Lately, drug policy and war on crime has been in the headlines quite often.

Lately, drug policy and war on crime has been in the headlines quite often. It is widely argued all over the media and in the public places. Much of the focus has been directed to the controversial drug cannabis (commonly known as marijuana). Marijuana is the most widely used illicit drug. It is estimated that about 4% of world’s adult population (approximately162 million people) consume marijuana yearly (United Nation office on Drug and Crime, world drug report 2004). The question is, should marijuana be legalized or remain prohibited? This question has been the most pressing and surely it is getting prevalence address. Organization and individuals are advocating for legalization of marijuana for medical or recreation purpose. On the other hand conservative policy makers and status quo vote seeking politicians disagree on all levels of legalization. The reason for and against legalization are multiple and complex. This essay will look in depth this controversial topic from abroad perspective and scrutinize the reasons for and against cannabis legalization.
Reasons for cannabis legalization.
Prohibition of cannabis costs tax payers a lot of money. The direct and indirect costs incurred by the local, state and federal government add up to millions of dollars. In the form of direct costs, judges, police, prison guards, jailers, probation officers, courts, defense lawyers and prosecutors is a massive prison-industrial complex that use a lot of resources that otherwise would have been used in other important priorities in states’ economy. The indirect costs to the economy are difficult to quantify but they come in the form of opportunity cost of the distracted police, jammed up courts to adjudicate important criminals and people removed from their families and jobs. Using the figures from the state and federal government, Miron estimates $7.7billion will be saved by replacing prohibition with regulation. In addition, in term of taxes marijuana would generate about $6.2 billion if it was regulated and taxed as alcohol and tobacco. Over decades now prohibition has not achieved any simple of its goals. It keeps employing more lawyers, policemen, buying more guns but still marijuana is easily available. Supply and demand remain uninterrupted on macro scale. The fall of one dealer gives a chance for another dealer to rise. If we use Albert Einstein’s definition of insanity, “doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results.” Strictly speaking our government is insane.
Secondly, in a nation founded on the principles of limited government and personal responsibility surely war on marijuana is alien. At the long run the negative effects of marijuana are outweighed by negative effects of marijuana prohibition. This substance has no practical lethal dose meaning that it is harmless. Since the dawn of history, until the 20th century when marijuana was prohibited, humans have been using cannabis. Even in Genesis 1:29 it is recorded that every seed-bearing plant on earth was given to man by God. God giveth, the government taketh.
Lastly, cannabis prohibition has exposed minors to easily acquire it. The government has created all the conditions necessary for growth of black market for cannabis. There is now black market for alcohol. Thus, although cheap and easy to obtain, it is only available to adults, but difficult for the minors. Consequently, the “the forbidden fruit” which is sweeter makes marijuana attractive than unregulated drug.
On the contrary, changing the law on marijuana is perilous, cannabis should remain prohibited. In the USA cannabis is known to be a mind altering drug. It is known that that those addicted to hard drugs almost invariably began with cannabis. Cannabis use is known to cause schizophrenia and cancer.
Negative impact of legalization of cannabis will be discussed below:
First, it is important to note that the current laws on cannabis are rewarding. According to British Crime Survey in the year 2000 approximately 66% of the people aged between 16 and 59 haven ever used an illicit drug. Still, the figure would have gone up if those age 60 and above were included. This report farther states that among the 34% who have used this illicit drug, only 6% have used it in the past one month. Truthfully there are only a small number of individuals using these drugs. And the fact that a given small number of individuals are breaking the law does not necessary mean that law should be abolished. Take for example, because there so many people breaking the law on speed limit on the roads does not call for its abolition, instead, mechanisms to deter drivers from over speeding (like on-spot-fine, speed cameras, among others) have been introduced. This should be the same case with marijuana; the law should have a restraining effect thus, introvert away many individuals from even trying to use cannabis with fear of having a criminal record.
Secondly, it should be noted that cannabis is a harmful drug to human health. Cannabis affects how the brain works. There is a strong link between schizophrenia and cannabis. While other experts state states that cannabis triggers schizophrenia others maintain that it makes the symptoms outcome of schizophrenia (Johns, A, ‘Psychiatric effects of cannabis’, British Journal of Psychiatry, 187, 2001,pages 116-122). Smoking marijuana may lead to hallucination and delirium. These effects may cause one to experience a distorted reality. A Swedish study show that under the influence of cannabis one is 18 times likely to take his/her own life by jumping over a building than a non-user. Cannabis also has an addictive effect to it users. In addition to having effects on the brain, cannabis also causes lung diseases. It is important to note that cannabis cigarette do not have filters and smokers tend to inhale deeply and holds the smoke several times longer than ordinary smokers. The result is that, the amount of tar deposited is four times that of an equivalent weight of a cigarette. This may lead to chronic bronchitis.
To sum it up on why cannabis prohibition should be upheld is the fact that we cannot compare the effects of cannabis with those of alcohol or cigarettes. For example, while a drive under the influence of alcohol may be aware of his or her deficit on the road, a drive under cannabis effect may be completely unaware of this. Instead driver under the influence of marijuana say that marijuana improve their confidence on the road (According to a survey, 10 out of 39 cannabis drug drivers attest to this.) This has resulted to a number of fatal accidents. In comparison with cigarettes, marijuana smokers tend to develop cancer earlier than cigarettes. This leads to sufferer dying before the age of 40 years.
In conclusion, considering both cases on cannabis it is important to note that a government should legalized cannabis. From the past experiences prohibition is known to have failed. Scientific research should be carried to ascertain its medical value and its effects as a recreation drug. Then this information pertaining cannabis should be given to the general public. Then, policies aimed at regulating be formulated. This way, individuals will by aware of their consequences.