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OP-ED: Legalizing Marijuana Would Be A Step In The Wrong Direction

A significant portion of arguments on the issue of legalization of marijuana has been pegged o its medicinal value. However, even these potential benefits have been identified to have far-reaching underlying effects on the consumers. Theoretical evidence reveals that the patients in often cases tend to deviate from the prescriptions leading to overconsumption. The future health and psychological consequences are inevitable. Despite the mounting pressure, the government has remained coy on the issue of legalizing marijuana. This stand could be attributed to the negative impacts that the substance has not only on individuals but on society as a whole.

It would be a fact worth noting that the issue of legalization of marijuana has never been viewed much from the perspective of its benefits but the impacts associated with its consumptions (Abel, 2010). Perhaps this explains why most countries around the world are yet to buy the idea of legalization. Even though controlled intake of marijuana laced with other prescriptions can be of medicinal value, it would be essential to note that the consumption of this substance has drastic impacts on the immune system of individuals with other underlying health issues such as HIV and cancer. This finding effectively cancels out its medicinal benefit.

The most significant point of contention, however, is the adverse effects associated with marijuana. There is a distinct correlation between excessive marijuana consumption, crime, and poverty. 

It can be deduced that a high percentage of those who consume the substance in uncontrolled amounts come from the lowest level in the social hierarchy. This further explains the increased rate of crime and other forms of deviant behaviors among the less fortunate in society. The homeless and slum dwellers lead the list among the highest consumers. Marijuana has brought about drastic effects. It has caused the separation of families. According to the social strain theory, deviance among the poor emerges as a result of the gap between the cultural emphasis on economic success and the inability to achieve such success legitimately. The increased rate of unemployment has set a precedence for idleness among the youths creating room for substance abuse and crime.

The illustrations above reveal the downside of marijuana even before its legalization. Its impacts on immune systems and rational decision making are present under the umbrella of ‘hidden use.” Imagine a situation where it was legalized? Predictably, there would be an increased crime, escalated deviance, destruction of family structures, and poverty.

As outlined by Gans, one of the functions of poverty is that the poor take the lead role in participation in uninhibited sexual, narcotic, and alcoholic behavior. To uphold the legitimacy of conventional norms, the poor are identified and punished, whether as alleged or real deviants. The poor are also used to tools by those above them to maintain their status quo. Because the use of marijuana and poverty within the society are entirely dependent elements, it can be deduced that legalizing its use would only serve to escalate the associated effects such as crime and poverty. Gan’s sociological analysis is a timely piece and a good point of reference in the debate on the legalization of marijuana. It mirrors the state in society today, while poverty, crime, and substance abuse continue to significant characteristics in the lower hierarchy; the rich are doing very little to correct these situations. The inferior might, therefore, need to rise and fight for themselves. The sober can rise and join in the war against legalizing marijuana because the approval of its use would only serve to keep the poor in their state.

An empirical study in the US from 2014-2017 revealed that 60% of Americans do not support legalization while 40% do.

References

Abel, E.L. (2010) Marijuana: The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York and London: Plenum Press.

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