The Issue about Legalizing Marijuana
Medical marijuana is the use of cannabis with the recommendation of a physician for therapeutic purposes. Many people have abused marijuana for years. We have also heard about people from the medieval period that have used marijuana as a drug. There have been disputes surrounding the use of marijuana as a drug. The United States government has been reluctant to accept that marijuana can be used as a drug and has not fully legalized its use. Some states such as Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, and Nevada among others have allowed cannabis to be used if it is being consumed for medical purposes. In California, medical marijuana generated 2 billion dollars in revenue. In the United States of America, cannabis is classified as a scheduled 1 drug. This is the highest and strictest classification in the same class with heroin, Lsd and Ecstacy. In 2005, the Supreme Court allowed the federal government to ban use of cannabis even if it is for medical use. Marijuana can easily be abused and is very difficult to supervise (Berent, Irwin et al. 37).
Research has also shown that marijuana is very important in helping with brain cancer. Brain cancer like all other cancers is painful. In the final stages, patients may go into coma and eventually die. Marijuana helps in bringing relief by helping the brain cancer cells feed on them, a process known as autophagy. Cannabinoids such as THC are found to have anticancer effects in mice and in people with brain tumour. The good part is, there are no toxic effects using marijuana for medical treatment. (Gerber 35).
Marijuana has also been used in treatment of people addicted to opiates such as morphine and heroin. This is great news as opium and heroin are dangerous drugs when abused. These drugs are mostly injected and can cause AIDS. They can also cause death due to overdose. These drugs can make its victims unproductive, therefore the use of marijuana in the rehabilitation of an addict is indeed a very positive news. This will provide alternative therapeutic treatment to the existing methods of treatment for addiction. It is also used to treat alcoholics with reported success.
One of the major criticisms of the use of cannabis for medical purpose is the opposition to smoking marijuana to consume it as medicine. The department of Food and Drug Administration in the United States of America issued a warning against this manner of marijuana intake by smoking, for medical use. (Levinson 87-91). The danger caused by smoking marijuana for medical reasons has been notably reduced due to use of the vaporizers and also through the drug being ingested in forms which are edible like cakes and sweet made with marijuana. In addition, where marijuana leaves are being used to make hemp oil which can be used in medical treatments without smoking marijuana.
A number of organizations have over time endorsed the use of marijuana for medical reasons and have asked authorities to improve and increase the use of marijuana. Some of these organizations include; Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and American Medical Association (Gerber 18).
There should be continued research on these as marijuana may provide alternative ways for medical treatment. With the rise of the prices of medicines, it is imperative for health experts to look for cost effective medication alternatives. If marijuana promises to be one good alternative method, it should be permitted for medical use. It is upon the government to ensure that the drugs are used for the purpose they are intended for and are well regulated. Fear of abuse and the need to safeguard the others from abuse. may punish the really sick and needy who require Marijuana as medicine.
Utilitarianism is an ethical theory that focuses on the actions that an individual undertakes to ensure that they make the best out of life by ensuring they achieve a state of maximum happiness. The theory states that moral actions should be determined and weighed based on determining the consequence. The theory has been referred by people that are happy.The rejection of medical marijuana, or the criminalization of the drug is blamed on the effect it has on those who use the drug.
Using utilitarianism theory on the legalization of marijuana, people are in constant need for happiness and thus they work every day to avoid pain. This is central to ethical well-being for many years. Ethical debates should be considered with regard to the positive aspects it has on people as well as communities, the debate should focus on the greatest good of the majority in the society and not just focus on few issues. Additionally, a conduct that has negative results in the society should be avoided at all costs. The medical use of marijuana can be controlled and produce benefits for all in the society.
Medical use of marijuana will not only be beneficial to patients globally, it will help in reducing the cost of treatment of the terminally ill patients, and dispelling the myth of marijuana. Under utilitarianism theory, as long as a conduct of an individual does not affect another person, then it is perhaps correct to go with the action.
Debates are also going on about the subject of obesity and the reasons why it is not taken so seriously. If marijuana is illegal, there should be strict laws against obesity too, since obesity is one of the major health problems in the United States and Europe.(Gennaro 144). Most cases of obesity are self-inflicted as people adopt unhealthy lifestyles that lead to poor health. This causes other illnesses such as diabetes and hypertension among others. Obesity causes individuals to be less productive. Obesity should be dealt with serious action. To compare, marijuana as medicine to improve the quality of lives of terminal patients or those acutely suffering, should be legalized.
The fight against growing, sale and consumption of marijuana is an expensive affair and a lot of resources is used by the government of the United States and other governments. These resources would be better utilized in the development of other essential services in the United States such as improvement of healthcare, education and other services. Many governments across the globe have lost the war against marijuana as it is one of the most widely used drugs. This is despite the drug being criminalized in most jurisdictions it is consumed. Public opinion has shifted and a lot of communities are requesting that the drug be legalized.
Marijuana is a drug, if well utilized, can benefit society. The medical use of marijuana must thus be seriously considered. There is a need for proper education on the effects of marijuana and how it can be used for the good of the community. Under the utilitarianism theory, the legalization of this drug is important as the drug has no effect on others and if well used can be beneficial to the society.
Berent, Irwin et al., Drug legalization : for and against. La Salle, Ill: Open Court, 2008.
Gennaro, Rocco. A dialogue on ethical issues of life and death. Lanham, MD: University Press of America, 2002.
Gerber, Rudolph. Legalizing marijuana : drug policy reform and prohibition politics. Westport, Conn: Praeger, 2004.
Levinson, David. Encyclopedia of crime and punishment. Thousand Oaks, Ca: Sage Publications, 2002.