May 05, 2021 4 min read
The reasons why marijuana should be legal are numerous, but the question needs to be explored through multiple points of view in order to uncover all the true reasons for people to believe that marijuana should be legal. A philosophical look into the reasons to legalize weed can bring more light into the essence of the issue with legalization which has been a subject of extensive public discussion in recent years.
First, morality and ethics are two similar systems (or concepts), and both have much to do with the distinction between ‘good’ and ‘bad’, between ‘right’ and ‘wrong’. However, ethics is often seen as a system which refers to more general objective views on what is ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, that is, ethics exists externally of the human beings and ethical codes are posed on people depending on the society, community and even the workplace in which they are.
On the other hand, morals more often refer to the subjective view of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ as understood by the separate individual. That is why it is often thought that a person has their own ‘moral code’. Ethics are usually followed because the certain action is thought of as ‘the right thing to do’ in society, whereas people follow their moral code because they believe that certain things are right and other things are wrong.
Let us investigate the moral and ethical reasons to legalize marijuana.
To say that legalizing marijuana is an ethically sustained statement we need to prove that, objectively, making marijuana legal is a ‘good’ thing. There are several reasons in support of this statement and they all related to the state of society. Legalizing marijuana would ensure that people’s right of free will is respected. Considering that there are far more addictive and dangerous substances which are legal (e.g. certain medication and alcohol), legalizing marijuana would be a ‘good’ thing because its positive impact is far greater than the negative impact.
Another objectively true reasons why marijuana should be legalized is that society could benefit economically from the legalization of weed. Economics experts believe that if marijuana is taxed, just like alcohol and tobacco are, this could generate millions, if not billions, of dollars (or the respective currency of the country) in taxes. In order to do so, governments need to create institutions that would control the distribution of marijuana in society. The money generated from taxes from the distribution of marijuana by the governmental institutions could then be used to educate people on drug use, or could be provided to people in need of education in the first place, or they could be used in numerous other ways which are ‘good’ for society as a whole.
The moral reasons why weed should be legal include the ‘good’ impact for the individual. To say that it is moral to legalize weed could mean that there are subjectively ‘good’ reasons that people believe in. For instance, using marijuana for medical purposes (most often the CBD (cannabidiol) extract from the hemp plant is used) has resulted in positive outcome for individuals (e.g. relieving pain, anxiety, reduce insomnia, and even treat epilepsy). Furthermore, a study by Linda Gilbert shows that a large percent (53%) of people who consume marijuana in California have full-time jobs, have a high income rate per year, participate in outdoor activities at least once a week and practice sports1. Since those people are consumers, it can be said that they personally and subjective have it in their moral code that consuming marijuana is ‘good’. Despite the stigma that exists about consumers as being lazy or ‘stoners’, the study shows that they are actually active and contributing members of society.
There are both objective and subjective reasons to legalize weed. Objective reasons include the possible tax revenue legalization would generate and the positive impact on the state of society as a whole is undeniable (e.g. people’s free will should be respected). Moreover, there are reasons subjective to the individuals to legalize marijuana – consumers are often more active that thought of and marijuana has a positive impact on certain medical conditions that people are experiencing.
The distinction between ‘soft drugs’ and ‘hard drugs’ is a legal and scientific one. The law evaluates the harmfulness of drugs and classifies those that are extremely harmful to individuals as ‘hard drugs’ and those that have minimal negative effects as ‘soft drugs.’ Marijuana is considered a ‘soft drug’ because it is less harmful. By contrast, alcohol is sometimes classified as a hard and other times as a soft drug (depending on the country or state), even though it is legal. The lack of doubt that marijuana is a soft drug is one more reason in favour of marijuana legalization.
1Carreon, Mary (2018) “New Study Highlights The Social Impacts Of Cannabis Legalization In California”, Forbes [online]:https://www.forbes.com/sites/marycarreon/2018/05/17/new-study-highlights-the-social-impacts-of-cannabis-legalization-in-california/?sh=437022572194 (Accessed 18 April 2021)
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