Despite of being described as the so-called “natural drug (Collman 54),” marijuana’s (healing) effects continue to raise questions and controversies regarding the legality of its use. The issues surrounding marijuana use offers a double-edged sword that constantly baffles both its supporters and its detractors. If such plant is proven to generate therapeutic benefits and advantages, then its prohibition readily denies the public a chance to experience marijuana’s positive effects. But on one hand, it is also apparent that such plant has been constantly abused by different individuals that lead to an outburst of moral panic and interlocking ethical interlocking concerns. Although marijuana per se, cannot be blamed, this does not discount the fact that irresponsible users presents an impending threat to society’s overall structure. For so many years, marijuana’s utilization has been often perceived as one of the main causes behind the individuals’ exposure to other illegal drugs such as cocaine and LSD, for example. Given this aspect at hand, it is evident that legalizing marijuana may give birth to a plethora of problems that has something to do with substance abuse. Identifying marijuana as an illegal drug cannot be immediately dismissed as an unsound decision. Rather, this move is no less than a precautionary measure that should be readily sought to ensure society’s well-being.
Historically speaking, Isralowitz explained that marijuana has been already administered as a cure for certain ailments and diseases (131). This plant is readily acknowledged for its curative effects most especially in countries such as “China, India, Middle East and even South America (Isralowitz 131). However, it is important to note that as history progresses, the rise of highly sophisticated and modernized technological equipment also paved the way for a better understanding of marijuana’s negative effects. Marijuana, in as much as it can serve as a cure also have tendencies to create potential harm. Marijuana abuse has strong links with other health-related hazards that may produce psychological and behavioral problems. Under this context it is important to note that substance abuse cannot be addressed nor minimized once marijuana is legalized. In the long run, this approach would further worsen the problem. Come to think of it, now that marijuana is already exploited and used for other purposes, other than curing ailments per se, then this problem shows high tendencies of exploding once marijuana is already legalized.
According to Ling et. al, excessive marijuana use may result to “acute psychosis, anxiety and paranoia (135). This can be primarily attributed to the fact that this plant contains a “psychoactive” substance known as “9-tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (Finkel 71).” Finkel expressed that while THC is noted for alleviating pain, this does not necessarily mean that marijuana is devoid from eliciting the above-mentioned problems (71). This further justifies the notion that marijuana used should not be legalized. First and foremost, its psychological side-effects posit a serious threat. Marijuana may readily contribute to the worsening of mental health problems that may prompt individuals from committing deviant or anti-social behaviors. In addition to that, even though marijuana is used for medical purposes, its utilization is still, regulated.
Another major reason for not legalizing marijuana can be attributed to the fact that its excessive use may actually lead to chronic diseases. Milkman and Wanberg explained that marijuana abuse triggers respiratory ailments such as “lung infection” for example (102). It is also responsible for weakening the individual’s immune system, thus making him or her susceptible to serious conditions or problems like “Type B Hepatitis (Milkman & Wanberg 102). In addition to that, Milkman and Wanberg discussed that marijuana can actually hamper one’s productivity via damaging the person’s cognitive and psychomotor skills (102). This is in stark contrast to claims and arguments that marijuana actually contributes to the improvement of one’s ability to produce or create. Under such circumstances, such scenario may actually make an individual heavily dependent on marijuana. Relatively, this may lead to addiction. An individual must never rely on themselves, not on marijuana.
Lastly, it should be always remembered that marijuana tends to function as the so-called “gateway drug (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein 394). Being a gateway drug means that marijuana may actually encourage users to try other harmful substances such as “heroin” and “LSD (Hanson, Venturelli & Fleckenstein 394).” This scenario may further complicate the battle against illegal drugs, thus creating a harmful environment. Moreover, the mere fact that marijuana can be grown within one’s backyard further exposes an individual from abusing the plant’s alleged benefits.
Given the fact that marijuana may actually elicit positive effects, one should not disregard the probability that marijuana can be readily abused by its respective users. This situation alone readily justifies the position why it should remain illegal. Reality speaking, various laws and policies have been already enacted to prevent substance abuse. But these problems continue to persist. In as far as marijuana is concerned; legalizing it is actually tantamount to tolerating drug abuse. This would further encourage individuals from being irresponsible in utilizing the plant’s benefits and advantages.