Marijuana use in the US has been common since colonial and the Union times, mainly used for inducement of appetite and pain relief. However, in 1937, the US government passed the Marijuana Tax Act, which aimed to destabilize the industry via high taxes. Though the AMA disputed this legislation, the government went ahead to institute fines and mandatory sentences for distribution and possession. In 1970, it was classed as a schedule one substance, with cocaine. There is, currently, a raging debate on the legalization of marijuana. This paper aims to discuss the social aspects of marijuana legislation. Legalization of Marijuana would have a positive outcome on society.
To imagine a United States where marijuana was legal, it is imperative to study the impact of its controlled legalization in the Netherlands. Their policy on soft drugs tolerance has seen a drop in criminal activity and the transfer of marijuana small amounts (Timothy & Goldfinger p2).heroin addiction rates in the Netherlands have gone down by 0.14%, while the crime rate has been falling consistently, coinciding with the relaxation of these laws. While there are obviously differences between the Netherlands and the US, it is clear that the forecasts of social disaster should Marijuana be legalized are misplaced. If legalization of marijuana would mean that hard drug and alcohol usage decreased, then the net outcome would be welcome since the effects of Marijuana on the user and society is less than that of the former two (Timothy & Goldfinger p2).
The claim that there would be an increase in Marijuana usage should it be legalized is true to a point. It could, however, be explained by an increase in users willing to admit to marijuana use. Government estimates showing 11.8 million users in the US is conservative, with NORML estimating that close to 50 million users live in the US (Timothy & Goldfinger p2). Therefore, any initial jump can be explained. After legalization, a discouragement campaign could be set up akin to that against tobacco. Age limits for use and purchase would be set up, which is only possible on legalization since illegal dealers will not ask for I.D.
In conclusion, the concern should not be on Marijuana, but on tobacco and alcohol. Both have more addictive and deadly indicators. The message obviously is not about concern for society, nor for the user’s health. Rather, it is hypocritical, unintelligible, and biased culturally.
Timothy J. G, Goldfinger S. E. The Harvard Medical School health letter book. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2001. Print