Marijuana, also spelled marihuana, is the most commonly used illegal drug in the world.(Glrolier Multimedia Encyklopedia) It is used in a lot of countries by a large number of people. Marijuana is a drug made from the dried leaves and flowering tops of the hemp plant, which has many psychological effects. People usually smoke marijuana in cigarettes or pipes, but it can also be mixed with food and beverages. Almost all nations, including Slovakia, have laws that prohibit the cultivation, distribution, possession, and use of marijuana. Governments throughout the world do not want to legalize the use of marijuana because of several arguments such as : it is a first step to hard drugs, it causes addiction, and it is a large cause of crime. However, the politicians are wrong.
This paper deals with the legalization of marijuana in Slovakia. It deals with problems which could be solved if marijuana were legal. This paper does not discuss legalization of other kinds of drugs, only the advantages conected with the legalization of marijuana. These advantages could give life in Slovakia more quality and comfor. It discuss problems such as crime, economic damages, help for sick patients, and medicine.
Prohibitionisbyfar the largest cause ofcrime
Prohibition does not have any of its intended effects. While crime rates soar, the number of drug users increases, and the health problem is made worse. Worldwide, annual drug profits are in excess of 400 billion dollars. This is 8 percent of the world economy, and 80 percent of all criminal activitys. In the United States, the War on Drugs has caused a fivefold increase in annual criminal profits in the past 10 years.(Bordes 1998) Such problems do not appear only in the U.S.A, but also in other countries. In many countries, corruption related to the drug trade has become a fact of life, and public safety is endangered by armed gangs fighting over turf. In major cities, 80 percent of petty crime is related to drugs. ( Join the legalize). One of these drugs is marijuana, but it does not have to be. Politicians argue that people who begin with a joint would end with heroin. However, that is not the truth because cannabis does not cause addiction. So there is no reason to take other harder drugs to still the appetite.
If marijuana is legal, the police would save a lot of energy and time which could be spent more effectively in the war against hard drugs and mafia. Statistics have proven that the 20-year-old drug policy in the Netherlands had success. “About 700,000 people in the Netherlads use soft drugs at least once a month, according to the Dutch Health Ministry; some 25,000 people, or about 1.6 percent of population, are said to be addicted, mostly heroin. This compares with an estimated 160,000 addicts in France, or 2.8 percent of the population; 200,000 in Germany, or 1.5 percent; and 175,000 in Italy, or 3 percent.” (Gross, 1997, p 40.) One of the lowest rates of hard drug addiction is in the Netherlands, and in the Netherlands the use of soft drugs is legal. So that means that if legalization saved at least a few people from hard drug addiction, it would be a big success. By reducing the rate of hard drug addicted people, drug-related crime and the number of drug dealers would also be reduced what is one of the goals of legalization.
It is time to stop arresting responsible marijuana smokers. Arresting these otherwise law-resposible citizens can destroy everything: their private lives and can cause enormous harm to the lives, careers, and families of more than hundreds of marijuana smokers arrested each year in this country. Marijuana smokers are no different from their non-smoking citizens, except for their marijuana use. Like most other Slovak citizens, they are responsible citizens who work hard, raise families, contribute to their communities, and want a safe, crime-free neighbourhood in which to live. They are not part of the crime problem and should not be treated like criminals. Responsible marijuana use causes no harm to society and should be of no interest to state and police. (Power,1999, p22)
The legalisation of marijuana would reduce police work, save their time and energy, and also make the life of responsible marijuana smokers more pleasant and comfortable.
The economic and financial damages
The economic and financial damage caused by prohibition is huge. The economy is distorted by huge flows of criminal money, and some nations have become highly dependent on illegal trade. Money is wasted fighting the crime that prohibition itself creates. For example “ In the United States, 15 billion dollars are fed into the federal drug control budget anually, and the total costs of property damage, police work and incarceration are a multiple of this amount.“ ( Join the lagalize.) .
Hemp can also be used for industrial purposes.
Hemp is one of nature’s strongest and most versatile agricultural crops and has many commercial uses. Various parts of the plant may be utilized for making paper, textiles, cosmetics, paints, clothing, foodstuffs, and animal feed. It produces a much higher yield per acre than substitutes such as wood pulp and cotton and requires no pesticides. Cultivating hemp can help Slovak agriculture which also means the Slovak economy. If marijuana is legal, police will save a huge amount of money by not arresting marijuana smokers. On the other hand, our country could not only save money, but it could also make a lot of money with legalization. By opening hundreds of coffee shops in which marijuana could be sold, Slovakia could not only reduce the number of unemployed people, but taxed marijuana could also bring a lot of money to the federal budget. Another source of income for the Slovak federal budget could be tourism (drug tourism) as it is in the Netherlands. The Netherlands is visited yearly by thousands of tourist, who visit this land only to enjoy the use of drugs without fear of being arrested. Comparing the Netherlands and Slovakia, Slovakia has much more to offer than the Netherlands. Slovak nature, mountains, and customs are richer than in Holland so it can be expected that Slovakia would become one of the most popular countries among marijuana-willing tourists.
Decreasing the financial damages caused by prohibition, helping Slovak agriculture, reducing the rate of unemployment, taxing marijuana, and increasing the rate of tourists visiting Slovakia could be a big help for the Slovak economy.
Help for medicine and sick patients
Marijuana prohibition applies to everyone, including the sick and dying. Of all the negatives of prohibition, none is as tragic as the denial of medicinal marijuana. Thousands of seriously ill patients could benefit from its use. This includes cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, AIDS patients suffering from “wasting syndrome, “ glaucoma patients, and those suffering from chronic pain, rheumatoid arthri-tis and a variety of spastic conditions such as multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, quadriplegia, and epilepsy.(Freihsl, 1998, p 21)
Marijuana should be immediately made available by prescription to seriously ill patients. There are a lot of examples which show, that there is only one drug which can really help treat ill patients or some illnesses, and it is marijuana. However, it is really sad that sick people become criminals just because they try to treat their illness.
Instead of spending money arresting marijuana smokers, this society should build institutes in which scientists could study the medical use of marijuana. The actual health problem which prohibition is supposed to solve is lower in comparison to other health problems. Tobacco causes 6 percent of all deaths in the world. In Slovakia, 11,000 people die from tobacco each year: 4,000 from alcohol. Society tries to solve the health problems caused by tobacco and alcohol by regulation and education. This is the best solution for health problems related to drugs as well. Prohibition can never solve the drug problem as well as education. If marijuana is not be legalized for common use, it should at least be legalized for medical use. Marijuana is a big and very often sole help for treating some serious and painfull illnesses.
This paper deals with the advantages which legalization of marijuana could bring. These could help the Slovak economy, health, medicine, reduction of crime. These could positively influence life in the whole society and influence the life of all individuals. Marijuana smokers put leaders of countries under pressure by asking for your rights and legalization. And they should not end till they get what they want. As Thomas Jefferson said in 1776
"The oppressed should rebel,
and they will continue to rebel and raise disturbance
until their civil rights are fully restored to them
and all partial distinctions, exclusions and incapacitations
List of sourses
Bordes, P. (1998, October) Drugs: surveillance or punishment? UNESCO Courier [Online]. InfoTrac Expanded Academic ASAP. [2000, January 30]. Freihsl, R.(1998, November 21) Praventive legaliesierung. Standart
Gorodetzky, CH. Marijuana. Grolier Multimedia Encyklopedia
Gross, R. C. (1997, March 17) Dutch claim drug policy works, but agree to stricter enforcement. Insight on the News. [Online]. Infotrac Expanded Academic ASAP [2000, January,30].
Join the legalize. The prohibition of drugs must end .[www document] URL ,http://www.legalize. org> [2000-02-12]
Power, C. (1999, Novenber 1) Europe just says maybe. Newsweek, p. 20-25.