Argumentative Essay On Why Marijuana Should Be Legal
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The research question driving the argument of this paper asks, “Should marijuana or cannabis be legalized for medicinal purposes?” The reason why this fundamental research inquiry is important is because the outcome of pertaining laws will affect all members of society. A brief background of informational details on the topic reviews the attitudes and attempts to bring the legalization of marijuana to the open conversation, a decade ago versus today in 2015. While it seems simple enough and true that medical marijuana may be applied to situations in which people’s pain is alleviated, especially in circumstances wherein the admonition is that a person should die with dignity. However, other issues involve legislation arguments over whether marijuana might be permitted for purely recreational use, and public policy regarding persons’ usage under medical prescriptions while in the workplace. This evaluation looks at three main points: (a) Many people may benefit from the use of marijuana, (b) Not enough medical studies have been done to weigh the benefit of marijuana, and (c) Its legalization would decrease crime rates.
Approximately one decade ago, the ethics and legality of marijuana usage – particularly in terms of decriminalization – were being hotly debated. For example, in 2000 Peter Clark (2000) in the Journal of Public Health Policy writes “The federal government’s basis for threatening prosecution is that marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug under the 1970 Uniform Controlled Substance Act” thereby deeming possession of the substance as illegal, and only allowed for usage in sanctioned research purposes (p. 40). Of course times have changed. These words were written almost fifty years ago. Today we live in a much more sophisticated age mechanized by the digitalization of information globally, massive travel to and from places all over the world, and wherein the State of Colorado has legalized marijuana – not only for the purposes of medicinal usage – but for the purposes of recreational utilization as well. While it is true that the times have past when users felt the need to speak in code, referring to marijuana as ‘Mary Jane’ the conversation is peaking about the medical benefits and the law.
Tuning into any radio station or television programming likely reveal much discussion on the topic of medical marijuana and the laws. The factor remains that marijuana has been used in conjunction with medical treatment. Both AIDS patients and cancer patients have experienced positive results and alleviation from their negative symptoms associated with the diseases. For example, one publication called ‘Cancer and Medical Cannabis’ appearing in a publication by ‘Americans for Safe Access – Advancing Legal Medical Marijuana Therapeutics and Research’ names a plethora of great benefits that medical cannabis provide. Many medical professionals consider marijuana as proof positive that marijuana is medicine. A 2013 New England poll conducted by the premier ‘New England Journal of Medicine’ stated that “three out of four clinicians would recommend the use of medical cannabis for a hypothetical cancer patient” (“Americans for Safe Access”). Furthermore, such usage reduces nausea and vomiting.
According to some opinions, those under the auspices of chemotherapy or who have trouble with nausea in terms of keeping their food down, can benefit from marijuana usage as a medical therapy. There is still much to learn about the effects and scientifically medical relevant behavior of marijuana as a medicine, but some research discovered in pharmacology has shown that the cannabinoids in marijuana attach to the natural ones in the human body. This supports the argument for medical marijuana as a natural alterative to harsh chemotherapy drugs that make patients even sicker, although some pharma-chemical treatments have cured cancer patients. In terms of pharmacology, the suggestion from research indicates that “they play a role in inflammation, insulin sensitivity, and fat and energy metabolism, as well as chronic neurologic and immune conditions” (“Americans for Safe Access”). In other words, its usage does something to help food and energy metabolism and does something that affects long-term pain issues in the human body.
While the topic discussed herein acknowledges the need for more scientific and medical research to be conducted on the healing, and beneficial properties of marijuana. Doctors’ attitudes from the professional medical community foster heavy weight in the situation. In other words, nursing and physician community opinions matter. A Canadian point of view in a news article published in the Journal of Public Health Policy, by Laura Eggertson (2013) discuss how legal regulations and considerations leaning towards shifting the responsibilities to doctors. In Canada, before, the federal government had sanctioned a list of medical conditions that would qualify for medical marijuana treatments – the doctor would fill out a form, then forward the application through the appropriate approval channels. But the new proposed regulations in Canada, regarding medical marijuana uses and legality issues, states that under the “Marihuana for Medical Purposes Regulations” nurses and doctors will decide who can get the prescriptions. Eggertson (2013) reports that Canadian officials worry over whether marijuana should be treated like all narcotics, although most would agree that marijuana is not a narcotic. Eggertson (2013) “But the physician groups say marijuana is not like the other drugs doctors prescribe because it has not been examined in clinical trials and there are no data on dosing or adverse effects available” (p. 185). Employment policy has others concerned.
The problem of medical marijuana outside the issues of whether or not it can help sooth pain and nausea associated with AIDS, cancer, or other diseases pertains to the issue of those persons using it as being acceptable in the workplace. In terms of policy, many businesses and workplaces render the usage of marijuana or workers under its influence as illegal under the authority of business policy and labor laws. For example, in one recent journal article publication Jeffrey Mello argues that conflicts regarding the issue of medical marijuana patients using within the workplace has become a reality, due to employment regulations and laws about federally-indicted Controlled Substances Act prohibitions. In other words, there is a contradictions. On the one hand, employers are required to abide by the regulatory standards of the Drug-Free Workplace Act, but the dilemma could get employers or employees in trouble. However, does it not seem hypocritical that multitudes of Americans are under the ‘influence’ of myriad dangerous chemical drugs that happened to be prescribed by psychiatrists (in the form of psychotropic drugs) have been known to cause people to commit murder and suicide? How is it logical to allow those circumstances of people in the workplace, who could potentially wig-out and cause lethal harm to others? See the problem? It does not make sense.
The article continues to highlight this correlated problem, suggesting that a re-evaluation of the issue in terms of the employee and workplace situation might ensue. Mello (2013) states “it is time to examine the interface between federal and state laws as well as the public policy issues surrounding the lack of rights which medical marijuana patients have in their workplaces” (p. 659). Also the issues drives home the point that all States are not created equal, in terms of criminalized statutes of marijuana usage – medical or otherwise. One State in the Deep South for example, Georgia, has lately fueled the pros and cons of the debate. As late as January, 2015 a petition is circulating around Georgia to legalize marijuana. According to one report, activism to this end is asking lawmakers to understand that “the citizens of Georgia want to end prohibition” (“Georgia Care”). The same article source comments on a law professor who specializes in “forensic medicine” acknowledges the complications of legalized sanctions, many as prior noted that conflicts exist. Nevertheless, James Bell of the Georgia C.A.R.E. project says “The push to reform marijuana laws is spreading throughout America,” and he applauds “the efforts of State Rep. Allen Peake and State Sen. Curt Thompson for filing marijuana legislation that has sparked a much-needed discussion on how best Georgia should deal with marijuana” (“Georgia Care,” 2015). An ethics forum discussion propels the conversation further.
A medical doctor and representative of the University of Seattle community in Olympia, Washington, Greg T. Carter, has participated in a discussion regarding the argument for medical marijuana usage as a treatment for chronic pain. In the face of a possible lack of medical research on marijuana, in continuing to explore its effects on the human body, the ethic forum published various ideas on the situation. In speaking about people who have pain, Carter (2013) wisely informs that “This patient has legitimate pain and still deserves treatment despite being at high risk for substance abuse” (p. 800). The doctor refers to a certain 30-year-old patient who admittedly has a problem with a multiplicity of drug abuse, his other medical problems have established a pattern of severe pain. Carter (2013) in this situation, does not excuse drug abuse, but advocates that a person should be treated humanely and although controlled substances are recognized under laws, people should have physician-authorized pain relief from medical marijuana. The physician Carter (2013) goes on to mention that the “opioids and cannabinoids” may trigger a dependency for illicit drugs (other than marijuana) but that “cannabis has a more effective “harm reduction” and “acceptable risk-benefit ratio” (p. 800). What does this tell you? Coming from a physician, the case is much more solid in support of why marijuana should be legal.
The patient mentioned above could be escalating in habits of crime, but instead he sought medical help for his problem. Once a person’s health problems are alleviated, they have other avenues in leading useful, productive lives, instead of adding to crime statistics. At this point it is important to observe that for many years medicinal marijuana did not have any governmental support or advocates, so people had to grow it on their own or purchase it illegally. However, another observation comes from rumors among people that once it is legal the prices will soar to ridiculous prices, with government taking advantage of the situation to see the opportunity as simply a way to jack more money out of people. So what does Congress have to say on the matter lately?
In the 113th Congressional meeting in February of 2013, the House introduced a Bill that would end federalized prohibition for marijuana. The H.R. 499 Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013 - Directs the Attorney General to issue a final order that removes marijuana in any form from all schedules of controlled substances under the Controlled Substances Act” (“Congress,” 2013). In other words, at the federal level the Bill would remove marijuana as a drug listed under any Schedules (levels) as a so-called controlled substances, and procedures to eliminate it in the category of dangerous, or ‘targeted’ to campaign youth in persuasion to not use it. Obviously, this alone would cut down on crimes that make it illegal to ingest, grow, or sell marijuana. Many critics of the government, who are also advocates for medical or recreational use of marijuana, harbor intense suspicions that the government would only find ways to impose harsh, and ridiculously expensive, fees and taxes because they are greedy and only want to suppress reasonable liberties for Americans. In which case, most people would simply grow the plant for themselves. This may be the great fear, or reason why the Feds have opted to criminalize marijuana, medical or otherwise, to felonious fictionalized categories of being so dangerous.
In conclusion, while it may be true that much more medical research on the benefits and effects of marijuana as a medicinally helpful natural substance is needed, much evidence shows that nature’s cannabis plant is quite helpful to quell nausea, vomiting, and pain in human beings. Legalization would certainly solve the problem of marijuana use, possession, sale, and distribution as a crime, and therefore cut down on people using it and feeling afraid if they get caught for the non-violent offense of having it. Pharmacology experts Borgett et al. (2013) state “Studies of medical cannabis show significant improvement in various types of pain and muscle spasticity. Reported adverse effects are typically not serious” (p. 195). In other words, ingesting marijuana will not kill you. Alcohol, which is legal, kills millions of people in car accidents via drunk driving and outbursts of violent behavior influences. The positive effects and logical reasons for why marijuana should be legal far outweigh any proposed negatives. Also, common sense tells you that legalization of medical marijuana, across the board if coupled with legally sanctioned recreational use, would stop the crimes of murder and other violent acts associated with the sale/transport of it across borders. America perfectly is capable of growing the crop purely, safely, and legally.
Americans for Safe Access – Advancing Legal Medical Marijuana Therapeutics and Research
(2014). A note from Americans for safe access [Data file]. Retrieved from
This article is full of useful medical references and advocates reasonable
comparisons of physicians’ statements, scientific research, testimonials of
patients, and the emergence of scientific consensus that thwarts misinformation.
Borgett, L.M., Franson, K.L., Nussbaum, A.M., & Wang, G.S. (2013). The pharmacologic and clinical effects of medical cannabis. [Abstract]. Pharmacotherapy, 33(2), 195-209. doi:10.1002/phar.1187
in marijuana, or cannabis, reviewing patient characteristics in its application.
Carter, G.T. (2013). The argument for medical marijuana for the treatment of chronic pain.
Pain Medicine (Malden, Mass.), 14(6), 800. doi:10.1111/pme.12137_2
This ethics forum is led by physician Greg Carter, who advocates helping
patients in need of pain therapy.
Clark, P. (2000). The ethics of medical marijuana: Government restrictions vs. medical
necessity. Journal of Public Health Policy, 21(2), 40-60.
This medical peer-reviewed journal article discusses a decades-old
reaction to medical marijuana issues. It explains how old ways of treating disease with prescription medications may have worked in the past. Some diseases that drugs are not working for should allow for an alternative when those drugs are not an option. This article does a very good job explaining what the restrictions are and what some of the road blocks in place to try to stop legalization. This article also talks about what they could do to get the drug legalized and the states where it has already been done. Primarily it was used in this investigation as a historical document.
Congress. (2013). H.R. – Ending Federal Marijuana Prohibition Act of 2013 [Data file].
Retrieved from https://www.congress.gov/bill/113th-congress/house-bill/499
An overview of the Congressional Bill in 2013 that called to stop federal
prosecution of marijuana as a dangerous drug or substance.
Eggertson, L. (2013). New medical marijuana regulations shift onus to doctors to prescribe. CMAJ: Canadian Medical Association Journal = Journal De L'association Medicale Canadienne, 185(12), E553-E554. doi:10.1503/cmaj.109-4528
Valuable Canadian journal article discusses Canada’s ideas on regulations
in allowing medical personnel to make decisions versus legal sanctions and
Georgia Care. (2015). Petition to legalize marijuana in Georgia USA [Data file]. Retrieved from
Group of articles, and a petition discussing public attitudes, legislative officials’ attitudes towards the legalization of medical marijuana/cannabis.
Mello, J.I. (2013). Employment and public policy issues surrounding medical marijuana in the
workplace. Journal of Ethics, 117(3), 659-666. doi:10.1007/s10551-012-1551-8
Extremely excellent journal article discussing the problems and conflicts
in labor law and policy, and its effects on employees under medical marijuana
Pacula, R. L., Kilmer, B., Wagenaar, A.C., Chaloupka, F.J., & Caulkins, J.P. (2014). Developing public health regulations for marijuana: Lessons from alcohol and tobacco. American Journal of Public Health, 104(6), 1021-1028.
This article engages a discussion about regulations being established for
marijuana, in terms of health policy and considerations. This is reasonable.
Please remember that this paper is open-access and other students can use it too.
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