Legalization of Marijuana: Arguments

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The aim of this paper is to logically apply reason to assess the arguments for the legalization of marijuana, and by doing so point out flaws in these arguments. Furthermore, this paper will assess the credibility and the source of these arguments, and present counter arguments to conclude that marijuana should not be a legal drug in California and the rest of the United States. First I will consider The National Organizations for the Reform of Marijuana Law's “Principles of Responsible Marijuana Use” which is the basis for their argument for the legalization of marijuana, and how this set of principles is flawed. Second I will consider the claim “that marijuana should be legal in a taxed and regulated manner” and also consider the source of this claim. Third I will emphasize the negative social effects of legalization of marijuana in order to counter the claims for legalization. Finally I will conclude that given these factors, legalization of marijuana would be harmful and detrimental to society as a whole, possessing little or no economic, social, or medical benefits.

The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Law is the leading lobbyist group for the legalization of marijuana in the United States. This organization has made it their commitment to have marijuana legalized in a taxable way as tobacco and alcohol currently are. This organization rationalizes it's arguments with a document called the “Principles of Responsible Marijuana Use” in which is attempts to justify marijuana reform in a socially accepted manner. The very title of the document is ambiguous, the word “responsible” is a very circumstantial term and is subject to many different interpretations. Furthermore the document assumes that if legalized, citizens will adhere to this unofficial “code of ethics”, however we can evidently see with alcohol and tobacco that there is abuse regardless of the regulating laws. Despite this, NORML attempts to lay out their interpretation for what “responsible marijuana use” is ( 4 ); their first point is that marijuana is to be for adults only, and that it is irresponsible to provide marijuana to children. The terms “adults” and “children” again are ambiguous, it is not clear where the line is drawn between what defines an adult or a child. This is a concern because many would assume a child is no longer a child after eighteen years of age, thus it can be determined that eighteen and over is considered a “responsible” user. It need not be said that current alcohol restrictions limit a user to twenty-one and over. According to a 2005 Monitoring the Future Study, “three-fourths of 12th graders, more than two-thirds of 10th graders, and about two in every five 8th graders have consumed alcohol”( 5 ), with this evidence it would be wishful thinking to assume marijuana would be any different. To further consider this point 6.8% of children ages 12 to 17 use marijuana on an occasional basis ( 5 ). It would be reasonable to conclude that if marijuana was legalized that number would increase drastically.

Second the NORML's “Principles of Responsible Marijuana Use” attempts to rationalize legal marijuana use by claiming that if legalized responsible users will refrain from driving ( 4 ). Although an illegal drug, it is not surprising that there are already statistics regarding marijuana impaired driving in many states. California who just recently had a proposition for the legalization of marijuana has some of the most relevant statistics; there are various counties in California that have a 16% or higher marijuana involved traffic fatalities ( 3 ). This number would only increase with the legalization, and that is not to include the the amount of non fatal accidents that would occur annually. A recent study by Alfred Crancer and Alan Crancer projected that traffic fatalities would increase by as much as 300% with legalization ( 3 ).

Third NORML claims that “The responsible cannabis user will carefully consider...
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