Monthly Archives: March 2015

Legalizing Marijuana: The Pros and Cons

The most abused of the light drugs is marijuana in the United States (U.S.), and even globally (Richardson, 2010; Svrakic, 2012). This paper has sampled out marijuana for the discussion on pros and cons of light drugs being legalized. Several researches have been conducted by scholars that demonstrate that marijuana, as a light drug, has medical benefits to the users (Svrakic, 2012). In view of the debate that marijuana portends some benefits, several states in the United States have legalized marijuana despite objections from the federal attorneys (Garvey & Yeh, 2014).

Grant et. al., (2012) note that considerable progress has been made in understanding the effects and action of marijuana ingredients (such as tetrahydrocannabinol and other cannabinoids). They argue that scientific researches have provided evidence that using marijuana and its related extracts are useful in the management of neuropathic pain and spasticity arising from multiple sclerosis. Thus people with multiple sclerosis have long term problems in muscle coordination and poor sense of feeling. Despite the advantages that marijuana has on the treatment of pain, other researchers argue that marijuna is not superior to the normally administered drugs like codeine in the treatment of pain, furthermore marijuana acts as a depressant on the central nervous system which limits their use in pain treatment (Campbell et. al, 2001; Grant, 2012). According to Grotenhermen & Müller-Vahl (2012) who reviewed more than 100 of cannabinoids-related research findings concluded that they provide evidence of the medical importance of marijuana. This gives some of the justification for its legislation in some States like Ohio.

From a social context, light drugs like marijuana have been shown to offer social facilitation and as a means of overcoming emotional pain. Some light drug abusers use them so that can overcome socially challenging situations (Beck et. al., 2009). It is on this basis that some teenagers smoke marijuana to enhance their sex-seeking behaviors which is detrimental to them, their partners and the society considering the health and negative social implications of marijuana (Beck et. al., 2009; Richardson, 2010). Objections to the medical advantages of marijuana has been voiced by many doctors. The many argue that the social and medical benefits of using marijuana and the derivative products do not justify its use (Richardson, 2010; Svrakic et. al., 2012) and hence, there is no good grounds to legalize it by the States in the U.S. (Garvey & Yeh, 2014).

A survey of available literature review indicates that a majority of little scientific research has been done to ascertain the positive social benefits of marijuana. Furthermore, medical researchers are in conflict on the risk and benefits of the use of marijuana (Grotenhermen & Müller-Vahl, 2012; Richardson, 2010). From the social perspective, some researchers have found out that legalizing it may lead to a reduction in homicide and assault rates (Morris, 2014). Such findings lead to the conclusion that some light drugs will not pose danger to public health and safety in terms of violent crime occurences. What complicates the whole debate is the uncertainty in the direction of contrasting findings. Khamsi (2013) argues that road safety may be in jeopardy with legalization of marijuana, and the safety issues relating to it’s recreational use is still poorly understood because available evidence informs the position that both long-term and short-term use have negative impacts to the health of the individual.

Pro-legalization crusaders argue that legalizing marijuana will lead to increased revenue for both the Federal goverment and the States (Stimson, 2010). This is seen as an economic advantage that will generate revenue and improve social outcomes to citizens. Despite the dangers marijuana poses to the health of individuals and society, 55% of Americans are of the view that marijuana should be legalized while 75% are of the opinion that legalizing marijuana nationally is inevitable (Wang, 2014). Looking at the economic arguments of legalizing marijuana, Wang (2014) elaborates the fact that illegal markets can be eliminated if tax on marijuana is kept low. Secondly through a flexible tax policy, the government can be able to regulate the consumption of marijuana because tax will has an influence on demand and supply of consumables.

A review of selected literature on the subject of legalizing marijuana has one thing. Many of the research findings dealing on the medical, social and economic impacts of marijuana indicate that the economic advantages stand to be very high for governments due to increased tax revenue base. However, the economic benefits tend to be seriously outweighed by the findings that show the medical and social risks of marijuana. Legalizing marijuana will instead increase the number of recreational users, and related problems such mental degeneration and ill health will increase. Stimson (2010) disputes legalization based on the fallacy of its pro crusaders by supporting the argument that legalizing marijuana will compromise public health and safety. Finally, research findings on social, economic and medical outcomes show that uncertainty surrounding safety and health issues justify the continued non-legalization of marijuana.



Beck, K., Caldeira, K., Vincent, K., O’Grady, K., Wish, E., & Arria, A. (2009). The social     context of cannabis use: Relationship to cannabis use disorders and depressive symptoms           among college students. Addictive Behaviors , Vol. 34 (9): 764-768.

Campbell, F., Tramer, M., Carroll, D., Reynolds, D., Moore, R., & McQuay, H. (2001). Are cannabinoids an effective and safe treatment option in the management of pain? A             qualitative systematic review. BMJ , Volume 323 (7303): 3-6.

Garvey, T., & Yeh, B. T. (2014). State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal      Issues. Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Service.

Grant, I., Atkinson, J. H., Gouaux, B., & Wilsey, B. (2012). Medical Marijuna: Clearing away the smoke. Open Neurology Journal , Vol. 6: 18-25.

Grotenhermen, F., & Müller-Vahl, K. (2012). The Therapeutic Potential of Cannabis and          Cannabinoids. Dtsch Arztebl Int , Vol 109 (29-30): 495-501.

Khamsi, R. (2013, May 14). How Safe Is Recreational Marijuana? Scientific American , Vol. 308      (6):

Morris, R. G., TenEyck, M., Barnes, J., & Kovandzic, T. V. (2014). The Effect of Medical      Marijuana Laws on Crime: Evidence from State Panel Data, 1990-2006. PLoS ONE ,       Vol. 9(3): e92816. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0092816.

Richardson, T. (2010). Research, Cannabis Use and mental Health: A Review of Recent           Epidemiological. International Journal of Pharmacology , Vol (6): 796-807.

Stimson, C. “. (2010, September 13). Legalizing Marijuana: Why Citizens Should Just Say No.        Retrieved February 20, 2015, from The Heritage Foundation:            should-just-say-no

Svrakic, D. M., Lustman, P. J., Mallya, A., Lynn, T. A., Finney, R., & Svrakic, N. M. (2012).             Legalization, Decriminalization & Medicinal Use of Cannabis:A Scientific and Public Health Perspective. Missouri Medicine , Vol. 109(2): 90-98.

Wang, M. (2014, July 8). Recreational Marijuana Legalization Lights Up Economic Policy            Considerations. Retrieved February 22, 2015, from Yale Economic Review: