Marijuana Utilitarianism Essay

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End Marijuana Prohibition Now! A Utilitarian Perspective Robert Harding PHI 1603 Professor Andrews 5/4/2014 Marijuana has been linked with both medical and recreational use for nearly 10,000 years. This dates back to the writings of Chinese emperor Shen Nung stating that the plant was useful as a medical treatment for several ailments including gout, malaria and even senility. Later, it was also used in India and the Middle East for recreational purposes as an alternative to alcohol which is forbidden by the Muslim faith. This paper will argue, applying a Utilitarian perspective, for the benefits of legalizing marijuana in the United States. It will conclude that marijuana is no more of a health hazard than legal substances such as alcohol and tobacco nor does it contribute to an increase in crime. Marijuana use and possession has been illegal across all states since the passing of the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. However, its usage and abuse were relegated more to the minority populations and had little to do with most of mainstream America. Laws were in place to punish offenders and since most were minorities at the time, there was little to no sympathy for the sentences being handed out from the courts. The outcry from those in mainstream America didn’t come until the 1970’s during President Richard Nixon’s proclaimed “War on Drugs.” This followed a massive increase in drug use during the 1960’s. People blamed the music of the era, politics and mostly the war in Vietnam for the sudden spike in users and ultimately abusers. The difference was that this time it wasn’t just isolated to the minority communities. Educated Caucasian students and even professionals had begun to use drugs and were very open about it. Thi... ... middle of paper ... ...ill rage on for years to come. There will probably be many more studies conducted to ascertain the benefits and hazards in areas such as physical and mental effects, medical benefits and criminal activity with the same mixed results dependent on who is conducting the study. The nation will look to the states of Colorado and Washington to determine whether it is practical to expand legalization to more states across the country and eventually at the federal level. However, with all that said, ultimately it comes back to the fact that marijuana is equal to or less dangerous and addictive than alcohol, tobacco and caffeine and it is time for the United States government to end its prohibition. Prohibition did not work in the 1920’s and it is not working today. All the government is doing is senselessly ruining peoples’ lives with their absurd and ineffective laws.
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