Legalizing Marijuana Essay Example

Pages: 8 (2476 words) Published: November 30, 2012
Legalizing Marijuana

Marc Dalcin

Dr. Marie Carroll


Intro To Ethics And Social Responsibility


Marijuana has been at the center of a heated debate regarding its legalization. It has received both criticism and praise in equal measure. Critics refer to marijuana as a “devil weed” while supporters have often referred it to a “miracle drug.” Despite the different references to marijuana, there has been a prolonged debate on whether it should be legalized for personal use or not. There are two approaches to the use of marijuana with one involving medicinal purposes while the other involves purposes of pleasure. Medical health is an important aspect of human life and the legalization of marijuana for medicinal purposes has the importance of improving human health. In the case of using marijuana for pleasure, there is the issue of abuse of drugs, which often results in lawlessness among users. Legalizing marijuana presents an ethical dilemma in the sense that it is difficult to ascertain the intentions of the users hence the drug may end up being used for the wrong reasons (Burnham, 2011). This paper provides a comprehensive analysis of the ethical dilemma arising from the debate on legalizing marijuana and presents the use of deontological reasoning theory in solving the dilemma. The paper also includes a comparison between deontological reasoning and relativism with the eventual identification of the theory that best relates to the personal opinion with regards to the debate on legalizing marijuana.

The question of legalizing marijuana

Should the use personal use of marijuana be legalized? There are numerous uses associated with marijuana. AIDS and cancer patients find marijuana useful as a drug that restores appetite and fights nausea. Marijuana also has nutritional value because its seeds contain vitamins and can be used in preparing cooking oil (Rosenthal, Kubby & Newhart, 2003). Research studies also indicate that the marijuana can be used in the manufacturing of clothes. The plant has been used in the manufacturing of paper and clothing material for a very long time and is considered produce higher amount of fibre compared to trees. Environmentalists have found the marijuana plant important in addressing the problem of deforestation and soil erosion. Marijuana is beneficial in the restoration of lost soil nutrients. To law enforcement agencies, marijuana is considered to play a major role in increasing the number of crime rates. A significant number of incarcerated criminals have at least used marijuana prior to their arrest. The above analysis on the use of marijuana and its impact clearly points out to the fact that one group will support the legalization of marijuana while the other will oppose such a move. However, the debate can be solved using two theories of deontological reasoning and relativism.

Deontological Reasoning

The theory of deontological reasoning proposes that actions are either correct or wrong in themselves without taking into account their consequences. The theory of deontological reasoning can be best explained with the use of an example of a murder case. In such a situation, a deontologist considers the act of murder as wrong based on the fact that it involves taking the life of another person. It is assumed that humans have the duty of preserving life hence one should never kill no matter the circumstances (Mizzoni, 2009). In a nutshell, this implies that the end does not justify the means. Generally, deontologists believe that human beings have the duty of upholding morality. People have the moral duty to do the right things and avoid doing things that are wrong. The consequences of an action are never considered in determining whether the action is right or wrong. An individual has to consider his or her moral duty in order to make moral decisions. In this case, the personal use of marijuana is considered right or...
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