The Pros and Cons on the Legalization of Marijuana for Medical Use
The Pros and Cons on the legalization of Marijuana for Medical use Thermon V. Ratliff Jr DeVry University Professor Snyder April 13, 2011 Thesis: The debate over the legalization of marijuana may not be decided in my lifetime, but the sub topic of legalizing marijuana for medical use should not be held back by political agendas, unethical laws, and a misinformed social conscience. By examining both the pros and cons on this subject, I hope to provide balanced information that will aid other in making an informed opinion about the legalization of marijuana for medical use.The following information was researched and compiled as a team project by Jan Roberts, Rusty Wheeler, Skylar Bennett, and myself. I personally think that our government along with federal agencies such as the DEA and the FDA impose on our rights as citizens when it comes to personal drug use. It seems to me that any natural growing substance that helps relieve symptoms for chronically ill people should not only be legal but endorsed by the government.
But both sides of this argument have very different views on what is right and wrong.Here are some of the causes of this situation. 1. Ignorance on the part of the general population. 2. Ignorance of the governmental entities and policy makers.
3. Closed mindedness and a strict conservative attitude among the general population and the lawmakers. 4. The lack of education and research on marijuana as a possible medical drug.
Most lawmakers can’t get past seeing marijuana as an illegal drug. There is even the inability of some of the more conservative people to recognize the possibility of legalization of marijuana for medical use without the stigma of addiction.How many people are addicted to the legal prescription painkillers? It is believed that China was using marijuana seeds for food as early as 6000 BC. In the more recent past, marijuana was being used by many addicts to curb their cravings for drugs when the United States made morphine and opium illegal. Marijuana was actually legal in the United States until a small group of people banded together and changed the laws to make it illegal by enacting The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937.
This was accomplished by blatantly misrepresenting the American Medical Association’s agreement with that act. Since 1996 many states have joined California in that push to make marijuana legal for medicinal use and to decriminalize and legalize it for regulatory purposes. Perhaps the FDA is partially to blame for not allowing individuals to make an educated decision on the legalization of a drug that has been found to be beneficial to some crippling and terminal diseases that are refractory to current available drug therapies. Could,2002) The major stakeholders in this argument are the terminally ill patients that might benefit from the relief that marijuana could provide them for their pain and nausea of a few particular diseases. Some other stakeholders are the people who aren’t really ill but are holding the medical marijuana card in order to use the drug without repercussions. If decriminalized and legalized, the growers that are being paid by the states to grow marijuana for the medical research testing could be affected.
It might even affect the illegal drug trafficking if it is legal in the United States. It would impact those traffickers by taking an illegal street drug, and making it legal, taxable and regulated. The federal government could also be a major stakeholder by being able to tax marijuana if it was grown, sold and dispensed legally. (Could, 2002) Public opinions have been formed by an uneducated fear of most controlled substances that the government, not medical professionals and researchers, have deemed to be dangerous.Many people around the world still vary on their opinions about the legalization of marijuana. The opinions of the terminally ill, legislators, general public, medical society, DEA, politicians, law enforcement personnel, and the United States as a whole should all be considered when making a decision about legalization and decriminalization.
Perhaps the DEA and the politicians are carrying too much weight in the regulation of a drug that researchers and medical personnel are already saying has been beneficial in treating certain symptoms of a small list of diseases.Since this is a battle of the individual’s right to choose against Governmental control, a resolution may not be something that is attainable. With the continued research and testing of marijuana for relief of symptoms such as pain and nausea from certain terminal illnesses, it could be possible for the researchers and scientists to convince the general public of either the value of marijuana for medical use or even the non-value of marijuana for medical use. Perhaps a program could be designed and implemented to educate the general population on the pros and cons of marijuana for medical purposes.
SAMHSA, 2006) As our guiding force in the area of law and legal aspects, our legislators and lawmakers could agree to be opened minded when they actually sit down to look at our current laws, and the research that has been done, before they make a decision based on close-mindedness and bias because of marijuana’s stigma of being an “illegal” drug. But, agencies like the DEA, FBI and the FDA have enormous budgets that are based, in a very large part, on the expenses of controlling all illicit drugs.If this issue is resolved by keeping marijuana illegal for medical use, the sick and injured may suffer because of the inability of the medical community to control their pain and nausea with current conventional medicines or treatments. Crime may continue to rise and the violence associated with the illegal drug trade would persist. The tax payer money would continue to be wasted on the so called “war on drugs. ” Taxation of the sale of marijuana could provide new revenue that will help both the state and Federal Governments to balance the out of control budgets.
(SAMHSA, 2006)If it is not resolved, the general population with debilitating diseases may either continue to find marijuana illegally for some general symptomatic relief or they may continue to rely on the medical community to find some sort of relief that is more effective than current treatments. The legalization of marijuana for medical use may also swing the other way. It may be determined that the effects of marijuana are short term and dissipating with the continued use and tolerance to the drug, or it may not be as effective as stated in research that is being conducted at the present time.There is also the possibility that health costs may rise because the high levels of carcinogens in marijuana could cause a rise in respiratory medical cases just as cigarette use did.
We may also see an increase in patients having to receive addiction treatment. (Keenen, 2008) Some of the consequences for not finding a resolution or for not compromising on a resolution may include an increase in drug related arrests and convictions for patients who continue to acquire an illegal drug for some sort of relief that the current medical treatments do not provide.It may also see no change at all in the current conditions. We do not see a resolution happening in our lifetime or even in the next generation’s lifetime. Until our government can rationally analyze all data and make an educated decision based on the facts alone, this will continue to be a debate and a problem for our society as a whole. Researchers are looking for a solution, by developing such substitutes as Marinol, to avoid the health issues that marijuana use may cause.
While both the pros and cons of the legalization of marijuana for medical uses can definitely be examined, and even agreed and/or disagreed with, some sort of resolution would benefit both the patients and the governmental powers. This issue may or may not ever be resolved. While both sides of the issue can be seen for patient comfort and relief, there is also the possible issue of marijuana becoming ineffective after prolonged use. The issue of marijuana becoming a gateway to “hardcore” drugs has not been proven and most statements one can read are opinion and conjecture.
There appears to be no withdrawal symptoms according to information obtained during our research, but there is the possibility of physiological addiction. The use of marijuana for medical purposes has been suggested for the terminally ill or for the extreme cases of nausea from treatments such as chemotherapy that are refractory to current medical treatments. Putting a patient on long term pain killers can have the same effect that the legislators are putting on marijuana. They can be addictive, abused or misused or can lead to “hardcore” drug use when their present drug therapies become ineffective.
It is an individual’s right to contemplate and decide if they are for or against the legalization and/or decriminalization of medical marijuana. (Keenen, 2008) Citations Harwood HJ, Myers TG (Eds. ). 2004.
Washington (DC): National Academies Press (US). New Treatments for Addiction: Behavioral, Ethical, Legal and Social Questions. National Research Council (US) and Institute of Medicine (US) Committee on Immunotherapy’s and Sustained-Release Formulations for Treating Drug Addiction http://www. justice.