Skip to content

Why Should We Legalize Weed Essay

Are you writing an essay or working on a speech or presentation about why marijuana should be legal? If so, this page is for you. We get a lot of requests from students who say: "I'm working on a paper for school -- could you tell me why marijuana should be legal?" Well, here it is. If you are writing an essay or giving a speech, you should carefully consider these arguments and make them your main focus. Also make sure to check our Sources and Books pages for reference materials.

Liberty: people deserve freedom to use marijuana.

The first and most basic reason that marijuana should be legal is that there is no good reason for it not to be legal. Some people ask 'why should marijuana be legalized?" but we should ask "Why should marijuana be illegal?" From a philosophical point of view, individuals deserve the right to make choices for themselves. The government only has a right to limit those choices if the individual's actions endanger someone else. This does not apply to marijuana, since the individual who chooses to use marijuana does so according to his or her own free will. The government also may have a right to limit individual actions if the actions pose a significant threat to the individual. But this argument does not logically apply to marijuana because marijuana is far less dangerous than some drugs which are legal, such as alcohol and tobacco.
SUMMARY: Individuals deserve the right to decide whether or not they should use marijuana. The government should not tell individuals what to do as long as they do not harm others.

Cost: keeping marijuana illegal is expensive.

The second important reason that marijuana should be legal is that it would save our government lots of money. In the United States, all levels of government (federal, state, and local authorities) participate in the "War on Drugs." We currently spend billions of dollars every year to chase peaceful people who happen to like to get high. These people get locked up in prison and the taxpayers have to foot the bill. We have to pay for food, housing, health care, attorney fees, court costs, and other expenses to lock these people up. This is extremely expensive! We could save billions of dollars every year as a nation if we stop wasting money locking people up for having marijuana. In addition, if marijuana were legal, the government would be able to collect taxes on it, and would have a lot more money to pay for effective drug education programs and other important causes.
SUMMARY: We would have more money to spend on important problems if marijuana were legal.

Failure: prohibition doesn't help.

The third major reason that marijuana should be legal is because prohibition does not help the country in any way, and causes a lot of problems. There is no good evidence that prohibition decreases drug use, and there are several theories that suggest prohibition might actually increase drug use (i.e. the "forbidden fruit" effect, and easier accessibility for youth). One unintended effect of marijuana prohibition is that marijuana is very popular in American high schools. Why? Because it is available. You don't have to be 21 to buy marijuana -- marijuana dealers usually don't care how old you are as long as you have money. It is actually easier for many high school students to obtain marijuana than it is for them to obtain alcohol, because alcohol is legal and therefore regulated to keep it away from kids. If our goal is to reduce drug consumption, then we should focus on open and honest programs to educate youth, regulation to keep drugs away from kids, and treatment programs for people with drug problems. But the current prohibition scheme does not allow such reasonable approaches to marijuana; instead we are stuck with 'DARE' police officers spreading lies about drugs in schools, and policies that result in jail time rather than treatment for people with drug problems. We tried prohibition with alcohol, and that failed miserably. We should be able to learn our lesson and stop repeating the same mistake.
SUMMARY: Prohibition does not work. Education and treatment are better ways to address the drug problem.

There are plenty of other reasons why marijuana should be legal. Just to name a few:

  1. Medicinal use: Marijuana can be used as medicine because it helps to stimulate apetite and relieve nausea in cancer and AIDS patients.
  2. Hemp: The hemp plant is a valuable natural resource. Legalizing marijuana would eliminate the confusion surrounding hemp and allow us to take advantage of hemp's agricultural and industrial uses.
  3. Religious Use:Some religions instruct their followers to use marijuana. Just like Christianity and Judaism instruct their followers to drink wine on certain occaisions, some Hindus, Buddhists, Rastafarians, and members of other religions use marijuana as part of their spiritual and religious ceremonies. These people deserve the freedom to practice their religion as they see fit. The First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says that the government cannot 'prohibit the free exercise' of religion, and so marijuana should be legal.

The number of people pointing out to the numerous reasons why marijuana should be legal is growing daily. It is exactly in March of 2016 that the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research has reported that 61% of Americans are actually supporting the legalization of this particular drug. The awareness is growing within the minute but the legalizations still move slowly, with only four states and the District of Columbia legalizing marijuana in the United States.

In order to properly argument the topic, I would first like to point out to the various systems of marijuana legalization. Netherlands is the source of the biggest taboos on a worldwide level, starting from prostitution and euthanasia to same-sex marriages. The Netherlands did not only make prostitution one of the most profitable, legitimate industries in the country, but also allowed the sale of cannabis in 1976. At this point, there are over 1,200 licensed shops that sell cannabis every day.

A completely different type of legalization is the one done in Holland. In Holland, dealers who operate illegally are criminally charged, while all drug use is allowed to people over the age of 18. Here, drug use is controlled with the set daily limit of 5 grams. ‘Here, you don’t have to go to jail if you’re a marijuana smoker,” says the American psychologist Art Lecesse. “The goal is to try to keep young people in particular away from the criminal drug environment that may get them involved with the harder drugs such as cocaine and heroin.”

But should all drugs really be legal? Is the right move to legalize only marijuana or should we put a stop on forbidding people to use any type of drug? The fact is, marijuana is not nearly as dangerous as other drugs such as cocaine. Still, how come marijuana is forbidden for use and other dangerous prescribed drugs are not?

As with any other important subject, marijuana legalization also comes with many pros and cons, the biggest con being the negative impact this drug has on the health of people. According to this belief, smoking any substance can have a bad effect on the IQ, memory, problem-solving skills and increase the chances of mental illnesses. However, there are very few facts that confirm the latest claim. Actually, the health benefits are one of the 3 reasons why marijuanas should be legal, according to the proponents of the idea.

The Dutch minister of health says that ‘ People have died from tobacco and alcohol, from heroin, from cocaine. But never from cannabis’. Additionally, there are certain health benefits that come from using cannabis, which is why there is such thing as medical marijuanas. Marijuana used for medicinal purposes is known to reduce glaucoma and help people go through chemo. According to an article by Discovery Health, marijuana is also known to relieve nausea and have a certain effect on the brain. Also, the marijuana’s effect on the brain allows for release in muscle tension and chronic pain.

Even though over-consumption can lead to some problems, there is not a single account of death from marijuana overdose. Many legal things are a much more common cause of death than marijuana. It is actually estimated that 38,329 people died from drug overdose in 2010, out of which 60% were related to prescribed drugs. In the same year, 25,692 people died of alcohol related causes. If this is the case, how come the world has decided to ban marijuana instead of tobacco?

The second reason why marijuana should be legal is the cost. According to official estimates, over 700,000 people were arrested 2014 for marijuana offenses and this is only on the area of the United States. This makes the costs for enforcement taxes extremely high, something that would be avoided if marijuana were to become legal. According to an ACLU report of 2013, taxpayers shelled out up to $6 billion to cover both the enforcement and incarceration of people who illegally use this drug.

Aside from helping us save money, some say that legalization of marijuana can actually make an upwards of $7 billions! The legalization is not only predicted to do this, but will actually create a taxable industry and create thousands new legit job positions.

The third point of this marijuana essay that supports the idea is addiction itself. With addiction being one of the biggest cons introduced by the opponents of the idea, this is actually an interesting twist. Marijuana dependence is existing, but is a real breeze when compared to prescription pills, alcohol overuse, caffeine and even sugar. According to Dr.Sanjay Gupta, the Chief Medical Correspondent of CNN, there are 9 to 10 percent of adults who became dependent to marijuana, while 20% of all cocaine users become dependent. According to him, the biggest enemy is the tobacco, with over 30% of all its users becoming addicted.

This third point does not mean that marijuana is completely safe for use, which is why any proper marijuana legalization should be carefully crafted to limit people in marijuana consumption. However, why would people be allowed to smoke a cigarette after a meal and not be allowed to use marijuana for pleasure, since it is actually tobacco that makes more people addicted? And not only this. Marijuana is actually forbidden for use as an illegal, unhealthy drug, when people die every day from alcohol abuse, prescribed medications and overdose from other illegal drugs.

Considering that the laws against marijuana did not make any specific change, it is safe to say that legalization will not increase the use of this drug greatly. The only thing it will do is reduce the cost for prosecution of people who already use the marijuana and create a whole new industry where this drug could be better controlled.
The nation seems to be coming to its senses and many countries start to make marijuana legal. Considering all these factors, this is something every country must consider.

Sources:
1. http://www.apnorc.org/projects/Pages/HTML%20Reports/american-attitudes-toward-substance-use-in-the-united-states.aspx
2. https://www.unodc.org/documents/ungass2016/Contributions/Civil/Transform-Drug-Policy-Foundation/Cannabis-policy-in-the-Netherlands.pdf
3. http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v01/n1607/a05.html?3681
4. http://cannabisnews.com/news/10/thread10754.shtml
5. http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/drugs-alcohol/5-common-uses-of-medical-cannabis.htm
6. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/09/03/marijuana-deaths_n_3860418.html
7. https://ucr.fbi.gov/crime-in-the-u.s/2014/crime-in-the-u.s.-2014/persons-arrested/browse-by/national-data
8. https://www.aclu.org/files/assets/aclu-thewaronmarijuana-rel2.pdf
9. http://www.cnbc.com/id/36179677
10. http://www.cnn.com/2013/08/08/health/gupta-changed-mind-marijuana/