more informed conversations regarding the future of marijuana in the United States.
Legalizing and Regulating Recreational Marijuana
The use of marijuana without any medical recommendation or justification is common in the United States. This kind of practice explains why it is called recreational marijuana (Bowling & Glantz, 2019). The first reason why there is a need for the federal government to allow this kind of use and implement evidence-based regulatory mechanisms is to guarantee consumer safety. When this substance remains illicit, chances are high that people will be smoking it without knowing its contents, production procedures, or sources (Keyhani et al., 2018). The move to make it legal will guide the government to introduce powerful guidelines for engaging in laboratory analyses and testing. This means that more people will be aware of the present compounds and outlined health warnings. The enforcement will eventually maximize the safety of the user and hold every dealer responsible.
The second reason revolves around the level of insecurity attributed to the current illegal marijuana trade. Many cartels operate in the illicit substance sector since it generates untaxed revenues from different sources. When marijuana remains illegal, more street problems will continue to be recorded since many people want to purchase and use it. This happens to be the case although the police and other relevant agencies have managed to implement powerful strategies to dismantle any form of the illicit drug trade. When a new change is considered, the level of insecurity will reduce significantly since more customers and dealers will be empowered to do their businesses successfully. The approach will become a new opportunity for the American criminal justice system to pursue its goals diligently (O’Connor & Lietzan, 2019). The number of cases revolving around this issue of the illicit drug trade will reduce. Consequently, cases of injustice will no longer affect the experiences of more people. The available resources in the wide criminal justice system will be utilized to deliver positive results in other areas.
The third reason for legalizing recreational marijuana is that of economic development. When this decision is made, more underprivileged people will find new job opportunities in farms, processing companies, and marketing firms that will emerge. Since their businesses will be legal, the level of economic growth will increase within a short period. The government will benefit by acquiring additional revenues from the introduced taxation system. The acquired financial resources can then be utilized to support other areas of the economy, such as medicine, social development, and insecurity (Todd, 2018). The existing black markets, cartels, and street gangs will have reduced bargaining powers and eventually make it possible for more citizens to achieve their potential.
Although the legalization of medical marijuana is a decision that can deliver positive results, there are specific issues that stakeholders should take seriously. Firstly, the move will ensure that more young people record-high levels of dependency (Saloner, McGinty, & Barry, 2015). Such citizens will become disoriented or troubled due to the addictive nature of marijuana. The government will be forced to establish additional recovery centers and incur more expenses to meet the health needs of this population. Victims of marijuana dependency will have higher chances of using other substances and eventually becoming unproductive community members.
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Secondly, the legalization of this substance for recreational use can result in increased federal costs that can strain the taxpayer. Over the years, marijuana has been identified as a leading cause of road accidents, homicides, and street crimes. These malpractices result in injuries and deaths in different societies. The healthcare sector is forced to meet the needs of all victims using taxpayer’s money and resources (Keyhani et al., 2018). If marijuana use is legalized, these cases will increase and eventually result in numerous expenses for the government.
Thirdly, the continued use of this illicit substance will maximize the risk of developing various mental illnesses, including depression and schizophrenia. According to O’Connor and Lietzan (2019), this drug is capable of affecting the density, volume, and even shape of specific areas of the human brain. This affected person might become troubled and be unable to engage in productive activities. The youth will be affected the most since they amount to the greatest percentage of illegal users today.
The above opinions regarding the decision not to legalize recreational marijuana are meaningful and capable of influencing this debate. However, the role of government is to focus on the wishes of its citizens and allow them to pursue their democratic rights. Many people believe that marijuana should be an illegal drug that is appropriate for recreational purposes (Bowling & Glantz, 2019). The most important thing is for the federal government to introduce superior policies and measures to control the production and marketing of this drug. This initiative will meet the demands of the greatest number of citizens and deliver additional revenues.
While it is associated with various challenges and emerging medical problems, it would be appropriate for consumers to be educated and guided about its dangers. This kind of approach will empower them to make informed decisions before purchasing and using marijuana. The idea of continuous research and development (R&D) will become a priority to identify new ways for protecting consumers and ensuring that the government gets enough revenues (Todd, 2018). The result is that the criminal justice system will be in a position to address other key issues affecting different citizens. Similarly, more people will be in a position to get new job opportunities and eventually realize their potential.
The above discussion has revealed that the issue of recreational marijuana is not something new. Over the years, different stakeholders have presented their views and opinions regarding its legalization. This argumentative paper has managed to explain why the decision to allow the use of recreational marijuana will protect more citizens from acquiring low-quality substances, reduce the level of insecurity in the streets, free up the criminal justice system, and present additional economic opportunities. Stakeholders should support such a move and eventually address the major issues affecting different sectors of this economy.
Bowling, C. M., & Glantz, S. A. (2019). Conflict of interest provisions in state laws governing medical and adult use cannabis. American Journal of Public Health: Law & Ethics, 109(3), 423-426. Web.
Keyhani, S., Steigerwald, S., Ishida, J., Vali, M., Cerdá, M., Hasin, D., … Cohen, B. E. (2018). Risks and benefits of marijuana use: A national survey of U.S. adults. Annals of Internal Medicine, 169(5), 282-290. Web.
O’Connor, S. M., & Lietzan, E. (2019). The surprising reach of FDA regulation of cannabis, even after descheduling. American University Law Review, 68, 823-925.
Saloner, B., McGinty, E. E., & Barry, C. L. (2015). Policy strategies to reduce youth recreational marijuana use. Pediatrics Perspectives, 135(6), 955-957. Web.
Todd, T. (2018). The benefits of marijuana legalization and regulation. Berkeley Journal of Criminal Law, 23(1), 99-119.