Legal use of marijuana
Marijuana (cannabis) has varied medicinal uses, and many States in the Americas have allowed the possession and use of small quantities of marijuana for medicinal purposes only. This is consistent with the fact that “Eleven states in the United States passed laws allowing cannabis possession and consumption for medical purposes;
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However, the Supreme Court of the United States in Gonzales v. Raich 545 U.S. 1 (2005) ruled that the listing of cannabis as a Schedule I controlled substance was constitutional, and that possession for any reason other than approved medical research was therefore illegal under federal law.“ (Encyclopedia: Marijuana).
In this case the defendant argued that cannabalis was a life-saver for her and it was the principal reason for her very existence, without which she would have been dead long back.
“Angel Raich claimed she used marijuana to keep herself alive. She and her doctor claimed to have tried dozens of prescription medicines for her numerous medical conditions,” but none worked. The need included alleviating pain and spasm arising due to complications caused by a car accident 10 years ago, “Her doctor declared under oath that Raich’s life was at stake if she could not continue to use marijuana.“
(Encyclopedia: Gonzales v. Raich). Thus the argument could be in terms of the fact that marijuana has therapeutic properties that could be used sparingly for the treatment of certain conditions, e.g., counter the after effects of chemotherapy, and often endorsed by physicians to reduce the painful impacts of major illnesses.
However, the main aspects could be in terms of the fact that it need to be in small quantities, (one ounce, or so), and used only for medicinal purposes and not for commercial use.
Thus the restrictive medicinal or therapeutic use of marijuana may be legalized.
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Why crack/cocaine should remain illegal?
Coming to the question of crack/cocaine, it is seen that it is illegal because “it is a Schedule II substance under the Controlled Substances Act. Schedule II drugs,
which include PCP and methamphetamine, have a high potential for abuse.“ (Is Crack cocaine Illegal, 2).
Abuse of these drugs could accelerate mental and physical dependence on this drug; a stage may be reached when the drug abuser may not be able to do without the drug, and may even rob, maim, or kill to gain access to the drug.
The main detriments would be in terms of:
- Health risks –physical, mental and psychotic, include suicidal tendencies.
- Socio-economic hazards – greater incidence of crimes, violence and drug related offences.
- Loss of government revenues and economic losses to state
- Social disorganization and family disintegration
- Drug abuse leads to unemployment, loss of incomes, fall in standards of living and economic degradation.
Major fall outs of use of drugs like crack/heroin
Drugs and anti-social activities are closely related. When addicts have no money for buying drugs they may steal, or kill to gain it. In a group, they may ransack a shop or attack bystanders for money. Thus the law and order issues created by use of drugs go beyond just personal use or habitual abuse and encompass a wider sphere of society.
Use of powerful drugs smoking crack or ingesting heroin is habit forming and contributes significantly to major substance abuse cases that could not only be specifically fatal to abusers, but also harmful for the neighborhoods.
By far the most important hazard in terms of drug abuse would be the health hazards, including drug induced suicides, homicides and sexual promiscuities.
A large portion of drug users comprise young and easily influenced youths, and once they are trapped in the drug vice, it is indeed difficult to come out of it. The health detriments would be in weight loss, problems in concentration and appetite for food, disinterest in studies, longing to be lonely and becoming high strung and stressed, besides violent mood swings.
It is also believed that drugs could cause severe conditions like manic depression, memory losses and suicidal tendencies and sound the prognosis of grave psychiatric disorder manifestations.
“Doctors often treat alcohol or drug addiction first if they believe either is causing the depression. In many instances, simultaneous treatment for addiction and depression is warranted.” (What You Should Know About Medications: Alcohol or Drugs).
Although there are stringent laws banning entry of contraband drugs, like crack, cocaine and other pleasure inducing drugs, with strong punishment (in certain countries there is a death penalty for drug smuggling) the operatives in most cases are able to carry out their nefarious tasks aided by foreign and local operators and agencies.
Cocaine could be a major health hazard among abusers, and could contribute to a host of adverse physical, psychological and psychosomatic conditions, sometimes life threatening and fatal to users and others.
To a very large extent the facts and circumstances surrounding cases would justify the need to dispense justice in individualized cases.
However, restrictive use of marijuana being legal for medicinal purposes and indiscriminate and hedonistic use of crack or cocaine needs to be differentiated, not only from its commercial viewpoint but also from a legal perspective.
Laws need to be robust and mete immediate justice to drug offenders, since Court cases could be lengthy and difficult to implement; besides young people may not find the court decisions daunting enough for them to dispel their well fortified drug habits.
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Encyclopedia: Gonzales v. Raich. Nation master.com. 2005.
Encyclopedia: Marijuana. Nation Master.com.
Is Crack cocaine Illegal. Crack Cocaine Fast Facts.
What You Should Know About Medications: Alcohol or Drugs. AARP.org. 2008.