Current Drug Policy in the United States

Powerful Essays
One of the aspects of current drug policy in the United States that continues to provide

tension and a level of debate is why certain drugs, such as nicotine, are allowed to be produced

and consumed within government regulation whereas other drugs, such as marijuana, are

completely and entirely outlawed by the federal government. One might say that the reason

for such a differential has to do with the overall level of harm differential that exists between

these two drugs; however, when one considers the fact that both drugs are ultimately damaging

to one’s health – if inhaled – the level of differential between them, from a quality of health

standpoint, is negligible. Within such an understanding, the following paper will seek to compare

and contrast the effects of both nicotine and marijuana. Moreover, an analysis of the different

government policies and regulations that constrain their usage, alongside a discussion of the

health risks that using these substances create. It is the hope of this essay to give the reader a

more definitive understanding of current drug policy and whether or not it represents an effective

and ethical response to issues of public health in current society and sway ones thinking on the

current illegalization of marijuana within the United States.

A great deal of debate has centered on the use of marijuana as a means of treating

a variety of medical conditions; most notably with regards to terminally ill patients that are

working to deal with a host of pain management problems. However, the overall legitimacy of

marijuana as both a drug and a treatment plan is an issue that is slightly more unknown than

either side of the debate would likely let on. The fact of the mat...

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...ere merely aware of how much money could be returned to government

coffers in the event that it was legalized” (Brannon 16). Moreover, this money can very well be

applied to public health and seek to decrease the problems that are already seen within society.

Although there is not a singular approach that will solve all the problems that can

be caused by the use of illicit substances, or even of legal substances such as alcohol or tobacco,

it is painfully evident, the current policy does not have a justifiable moral, ethical, or illegal

grounding. Drugs, by their very nature, are damaging to the individual as addiction is able to be

seen and the individual user becomes numb to the physiological and health effects. However, a

level of legality or illegality for such an action has little bearing with regards to the choice that

the individual will make.