The most primary and first reason as to why marijuana should be legalized is that each individual has the right to choose for themselves. From a philosophical perspective, people have the right to choice. The authorities have the right to regulate these choices only if the action of an individual endangers another person. Marijuana use is at the free will of a person and therefore restricting marijuana use is invading the right to choice. In addition, the authorities also have the right to restrict a person if his/her actions pose a considerable threat to that him/herself. However, this argument does not apply to marijuana use as it is far less hazardous as compared to other drugs which are legal such as tobacco and alcohol (Parloff 50).
In addition, legalization will promote religious freedom. Similar to how Judaists and Christians use wine on some occasions, Rastafarians, Buddhists, and Hindus use marijuana on some occasions as part of religious and spiritual ceremonies. Legalization will therefore allow these religions to practice their ceremonies freely; this is conformance with the amendment that allows free exercise of religion in the American constitution.
- High cost of illegalizing marijuana use
If marijuana was legalized, it would save the government a lot of effort and resources used in fighting marijuana. Considerable effort and resources are used in the prohibition of cultivation and use of the drug. For instance, thermal imaging devices are used to identify hot lighting, and examination of waste matter and trash. In addition, governments usually analyze purchases made with credit cards in attempting to trace purchases of hydroponic devices, and also examination of energy bills so as to identify usage trends of growers of marijuana. In America, states spend billions of dollars at all levels in their war on drugs. This money is spent in prosecuting individuals who are imprisoned, and the tax payers have to pay for their court costs, attorney fees, healthcare, housing, and food. These costs could save the governments a lot of money (Klein 3)
- Revenue from taxing marijuana
The legalization of marijuana can yield a lot of revenue in terms of tax. The government will generate a lot of revenue which can be directed into more important causes. It is approximated that the cultivation of marijuana in California has the potential of yielding about $1.4 billion in taxes in this state alone. Additionally, this would have a positive economic impact as it would generate many jobs in advertising, marketing, packaging, and agriculture (Gieringer 46).
- Medicinal use of marijuana
Marijuana has numerous medical benefits; importantly it is used by patients who are undergoing chemotherapy to alleviate pain and relieve nausea. It is also used by patients suffering from depression. Marijuana is also used to increase appetite for patients with AIDS.
- The failure of prohibition
The prohibition of marijuana has failed because it does not in any way help a country; in fact it causes many problems. There has been no conclusive evidence to show that the ban on marijuana decreases its use, theories have even suggested that prohibition can even increase the use of marijuana. In spite of the efforts and resources used in prohibition, marijuana is becoming more potent, cheaper, and accessible. In American high schools, the drug is becoming very popular because it is readily available. Being illegal, it is even easier for students to get marijuana as opposed to getting alcohol, as alcohol is legal and this means that it is regulated for such students. An effective approach to reduce the consumption of drugs would be to concentrate on honest and open programs (Armentano, Tvert and Fox 196)