Ethical Issues with Legalization of Marijuana

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Ethical Issues with Legalization of Marijuana

By | July 2011
Page 1 of 4
Donna Lowe
SOC 120 Introduction to Ethics &Social Responsibility
Prof. Donna Falloon
May 16, 2011

Marijuana is the third most popular recreational drug in America behind only alcohol and tobacco, and is estimated that nearly 80 million Americans use it at least one occasion.   According to government surveys, some 20 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 11 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Being used for medicinal purposes or simply for recreational, there are not only laws to consider when the topic of legalization comes up but also ethical concerns as well. For this paper I will outline some of the uses for this drug and some of the benefits of its use. I will apply the classical theory of utilitarianism to resolve the issue of legalization while also using the perspective of ethical egoism that this issue brings up and include my own view of these theories concerning the legalization of marijuana.

Many people believe that marijuana is a gateway drug with extremely harmful side effects.   On the contrary, this is a severe misconception, as Marijuana research over nearly half a century has proven that there are no harmful side effects, nor is there any possibility of health problems or death related to recreational or medicinal marijuana use. The technical term to use would be cannabis; however the word marijuana has been used since the 1920’s. While its use is most widely known as a recreational drug, its use for medicinal purpose has been used as far back as the 1970’s. In an article from the The Palm Beach Post, (1972) scientists even then stated that the use of marijuana could be beneficial to patients who suffered from high blood pressure, depression and glaucoma. Marijuana has been used for recreation. Dronabinol, which contains cannabis, is used to treat anorexia in appetite loss associated with AIDS and for cancer chemotherapy induced nausea. It is also helpful to reduce intraocular...
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