Marijuana Should Be Fully Legalized, Not Just Decriminalized

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MarijuanaShould Be Fully Legalized, Not Just Decriminalized

MarijuanaShould Be Fully Legalized, Not Just Decriminalized

Thesubject of marijuana use has been one of the sensitive discussionsthat the society continues to grapple with. Central to suchdiscussions has been the question of how the drug use could becontrolled to limit the adverse effects on the society. Theconventional approach to drug control has been prohibition, which ischaracterized by laws for which individuals found in the possessing,manufacturing, selling, or smoking bang can be tried and sentenced inthe court of justice. The prohibition approach is hinged on thepresupposition that sentencing offenders serve as a punishment todeter continued use. Despite the stringent enforcement practices, theuse of marijuana has been increasing over time, a scenario that haselicited questions of just what might be the intervention. Theresponse to this subject is particularly manifested by advocacies offull legalization of marijuana, rather just decriminalizing it. Theissue continues to draw heated reactions, with different statesalready engaged in the discussion of whether to consider suchadvocacies.


Proponentsof the legalization of marijuana have relied on several points todefend their position. First is that marijuana prohibition policieshave failed because a significant population continues to use thedrug, while the number of people found using or possessing the drughas remained more or less the same over time, if not tending toincrease. For instance, according to Alyson and Nushin (2014), in2013, the number of people arrested in the US for possessing the drugwas 693,482, accounting for 45 percent of all the drug lawviolations. Of these arrests, as significant as 80 percent were asimple possession, not manufacturing or selling. Moreover, the numberof people arrested for possession of marijuana is cited to be higherthan all forms of violent crimes, while as significant as 43 percentof the US population is reported to have used marijuana at one momentin the lives.

Secondly,the minority populations are disproportionately represented in drugarrests despite the rate of utilization and selling of the drug beingequal across racial and ethnic groups. As Alyson and Nushin (2014)notes, the people of color are four times likely to be arrested forpossessing the drug than the White people. Thirdly, marijuanaprohibition only results in the establishment of gangs, contributingto violence and corruption as the individuals involved strive toprotect people. It is cited that over a hundred thousands of peoplehave been killed because of drug war campaigns. The advocates havealso gone further to cite the evidence based on states that have goneahead to implement either legalization or decriminalization ofmarijuana, in which the rates of arrests reduced significantly and noincrease of marijuana use was reported (Alyson and Nushin, 2014).


Theopposition to legalization has been primarily characterized by theconcerns that legalizing marijuana could escalate the use of the drugbecause it will now be accessible to everyone, including children(Walker, 2015). Those who support this view have gone further toassert the resultant harmful effects of increased dependency onmarijuana cannot be taken lightly. The commonly cited adverse effectsof marijuana include the decline in the IQ, antisocial behaviors,lower satisfaction with life, addiction, financial challenges, mentalproblems, and poor performance at work and school (Walker, 2015).

Thesupporting views have tended to favor decriminalization. In thiscase, decriminalization describes an alternative approach tosentencing, in which people found in possession of the drug may befined or subjected to house arrest as a deliberate attempt to deterthem.


Havingnoted the points of view of both sides, of particular interest iswhich of the two options is most favorable. Certainly, prohibitionhas indeed failed to constrain people from using the drug — ifonly, it has resulted in problems such as disproportionate minoritycontact, gangs, violence, and corruption. On the practical basis,legalization tends to be the preferable approach because it does notonly enable the society to overcome challenges typical to prohibitionsuch as disproportionate minority contact, gangs, violence, andcorruption, but also creates the allowance for the states to tax andgenerate revenue for the marijuana business. Besides, legalizationalso creates the allowance to establish control regulations such aswho to use and when to use — in the manner that the alcoholicdrinks are controlled (Kevin, 2015). Indeed, if legalization does notresult in escalated use of marijuana, as alleged by the opponents,then there is no reason as to why it should not be implemented.

Whiledecriminalization would have been an option, it is still premised onthe framework of prohibition, which means it will still most likelyproduce poor results. For instance, it will not address theunderground market of the marijuana business, which is estimated tobe over $40 billion that would be a significant source of revenue forthe federal and state governments if taxed (Kevin, 2015).


Alyson,M. &amp Nushin R. (2014) ANew Leaf: The End of Cannabis Prohibition.New York: New Press

KevinP. (2015). HillMarijuana: The Unbiased Truth about the World`s Most Popular Weed.Center City, MN: Hazelden.

Walker,S. (2015). Senseand Nonsense about Crime, Drugs, and Communities.8thed. Stamford, CT: Cengage Learning.

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