By: I. Kotler
For the last few years, the legalization of marijuana is known as a topic which generates many controversial debates. Some will argue that the legalization of the drug will improve the country’s social and economic situation as it can increase the government’s tax revenue as well as create more jobs and decrease criminal activity. Others will argue that it would have a negative affect towards the public health as it will “encourage” people to smoke, therefore, increasing the number of addicts. With the innovation of technology and scientific researches, the usefulness of medical marijuana was proved thus, changing the public’s view on the drug for recreational and medical use. However, there are still many issues regarding regulations and public health. Under international laws, cultivation, supply and possession of cannabis should be allowed for “medical and scientific purpose”. This led to many protests worldwide both for and against the legalization of the drug. As a result, governments have revised their laws and set agendas to align with the population’s desires.
According to the UN, the efforts of the global movement to reform marijuana policies will have four demands. That agency mentions that countries should, “Firstly, agree with the UN on a common effort and a coordinated action plan to fill the gap in availability of and access to substances for medical use. Secondly, create a technical working group aiming at analyzing the key objectives of the international system for the fiscalization of drugs, intending to agree on a new, comprehensive approach in 2019. Thirdly, create a consultative group of experts who would analyze the tensions currently existing in the structure of the UN drugs control system. And fourth, establish a solid mechanism for governments and professionals to share optimal practices and experiences.”
The controversial side about legalizing marijuana is the negative impact on the public’s health and safety. Whilst the drug is less addictive than some others which are legal, researches have presented hesitancy in withdrawal, meaning that people will most likely develop dependence and those who become addicted are unable to control their use of it consequently, raising risks for many health problems. As an example, smoked marijuana can increase the person’s heart rate by 20 to 100% for about three hours after it is smoked which can lead to a heart attack.
On the other hand, the legalization of marijuana brings impacts in the economy of the country. In the United States, for example, legalization of the drug has had a better outcome than expected. In Colorado, it was collected $135 million in taxes and fees on medical and recreational marijuana. The expectation is that this number triples until 2021. Along with having profit, the government also creates more jobs presenting positive outcomes of this legalization in the economy.
Overall, it is still a matter that needs to be discussed carefully all around the world so that all governments come to their own solutions which benefits their country and the public health.