SOC120: Introduction to Ethics & Social Responsibility
The ethical issues that are presented regarding the legalization of marijuana are:
Can an action that has no victim be considered a crime? Doesn't the constitution give us the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, if marijuana and its effects make one happy, do we not have the right to pursue it? Would legalization truly cause more people to smoke marijuana? Is marijuana truly as “bad” as it is made out to be?
Marijuana being criminalized opens a huge door to the black market enriching criminal activity, does the harm that marijuana may cause to recreational users truly outweigh the presence of an underground marijuana criminal ring? Since marijuana has proven medical uses, can we justly ban it because some people use it for recreational purposes? Isn't it morally hypocritical for us to legalize and even glorify the recreational use of alcohol and legalize (though not glorify) the use of tobacco, both of which have proven death rates yearly associated with them, yet we oppose the use of marijuana, why the moral inconsistency? Is it better to create a new taxable revenue by legalizing marijuana to rescue a bankrupt government than it is to maintain our moral opposition of recreational drug use? Utilitarianism, tells us that A natural way to see if an act is the right thing to do (or the wrong thing to do) is to look at its results, or consequences. Utilitarianism argues that, given a set of choices, the act we should choose is that which produces the best results for the greatest number affected by that choice, (Mosser, K. 2010).
Therefore if the most number of people could benefit from the legalization of marijuana then it would resolve the problem of whether or not marijuana should be or should not be legalized for medicinal or any other purposes. Relativism in turn says that if it is right for me, it is ok, if it is right for Florida, it is right for California, if it is right in France, it may be wrong here, but our cultures are different, but as for the United States, it would be that if it is ethical in Alaska, California and 14 other states (http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php) it should be accepted in Florida and Kentucky and the remaining 32 states where it is not legalized for any type either recreational or medical use as of yet.
Reasons for Legalization of Marijuana
Medical marijuana has been proven to have uses for cancer patients, glaucoma patients, nausea from chemotherapy, treatment of anorexia and appetite stimulation for cancer and AIDS patients, muscle spasms, movement disorders, chronic pain syndrome and a long list of other symptoms and ailments. The National Institute of Health as well as the American Medical Association have both noted and documented the benefits for many of these symptoms and ailments. While only 16 of 50 states have legalized medical marijuana the fight in other states carries on to legalize it. Medical marijuana is a benefit to people and should be legalized for both medicinal and recreational use. Marijuana should be decriminalized for the sake of economic stimulation, its medical uses and to alleviate overcrowding in prisons for mainly victimless crimes. One patient at 66 was prescribed marinol, a drug that contains the same chemicals as marijuana but is taken in pill form versus smoking the substance. This was done because he had cancer and the nausea and side effects of the chemotherapy were causing him not to be able to eat and hold down his meals. He needed the strength that food and nourishment would provide but had no appetite and when he was able to eat anything he would vomit because of the side effects of the chemotherapy. This man still today at now 74 years of age, swears that had it not been for the marinol he would not have survived the cancer. He says it is because of the nourishment he was able to keep in...