3 December 2018
The Possible Effects of the use of Recreational Marijuana in the US
The matter of the legalization of Marijuana is perhaps one of the most frequently and actively discussed public concerns of present times. Different Stakeholders have so many diverse points of view that the issue is becoming complicated as the time is passing. The main focal point of this essay is the number of diverse effects in case marijuana is legalized and used as a recreational drug. Till 2018, the use of marijuana as a recreational drug is being done in almost twelve countries including Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, United States, and Uruguay.
The topic of recreational use of marijuana has become very controversial in the United States. Even then, there has been a steady amount of increase in the public support of Cannabis in the last decade CITATION Dan19 \l 1033 (Daniller). The states like Washington and Colorado have legally allowed the use of recreational marijuana and have therefore gained a significant surplus in their revenues from the sales of the substance. On the contradictory, many other states have decided to wait out the argument and use the above-mentioned states as a test case to observe what outcomes arise from the use of recreational marijuana. There are states like New Jersey in which marijuana is available for medicinal purposes, yet it is tightly regulated. Many believe that the drug can be a source of tax revenue that can provide relief in the current crisis the US economy is facing. This is somewhat thinkable as this tax revenue can be used to provide funds for future American projects like Obamacare. However, the societal effects of the use of recreational use of marijuana can be complex and diverse as this concept is still largely untested. Let us examine these factors one by one to make some sense of them.
First, the most point important and highlighted point is that marijuana is the cause of numerous ill-lasting effects on the human mind and body CITATION Dru19 \l 1033 (Drug-Free). It can cause several unwanted effects like slower reflexes, distorted judgment, inferior educational scores, anxiety, and respirational problems. Additionally, these ill-effects are also dependent on the age of the individual using it. It means that the earlier a person starts using cannabis, the more probable that a person will experience the hostile side effects of the use of cannabis usage. Also, thanks to the modern improvements in chemical distillation and agriculture sciences as a whole, Marijuana, is stronger than ever these days. According to Dr. Mahmoud ElSohly of the Marijuana Potency Project, the main active constituent in marijuana, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC “has soared from less than 1% to 3 to 4% in the 1990s, to nearly 13% today.” CITATION Jos16 \l 1033 (Joseph). This has led to “higher addictive potential” and according to one Dr. Christian Thurstone, who runs an addiction treatment center in Denver, the kids these days that are addicted to the substance are more difficult to cure of this addiction than in the past as the potency of the substance available in the market is getting stronger as the time is progressing. Furthermore, endorsement and the acceptance of recreational marijuana have shown that there is an intensification of usage of the substance in kids less than eighteen years of age in the United States. The use of recreational marijuana that was at the typical level for individuals ages twelve through seventeen is around eight percent while in Colorado this number hovers around eleven percent.
Yes, these numbers may not seem like a great concern to the people of the United States now, but the issue here is that the use of this substance is increasing in high schools these days. In 2011, twenty-five percent of boulder county high school students were observed to be active marijuana users. Also, the number of students that are ending up in the emergency rooms of the Colorado state hospital is increased to twenty-eight percent. If we compare the aforementioned statistics, we can observe a stark difference in the minors ending up in the emergency rooms of the hospitals between the state of Colorado, where the use of recreational marijuana is legal, and other states where the use of this substance is strictly regulated.
There is a popular narrative of the people that think that the increase in the use of recreational marijuana will bring a lot of much-needed tax revenue to the coffers of the US treasury. Yes, there will be a contribution of tax revenue in the national economy if the recreational use of the drug becomes mainstream. Yet, this contribution does not seem much encouraging. Let us compare the possible tax collections of marijuana to that of Alcohol. The cost that arises from the ill-effects of the excessive use of alcohol is much more than the tax revenue that is collected from its sales. This observation shows that the sale of any vice does not produce profits to justify its legalization. The same goes for the state costs and tax revenues of the use of tobacco. Furthermore, it is observable in many cases that the legalization of any drug, or item of similar nature, cannot curtail the use of its sales in the black markets. This is particularly observable in the area of gambling as the legalization of gambling in Las Vegas and other casinos did not put an end to the problem of illegal gambling. On the contrary, the latter has increased more since due to the enforcement of taxes in its legal form. If the use of recreational marijuana were to be legalized, it would increase the levy of taxes on the substance, which will make its illegal use more likely, as the illegal sale will be cheaper due to the absence of these heavy taxes.
Coming to the argument that the substance of marijuana has medicinal value and that its use will bring no harm to the user of the substance. This narrative is somewhat misleading. The active ingredient in marijuana is indeed used for the control of side-effects in the patients of cancer undergoing the treatment of chemotherapy. Also, marijuana has properties that induce appetite in patients with AIDS. Yet, it should be noted that this substance called THC, as mentioned above, is sold legally throughout the United States under the approval of FDA in other forms as well CITATION USF19 \l 1033 (Administration).
To conclude the argument, there is an upside to the recreational use of marijuana, and its legalization is favorable. Yet, there are certain political and social underpinnings to the excessive use of marijuana. The recreational use of this drug can prove to be a regulatory nightmare for the entire United States since it is easily cultivable and available. There is a high chance that the use of recreational marijuana could end up as the use of alcohol or any other substance that induces ecstasy. In my opinion, the ill-effects of the drug are numerous. There should be discussions in Congress about the issue and regulations should be drawn so that the drug does not end up in the hands of the minors. This act can prevent families from being destroyed, as there is in the case of other drugs like cocaine and heroin.
BIBLIOGRAPHY Administration, US Food and Drug. FDA Regulation of Cannabis and Cannabis-Derived Products, Including Cannabidiol (CBD). 2019. <https://www.fda.gov/news-events/public-health-focus/fda-regulation-cannabis-and-cannabis-derived-products-including-cannabidiol-cbd>.
Daniller, Andrew. Two-thirds of Americans support marijuana legalization. 2019. <https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/11/14/americans-support-marijuana-legalization/>.
Drug-Free, World. The Truth About Marijuana. 2019.
Joseph, Andrew. Meet the man who’s the federal government’s pot dealer. 2016. <https://www.statnews.com/2016/09/06/medical-marijuana-mississippi/>.
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