Marijuana Legalization Essay

1458 words - 6 pages

Legalizing Marijuana: An Ethical Perspective
In today’s society, many ethical concerns arise on a daily basis, especially when it comes to the topic of legalizing marijuana. Many individuals have relied on the fact that marijuana was illegal, when determining whether smoking it should be considered unethical. However, many studies have shown that the effects of marijuana are not as detrimental as they were once made out to be. Legalizing marijuana can be an extremely controversial topic because several people have strong beliefs concerning why it should not be legalized, while a significant amount of people have stronger arguments, as to why it should be legalized. When it comes to looking ...view middle of the document...

Considering the increasing number of patients suffering from such diagnosis, the utilitarian approach shows that legalizing marijuana for medicinal purposes would benefit the greatest number of people.
There are also several ethical concerns when it comes to legalizing marijuana for recreational purposes. So far, two states have legalized marijuana for multiple reasons including medicinal purposes and recreational purposes. Washington and Colorado have implemented state laws governing the use of marijuana for recreational use. The Obama Administration and the Justice Department concluded in a recent announcement that federal agents will not intervene in Washington and Colorado’s new found marijuana laws as long as the states are, “preventing distribution to minors, stopping marijuana from being used as a cover for trafficking other drugs, and enforcing laws against driving under the influence of drugs” (Dinan, 2013, para, 20). Therefore, as long as the states regulate the use and possession of marijuana, according to the previously stated guidelines, the federal government will not intervene with the state’s policies concerning the legalization of marijuana.
The laws passed in Washington and Colorado are the first steps in the direction of decriminalizing marijuana. Those who are caught with an ounce of marijuana or less will not be subject to pay fines nor will they be institutionalized because citizens may legally possess anything less than an ounce. In recent years, the war on drugs has ruined thousands of young lives of those who were caught possessing or using marijuana. Decriminalizing anything less than an ounce of marijuana, when it is being used for recreational purposes, will ensure the judicial systems within the United States are reserved for more serious and/or violent crimes. The authors of Marijuana Legalization stated, “According to the FBI, there were 758,000 marijuana arrests nationwide in 2011, the vast majority for possession” (Sullum, 2013, para. 17). Therefore, most of the individuals who were arrested for marijuana in 2011 were actually arrested on possession charges, which most likely would not even be considered a crime in Washington or Colorado. Studies have shown that over fifty percent of American’s now believe marijuana should be legalized for recreational use because of the benefits outweighing the risks. Paul Armentano, the director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws recently stated, “Today, a majority of Americans espouse ending America's nearly century-long, failed experiment with cannabis prohibition and replacing it with a system of limited legalization and regulation” (PR Newswire, 2012, para. 5). By utilizing limited legalization and regulations on marijuana, less people would be put away for what would normally be considered a crime. In doing so, the future of many young people would be protected against being victims of the war against cannabis.
From an ethical utilitarian...

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