Perspectives Satire and Humor

The Pros and Cons of Legalization

By Destiny Rose Murphy

With the controversy of legalization looming in political battles and in the minds of many citizens, it seems best to set the facts straight. Here are some arguments for and against legalization

  • With police no longer required to arrest those in possession of marijuana, not only would prison populations decrease significantly, but also law enforcement would be free to give their valued time to more dangerous matters.
  • The longer marijuana is used in a medical setting, the more researchers find it to be beneficial. Cannabis oil and extract has helped to treat epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, anxiety, depression, migraines, some tumors, and is often used by hospitals to help patients that are taking stomach-wrenching drugs to regain the desire to eat.
  • Who doesn’t like cooking with interesting new ingredients? Right now most of the country is missing out on creative edibles. That’s a real shame.
  • Relative to other legal substances, good old Mary Jane seems pretty harmless. For instance, while people can easily die or become very ill from drinking too much alcohol or taking too much medication, it is extremely difficult to intake enough marijuana to cause harm. In fact, some studies have found that marijuana is exponentially less toxic to the body than alcohol.
  • Economically, legalization is a sound choice. Like any other product, legally sold cannabis products can be taxed, and Uncle Sam can take that money and put it towards bettering the country. On the flip side, the very act of keeping the pot illegal is very expensive to the states when one considers legal systems and prison costs. Legalizing takes away this cost, and turns black market jobs into regular jobs, which can serve to bolster the economy and help workers to gain access to income and employment benefits.
  • I hear being high is fun?
  • For the politically minded, legalization is a question of personal and states rights vs. federal authority. Although recreational use of marijuana is not for everyone, many citizens believe it should be their choice to pass or to puff puff pass and that the government should not restrict this choice.
  • Legalization allows the government to have greater control over the quality and safety of cannabis related products. Drugs sold on the street always have a danger associated with them regarding how the substance was created and what other substances it has come into contact with. Legalization would allow the government to place regulations on cannabis to ensure its safety and purity.

Arguments Against the Legalization of Marijuana

Also by Destiny Rose Murphy

  • Legalization could lead to drastically increased use of the substance, and many opponents ask if this is really what we want. Sure, there would be some responsible adults who enjoyed a single green cookie in order to unwind on the weekends, but there would also likely be parents blowing pot smoke into the faces of their children around the house, and by revoking the taboo on the substance more children would be likely to try it.
  • According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, marijuana dependence is fairly common among users, and can lead to “irritability, mood and sleep difficulties, decreased appetite, cravings, restlessness, and/or various forms of physical discomfort” if a dependent person attempts to stop using the drug. Can the government in good conscience legalize a substance known to be addictive?
  • Reefer madness. Duh.
  • Legalizing marijuana would naturally increase the number of people who drove under the effects of the substance, which could lead to more accidents and injuries on the road. In states where the drug is legal, there has been an increase in the number of fatal accidents involving someone testing positive for marijuana.
  • Smoking is still dangerous, whether it’s tobacco or marijuana. Lighting something on fire and breathing in the smoke is never a particularly health conscious decision, and marijuana smoke has been proven in many cases to contain carcinogens and other dangerous chemicals just like cigarette smoke. The government runs the risk of introducing a brand new national health problem if federal legalization is approved.
  • Any substance that drastically alters the way a human perceives the world is bound to create some dangerous scenarios. When high, just as when drunk, people are not completely in control of their faculties and so are more likely to make poor and unsafe decisions.
  • Have you ever smelled the stuff? It’s like a cross between skunk and old man smell. Why would we legalize that?!
  • On the political front many opponents of legalization believe that it should be a states rights matter, not something that the federal government forces on citizens. Though some states like Colorado have chosen to allow the substance into their borders, others should be able to make the choice to keep it out.

Marijuana has often been called a gateway drug, which makes users comfortable with the idea of taking drugs and therefore more likely to take other more dangerous ones like heroine and cocaine. By legalizing marijuana, the government may be inviting further drug use