Saint Leo University
Legalization of Marijuana There has been a peaceful conflict in this country for many years regarding whether or not to legalize marijuana. This topic has become very popular and relevant in modern American society. While the official position of the U.S government is that marijuana is a dangerous substance that is illegal, many states such as Washington and Colorado have decriminalized the drug. California has largely decriminalized possession, and was infamous for being one of the first states to allow the prescription of the drug for therapeutic application. As the overall topic of the legalization of marijuana is very broad, the information contained herein relates to the positives and negatives of the legalization of medical marijuana
The idea of informed consent largely eliminates many of the dilemmas that arise during the discussion of the ethical or moral implications of medical marijuana use. Laws regarding informed consent have been federally mandated. These types of laws require that patients be made aware of all possible options for treatment of their condition, and that patients then be able to choose the treatment that is preferable to them for treatment. Laws regarding informed consent essentially require that physicians also disclose any information about the treatment that may pose a risk to the patient, the likelihood of the treatment succeeding, how long the treatment will be necessary, and any alternative treatments that will achieve the same results. Once all requirements of informed consent laws have been met, patients are still required to authorize their physician to perform a treatment (Pfeifer, 2011). The autonomy of the patient in regards to treatment is guaranteed through informed consent because the ultimate decision for treatment still rests with the patient.
Medical applications of marijuana have been numerous. Prescription of marijuana treatments has been shown to relieve the symptoms of different medical impairments such as relief of pain or nausea. Medical marijuana is often prescribed to individuals that are undergoing chemotherapy treatments for cancer as it has been shown to inhibit the part of the brain that produces nausea. This therapeutic option allows patients to be able to eat and gain weight while they are undergoing a very invasive procedure through chemotherapy. Marijuana prescription has also been shown to help individuals deal with stress and depression. There have been many different studies regarding the addictiveness of marijuana, and the drug has largely been found to be non-addictive. Studies have found very little difference between individuals that have quit smoking cigarettes or stopped drinking alcohol and those individuals that stop using marijuana.
The main arguments against the legalization of medical marijuana usage revolve around the ethical dilemmas that this prescription will bring about. The position against the legalization of medical marijuana use argues that:
Marijuana is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and doctors that write prescriptions for marijuana therapeutic treatments are in essence rebelling against the established health care community.
The risks involved with marijuana usage do not outweigh any potential benefits of using the drug.
Marijuana is still classified by the federal government of the United States as a Schedule I drug, and as such is a controlled substance. With this classification, any distribution or possession of the drug is