On earth, there are different drugs that perform different functions. These drugs fall into diverse classes. There are drugs that people use to treat diseases while, there are still other drugs used by people to induce pleasure in the body. If an individual uses the later drugs in large amounts, addiction occurs.
Addiction has numerous disadvantages in that; an addicted person can protest rally ahead and do criminal activities due to drug influence. One of these drugs is Marijuana extracted from the leaves of a plant known as cannabis. People who normally take this kind of drug smoke these leaves or sometimes eat them while raw. However, since Marijuana is an intoxicant drug with many side effects especially to human health, health ministries around the world prohibit its use. Marijuana is therefore an illicit drug-narcotic.
Nevertheless, sometimes cannabis leaves act as pain relievers. In fact, medical experiments and research indicate that, marijuana minimizes body pains, balances intraocular strains and discourages muscle cramps. The issue of criminalizing or decriminalizing marijuana has since become a public debate.
Enacted in American state laws is a law that permits the use of marijuana for medical purposes. The legislature has become a dysfunctional organ in enacting a just law to curtail over-criminalization resulting from marijuana use. The paper will examine decriminalization of marijuana as the best way to deal with criminal activities resulting from marijuana abuse. Nevertheless, marijuana can act as a curative drug. (Darryl, Para. 1-3).
Controversies in Decriminalization of Marijuana
Considering these benefits and the negative effects of marijuana, the repercussions seem to outweigh these benefits. This is because; disproportionate abuses of marijuana lead to complex health complications that sometimes cause death or consume a lot of money.
This made many countries all over the world to seek a common solution over marijuana cultivation, possession and transportation. For example, in United States of America, eleven states passed a common law decriminalizing marijuana. The decriminalization of marijuana resulted due to public outcry over the effects of marijuana.
Nevertheless, even with the creation of laws curbing marijuana abuse, the effects of marijuana on people’s health remain tall. On the other hand, making marijuana illegal did not change anything. Instead, its criminalization led to other pathetic conditions including side effects.
According to research done by drug and antinarcotics agencies, drug offenders felt stigmatization from community members. Many of them could not secure even a job to cater for their lives and as a result, they would involve in criminal activities as revenge to the community and state.
Moreover, drug offenders lack confidence in the judicial system. This is because; the capital punishment resulting from their judicial sentencing participates in changing their attitude. With these warring themes, a debate arose as to whether marijuana should be decriminalized or not. There are those who fully supported criminalization of marijuana while some campaigned for its decriminalization. (Gieringer, pp.12-14).
On the other hand, those campaigning for marijuana decriminalization did so citing its disadvantages. Among the disadvantages include the saving of money and time for other businesses, promotion of the judicial justice as the centre for justice and not punishment by allowing drug offenders to pay fine instead of capital punishment, and finally, decriminalization of marijuana will provide offenders with a chance to search for opportunities without fear of past criminal records.
For example, in 2003, Massachusetts reformed marijuana laws, which recognized possession of marijuana as a crime and instead called it a civil delinquency. Any offender found in possession of marijuana, subsequently had to pay a fine of US$ 100. Though many legislators and societal members thought it would ignite marijuana possession, it actually reduced cases arising from marijuana possession. For a period now, decriminalization of marijuana has been a hot debate topic all over the world. (Home Office Drug Policy, Para 1-9).
Supreme Court as the best Branch of Government to Tackle Decriminalization of Marijuana
The Supreme Court is the best government branch to deal with decriminalization of marijuana. This is because; in some states, there can be a high number of people possessing marijuana. In addition to this, medics use marijuana for medicinal purposes. It is therefore important to enact laws that favor both sides but under one vital condition. Criminalization of marijuana depends heavily on the amount one posses. If an individual possess large ounces of marijuana, the state should regard this as a criminal offense.
For example, in 1972, the then President Nixon formed the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse to come out with a solution to those people who will be found possessing marijuana. Interestingly, the commission came up with a recommendation, which decriminalized possession of large amounts of marijuana. (Khoo, Para. 1-7).
For example, decriminalization of marijuana being a contentious issue, led to some people going to court to change the enacted law, which criminalized marijuana possession. Previously, Congress had enacted into law Schedule I of Drug Abuse Act, allowing only doctors to use marijuana for treating complex ailments.
The state law allows doctors to prescribe marijuana and use it if certain medical conditions require so. Nevertheless, the judicial system continued to arrest doctors and persons using marijuana basing their claim in Oakland rulings. Up to this far, both state and judiciary had begun antagonizing wars.
It was then the role of the Supreme Court to breach the two sides and ensure proper legislation accepted by all Americans and common in all government branches. Moreover, any federal government action must comply with the American justice system. This is the reason as to why punitive measures does exist only to those possess marijuana in large amounts. (Woo, Para. 1-14).
The Role of Media, Lobbyist, and Special Interests Play in Convincing the American Public to Support Decriminalization of Marijuana
Convincing the entire American society to support marijuana decriminalization is a matter not so light. However, with lobbyists, the media and special interest groups, decriminalization of marijuana is something achievable. For example, many media companies continue to publish articles on the dangers of using marijuana without looking on its positive impact in human health. Newspapers reckon marijuana dangers with confusion and abusers behaving like buffoons on stage.
The British independent newspaper has campaigned for years the decriminalization of marijuana, even when being aware that, smoking or eating marijuana causes psychosis. Thus, media propaganda can determine people’s perceptions of marijuana. Screenplays from sensational actors continue to dominate media advertisements praising or ridiculing the decriminalization of marijuana. (Morgan, Para. 2-23).
On the other hand, American lobbyists condemn business personalities of being the biggest stakeholders in trading marijuana. These wealthy businesspersons through their unscrupulous and unethical mean organize marijuana trafficking all over the world. The truth of the matter is that, marijuana generates more revenue than any other business commodities.
For example, the American public condemned CNBC for doing marijuana promotions under television broadcasts aimed at making more sales. Clearly, this is pure decriminalization of marijuana because; the benefits gained by these media companies resemble those gained by individual abusers. Nevertheless, the media has heavily failed to choose between merchandising marijuana benefits and disseminating the public on the real dangers that marijuana pose to their health. (Kincaid, Para. 1-13).
States that have made Marijuana Legal
In United States of America, federal laws criminalize marijuana. However, some states have gone further field to decriminalize its use. Only non-medical marijuana falls in this class. In order to decriminalize marijuana effectively, these states conduct drug education, fine offenders less civil charges, have less punitive measures to drug offenders and in others, possession of marijuana is not an overriding criminal offense.
For example, Alaska State removed all fines and reduced long jail terms for an offender possessing less than a kilogram of marijuana wile in Arkansas, the state does not arrest offenders but only do counseling, or fine an individual. Sometimes the penalty accompanies some genus of community servicing.
California is also one of those states that have decriminalized marijuana. An offender possessing less than one ounce of marijuana meets a fine of $100. On the other hand, stricter punitive measures fall on offenders who have large amounts of marijuana or posse it under learning environments.
In addition to this, the state enacted a bill targeting more taxation from cannabis farmers and salespersons. Interestingly, more revenue generated at the same time prison spending went down. Like in California, Hawaii and Colorado states have similar marijuana decriminalization measures. (Suzanne, Para. 1-13).
In Kansas and Illinois, marijuana is not a highly contentious issue. However, possession of large amounts of marijuana can lead to a fine but not other punishments like imprisonment. On the other hand, the situation is not the same for offenders from Massachusetts. Since decriminalization of marijuana had become one of the hottest debates, voters decided to vote whether to decriminalize it or not.
A big percentage of voters chose to decriminalize marijuana but only under the same conditions like those of California. Other states, which have so far decriminalized marijuana, include Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio and Washington. (Matt, Para. 1-13).
The pros of making Marijuana legal
Some people argue that decriminalization of marijuana should only happen where a patient is in dire need of marijuana as a curative drug. For example, in United States of America, Presidential advisor Hodding did argue and advocate for decriminalization of marijuana. His arguments centered on the war on drugs where offenders and state law enforcing agencies held a tug of war so humiliating.
According to Hodding Carter II, the decriminalization of marijuana is a big step towards socialization. Furthermore, since marijuana is one of the best revenue-generating products, its legalization create corruption between offenders and law enforcers. In addition to this, medics do argue that marijuana is less addictive than other intoxicating drugs like cocaine and bhang.
Besides, medics use marijuana for medicinal purposes like treating asthma, chronic pains and rouse an appetite. (Roth, Para.1-3). Therefore, if marijuana becomes decriminalized, there is a greater possibility of crimes reducing drastically. Moreover, drug trafficking will be a forgotten case since every person will now be in a position to possess at least a universally accepted amount of marijuana.
Another advantage of decriminalizing marijuana is that, the federal spending in prisons and overcrowding will reduce while in judicial courts, the backlog of cases will be minimal and police officers will find easy time to deal with other crimes. Consequently, police briberies will also be minimal and on the other hand, drug trafficking will quell. (Amanda, Para. 1-13).
The Cons of Making Marijuana Legal
Arresting marijuana offenders and taking them to court is an exercise in futility. Many of these marijuana offenders are addicts who cannot do without marijuana. The federal state ends up using so much money generated from taxing citizens only to feed marijuana offenders languishing in jail.
In American courts, cases are many leading to swamping and slow justice delivery. (Nadelmann, Para. 1-11).Indeed, marijuana affects the general health of its abusers. Nevertheless, the same marijuana can also treat diseases like chronic cancer, fibromyaglia and help in maintaining weights of AIDS patients. (Ermer, para.1).
The History of Marijuana
Indians first used marijuana or cannabis for psychoactive purposes. In some occasions, the Assyrian used it for religious purposes. This was around third B.C. in fact, historical writers claim that, marijuana was also used by the Jews and Christians to perform their religious functions.
Nevertheless, it is archeologists though their research who discovered the pharmacological importance of marijuana. Later on, many countries classified marijuana as an intoxicant. (Walton, p.6). For example, in 1937, United States Congress passed Marijuana Tax Act criminalizing the possession, cultivation and transportation of marijuana.
Consequently, hot debates assumed center stages and on the other hand, academic and continued to develop theories explaining arguing for or against the criminalization of marijuana. Different lobbyists and journalists cited the chemical nature and high revenue generated from marijuana sales as the forces behind its criminalization. Pharmaceutical companies seeing the danger ahead started a war to illegalize marijuana so that they do not loose market for their manufactured drugs.
On the other hand, since marijuana generated excess revenue, many Americans criticized and termed it an unscrupulous social and economic mean. Nevertheless, the criminalization of marijuana was due to racial discrimination. This is because; white Americans believed that immigrants from Africa and Mexico had a culture of abusing drugs and especially marijuana. (Hong-En, pp. 414-422).
The Age Group Prone to Marijuana Usage
People at youthful stages are highly prone to use marijuana. Astonishingly, young American children at eighth to twelfth do use marijuana according to the study carries out by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. For youths aged 18 years and older, the number marijuana users were twice that of young Americans under 12 years of age. (Green, Ritter, pp. 41-47).
Under this survey report, 55 percent of interviewed marijuana users admitted to have been under marijuana influence even when they were twelve years old. In addition to this, sex also seems to matter so much. The number of females above 18 years old, using marijuana is half that of male counterparts.
Youths at senior high school level, are the most affected by marijuana use. Interestingly, the number of marijuana users for persons aged between 13 and 17 years continue to increase alarmingly. (Drew, Para. 1-18). The graphs below represent the number of persons aged 18 years and over using marijuana.
(National Survey on Drug Use and Health Report, p.1)
The Effects of Long-term Usage
Many people associate marijuana with serious health problems. For example, smoking marijuana can lead to health problems like cancer and chest pains. Marijuana addicts are twice likely to have lung cancer than any other drug addicts. (Franjo, pp. 135-149). Nevertheless, small amounts of marijuana can reduce chances of catching neck and sometimes, treating breast cancer. Excessive use of marijuana can lead to depression, psychosis-schizophrenia and nervousness.
Though in the past, medics have associated marijuana to be the basis of stroke, recent surveys indicate dismiss this claim. Under high dosage of marijuana use, is when there is likelihood that it will it cause mental problems. However, there is some research going on to prove whether marijuana can cause heart diseases and neurological disorders. (Gonzalez, pp. 349-360).
The Effects on Jails due to Marijuana Arrest
Indeed, if police continually arrest marijuana users,there will be overcrowding in jails. These people are addicts and containing them in jail will be an added task to prison warders. Furthermore, since these people are addicts, they will always try every mean possible to have marijuana and use it while still in jail. Depressed marijuana users can even undergo stress and eventually die in jail.
In conclusion, marijuana has disadvantages and advantages. To some extent it can help in treating some diseases while, excessive us of marijuana will lead to addiction. This addiction goes hand in hand with depressions, anxiety and nervousness. Parents should therefore watch their siblings carefully rest they engage in marijuana use. Overall, United States Congress should enact legislations leading to decriminalization of marijuana.
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