Pros and Cons of Decriminalization of Marijuana


There are certain states in the U.S. that have decriminalized marijuana with some, such as Alaska, Oregon and Colorado, have approved the legislation that will legalize personal cultivation of cannabis and adult consumption of marijuana. Although this is different from legalization of marijuana, decriminalization still considers its use as minor as a traffic offense with no jail time. This might be a welcoming note to some but there are also groups criticizing this law. Here are some of the arguments presented by supporters and critics.

List of Pros of Decriminalization of Marijuana

1. Less Expense for the Government.
Proponents of the decriminalization of marijuana posit that in the states where penalties for small amounts of consumption have been reduced, the costs for arrests have also been reduced since the authorities need not have to conduct more surveillance activities and assign agents to monitor and arrest users. Consequently, there is less expense for the government.

2. Less Violations.
According to some studies, there have been a significant decrease in the number of people arrested for the use of cannabis in states where marijuana has been legalized or decriminalized. One reason is the freedom given for people to decide if they want to consume cannabis or not which somehow lessened the thrill of using the substance.

3. Beneficial to Sick People.
With the decriminalization of the use of cannabis, it will be easier for medical doctors to prescribe the substance for medicinal purposes and at the same time, many people in pain, especially children and adults will be given the right to live without pain and be spared from the pain brought about by their medical conditions.

List of the Cons of Decriminalization of Marijuana

1. Proliferation of Substance Abuse.
Critics argue that if the consumption of cannabis for personal use will be permitted with lesser or no fines and infractions, it will be a slippery slope since people will be bolder in using it for recreational purposes. They are concerned that this can also lead to dependence on other substances that are more harmful to the health such as cocaine and methamphetamines.

2. Increase Crime Rate.
Opponents of the law claim that the use of marijuana has side effects like loss of appetite and altered thoughts. If there will be lesser penalties for its use, people will be encouraged to access and consume the substance which can lead to more people committing crimes like theft to provide for the purchase and other serious crimes. Also, this can lead to more people being curious and experimenting on its use, thus, resulting to more consumption.

3. Leads to Harm and Health Problems.
Critics of the decriminalization of marijuana emphasize the health issues that can be a result of the excessive use of the substance. Apart from it being the most abused substance in the United States, the use of marijuana has adverse effects that are immediate and long-term. People who consume marijuana can have impaired driving skills that can lead to road accidents harming not only the user but other people. Also, for people using marijuana for a long time, there can be more serious threats like heart diseases and lung-related health problems.

Although marijuana can be used for medicinal purposes, this should be a case-to-case basis since abuse can also result to medical problems. Having said this, the argument of decriminalizing marijuana should really continue and concerned legislators must ensure that it is for the benefit of the majority.