Criminal Justice Research Proposal Paper on Why Marijuana should not be Legalized

Why Marijuana should not be Legalized

Introduction

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug obtained from the cannabis plant and intended to be used as medicine. When taken, it induces physiological and psychoactive effects that manifest in the form of heightened mood, increased appetite, and relaxation (Haney, 2009). The current use of the drug is for recreational purposes, but this has been done mainly in secret with resultant negative consequences. Focus has been on the effects of Marijuana and on whether to legalize it or not. In states, such as Arizona and California, Marijuana has been legalized for medicinal purposes. A number of debates are ongoing with an aim of finding the rationale behind legalizing the use of marijuana. Policy makers are after tangible reasons why marijuana should not be legalized or why it should be legalized, and such tangible reasons will enable them make informed decisions. This paper proposes that marijuana should not be legalized.

The Scope/outline of the Study

This study will explore in detail why marijuana should not be made legal. The study will adopt a qualitative approach to unearth evidences to back its position. In this case, a number of secondary studies will be explored. The exploration will base its rationale on the negative effects of marijuana on health, public safety, cost, economic development, the conducts of the youth, environment, and social interactions. In addition, the study will explore the position of scientific studies regarding marijuana, and discuss its findings with a view of recommending that it be illegalized. Thereafter, the paper will make its conclusion.

The Importance of this Study

The federal law prohibits marijuana in the US. However, a number of states, such as Arizona and California have legalized its use in a number of medical cases. The legalization has opened ways for the abuse of marijuana, and thus there is a need for such states to review these laws. In addition, a number of states, such as Iowa are contemplating on legalizing marijuana, and this calls for a serious review on the dangers of such states legalizing the drug. In addition, about 3.6 million people smoke marijuana in the US on a daily basis and the rate is increasing because of some position being taken by some states to legalize the drug (Ostergard, 2010).

A study by Whitten (2014) indicates that about 46% of the Americans are in support of legalizing marijuana, and this is mainly because they are limited studies to point out the dangers of legalizing the drug. Although they point out to the fact that marijuana has a number of medicinal value when the public is allowed to smoke it freely, they forget that such medicinal value can be countered using other drugs with little side effects. This means this study is important as it will clarify all these issues and enable policy makers to make an informed judgment.

Findings from Literature Review

 Marijuana has been in use for a long time, but its use has heightened since the late 1990s when focus shifted to its use in medicinal cases (Hayaki, Hagerty, Herman, de Dios, Anderson, & Stein, 2010). However, a number of cases have increased tremendously owing to the increased use of marijuana, and this is enough to indicate that the drug should not be legalized. If legalized, a number of side effects will manifest in a number of ways as discussed in this section.

Effects on the Youth

If marijuana were to be legalized, the youth would fall prey to its overuse because it will be freely available and this will result in a number of negative effects. Effects, such as school dropouts, reduced IQ, and increased antisocial behaviors are likely to increase (Ostergard, 2010).

Cost

Although Caulkins and Bond (2012) state that legalizing marijuana will create revenue through tax, the social costs will be far too much than the revenue. Such costs, according to Whitten (2014), will be in the form of heightened school dropout rates, crimes, emergency room visits, and drug treatment among others.

Economic Development

The work ethics is likely to decrease as a result of tiredness, absenteeism, and lack of teamwork among workers using marijuana, and this will reduce the rate of economic growth (Whitten, 2014).

Environmental Effects

Cultivation of the cannabis plant will increase in various areas, including flower gardens if the drug is made legal and this is likely to affect the environment negatively.

Health

According to the study by Cerdá, Wall, Keyes, Galea, and Hasin (2012), marijuana has a number of negative health effects, including effects on memory, respiratory system, IQ, and coordination among others. Such problems will increase if the drug is made legal.

Science

Scientific studies agree that the drug should not be used for medicinal purpose because there are a number of drugs with minimal side effects that can be used in its place (Phelan, 2010).

Public Safety

Marijuana affects the mood, sense of judgment, and IQ, and thus it can lead to traffic crashes, family neglect, and workplace injuries among others (Phelan, 2010).  

Recommendations

Based on the rationale in the study findings, marijuana has negative effects on health, public safety, cost, economic development, conducts of the youth, social interactions, and environment. As a result, the drug should not be legalized.

Conclusion

Marijuana is a psychoactive drug obtained from the cannabis plant and intended to be used as medicine. Focus has been on legalizing its use because of its medicinal value. However, this study recommends that the drug should not be legalized. This is because there is no scientific agreement on its effectiveness. Moreover, the drug has negative effects on health, public safety, cost, economic development, conducts of the youth, environment, and social interactions.

 

References

Caulkins, J. P., & Bond, B. M. (2012). Marijuana Price Gradients: Implications for Exports and Export-Generated Tax Revenue for California After Legalization. Journal of Drug Issues, 42(1), 28-45. doi:10.1177/0022042612436650

Cerdá, M., Wall, M., Keyes, K. M., Galea, S., & Hasin, D. (2012). Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: Investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 120(1-3), 22-27. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.06.011

Haney, M. (2009). Self-administration of cocaine, cannabis and heroin in the human laboratory: benefits and pitfalls. Addiction Biology, 14(1), 9-21.

Hayaki, J., Hagerty, C. E., Herman, D. S., de Dios, M. A., Anderson, B. J., & Stein, M. D. (2010). Expectancies and marijuana use frequency and severity among young females. Addictive Behaviors, 35(11), 995-1000.

Ostergard, M. (2010). Should Marijuana Be Legalized? Can Renewable Energy Replace Fossil Fuels? School Library Journal, 56(11), 135.

Phelan, C. (2010). Should Marijuana Be Legalized? Booklist, 107(4), 46.

Whitten, T. E. (2014). Under the Guise of Reform: How Marijuana Possession Is Exposing the Flaws in the Criminal Justice System’s Guarantee of a Right to the Jury Trial. Iowa Law Review, 99(1), 919-955.