Currently, there are many critics of the said law who advocate the legalization of marijuana. In fact, ten states (California, Colorado, Maine, Minnesota, Mississippi, Nebraska, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, and Oregon) have started to decriminalize it by imposing fines instead for possession rather the jail time as punishment. There are sectors who argue that the substance is not harmful and, hence, should be excluded from the illegal narcotics classification, in effect, criminalizing its possession. This paper will investigate whether this argument has merit and that it is reasonable to decriminalize its possession and use.
There are two major arguments behind the call to legalize marijuana. The first is the reasoning that it is not harmful to health. Proponents often cite medical studies and research that find marijuana as a safe drug. For example, there is the Drug Enforcement Administration own administrative judge Francis Young, who declared in his 1988 decision to recommend marijuana’s legalization that: “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substance known to mankind” (Barton 64). In this respect, Gieringer, Rosenthal and Carter (2008) further underscored that in animal experiments, the lethal dose of cannabis would be approximately 20,000 to 40,000 times than that of the normal dose and would require the intake of 40-80 pounds of marijuana (1). They referred to the current statistics that, so far, no fatality has ever been recorded out of cannabis overdose.
The second point often cited by those in favor of legalizing marijuana is that this issue has become akin to the situation during the Prohibition era when the ban of alcohol has resulted to crime and corruption. The idea is that by legalizing cannabis, a source of funds would be denied on the criminal organizations that currently profit enormously from the underground trade. In addition, says Gomberg