Marijuana usage has led to a diverse opinion from scholars with intensive research taking root in the understanding of the drug. The evidence provided on both sides is strong because several beneficial outcomes are being proposed to the usage cannabis. Currently, the consumption of marijuana is prohibited in many countries but with the emergence of new knowledge on the subject, a debate has cropped with some activists suggesting that it should be approved for human use. The main basis of their proposal that has been written with the help of , is that it has the benefit of countering insomnia. Such claims, however, fail to realize the magnitude of social cost that is also associated with the use of cannabis. These effects range from both internal and external, implying that both the user and his immediate society are affected. The greatest concern for the user is that it causes then to develop health problems with the most notable being respiratory problems. Taking a wider outlook, the external consequences to the family due to the tension of interacting with marijuana victims is a major concern. In addition, the social cost of reduced labor due to loss of lives is a troubling factor for the government. In fact, the network of the internal and external effects is so close that it is difficult to draw a boundary on the limits of either side. These and other adverse effects have led to the maintenance of the stance that marijuana should not be legalized for human consumption.
Social Costs of Marijuana Legalization
Many drugs that have a more adverse effect that the positive outcomes have been banned for human consumption. However, marijuana has been subject to debate with studies indicating that cannabis, as it is known in the medical field has its associated health benefits including pain alleviation and treating insomnia (Webb & Webb, 2014). Because of this, some bodies have voiced the idea that the drug should be legalized for the society to realize the full benefits it has to the human health. However, despite any positive outcome that could be suggested for marijuana, its use remains a health concern for the whole society because of the social costs that it causes to its victims and close associates.
The main social cost that marijuana causes can be classified into two main classes depending on who gets affected. In the case of the consumer of the product suffering the consequences, the effects are said to be internal. However, in the scenario where the effects are felt by the third party, either the family of the victim of the society, the effects are classified as external. The main internal costs that have could rise greatly if the drug is to be legalized are the negative health impacts. Glauser (2012, p. 17) asserts that studies have indicated that a daily user of marijuana has a 19 percent higher likelihood of developing respiratory complaints than a non-smoker. Other health effects that can be linked to cannabis usage include problems with learning, coordination, problem solving, judgment, mood, among many other negative impacts that could greatly rise if the drug was to be legalized (Governor’s Office of Drug Control Policy, n.d.). The society would thus end up with increased spending and intensive social efforts including counseling to victims to help them cope with academic work and interaction challenges.
Other than the effects that directly impact on the user, the other major concern about approving the usage of the cannabis is that it causes external effects. In this class, there are two major classes including the consequences to the family and the government. The main concern for the family is that users of marijuana have consistently displayed unethical behavior that is unacceptable in the society. It is stated that the main problems have been felt within the domestic setting with family tensions being the major topic of contention (Beckett & Herbert, 2010, p. 37). It must be emphasized however that such effects are due to the internal effects such as lowered judgment, which makes it hard for the victim to differentiate good from bad behavior.
The other major concern against the idea of permitting the usage of marijuana is that it leads to loss of lives thereby reducing the government’s workforce. As stated before, the external effects are due to the indirect correlation to the internal consequences. According to Glauser, (2012, p. 20) accidents due to poor judgment are the major threat to the government because research has shown that usage if cannabis increased the probability of injuries to the user by 30 percent. Because of the close association with the internal effects, it is difficult to quantify the external consequences that could result from legalizing the controversial drug (Glauser, 2012, p. 21).
In conclusion, marijuana usage has been subject to debate because of the positive outcome it has been shown to display of late. However, any positive effect is dwarfed by the realization that there exist both internal and external impacts to both the user and the society respectively. The main internal impact is that it leads to health concerns to the user. On a wider perspective usage of marijuana has led to poor interaction with family members. Still on the external perspective, usage of cannabis leads to poor judgment and hence resulting in accidents, which reduced a government’s manpower. Because of these social costs, it is suggested that marijuana remains illegal until studies prove that the positive outcomes outdo the negatives.