In a recent New York Times article, the legalization of marijuana in California was severely put to the test when an employee of a telecommunications company was fired because of failing to pass his company’s mandatory drug test (McKinley). The said employee was suffering from chronic back pain due to a nasty fall and has been using marijuana as prescribed by his doctor. This implies that although marijuana is legalized, its practical implications on job security and the workplace have still to be addressed.
Another article in the Associated Press tells the story of a former narcotics officer who now advocates the legalization of marijuana. His change in viewpoint were due to his experiences in the field which led him to conclude that no matter how many drug busts law enforcers would conduct, people would still “grow it, sell it, smoke it” (AP). He is now making money creating DVD’s on how to cultivate, sell and use Cannabis without getting caught. Analysis and Recommendations The campaign for legalization has instilled an image of marijuana that is harmless and beneficial.
Various web sites offering medical marijuana products and cultivation technologies are aggressively promoting this image in order to make money. What is left out is the fact that marijuana has a high potential for abuse and coupled by its easy cultivation creates a condition where loosening prohibitions may result in higher addiction rates. Even those who use it for medical reasons may develop an addiction to it. The legalization of marijuana is essentially not a moral issue but a public health issue. The promotion of public health should take primacy over the freedom to choose medical marijuana as a treatment option.
As long as there are other available medications effective for treating chronic pain, the liberal public use of marijuana should not be permitted. However, the possibility of developing drugs from marijuana should not be discounted as it would also provide benefits for the public. Thus, the government should initiate and support research by legalizing marijuana use for scientific study purposes only. Through research, methods of isolating the addictive components of marijuana from the final product can be determined.
This will put the issue into proper perspective without the influence individual profit or political agenda.
- Associated Press. “Congress Bid by Ex-Narc Who Backs Pot”. 3 March 2008. 14 March 2008 <http://hosted. ap. org/dynamic/stories/O/ODD_POT_COP_CONGRESS? SITE=WHIZ&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT> Gettman, John. 2008.
- “Marijuana Production in the United States”. The Bulletin of Cannabis Reform. 14 March 2008 <http://www. drugscience. org/bcr/index. html> “MAPS DEA Lawsuit”. 2008. Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Drugs. 14 March 2008 http://www.dfaf.org/marijuana/excuse.php