Richard M. Nixon, the former president of the United States of America, was a controversial president, who ended his presidency in a controversial way. It seems only fare to open a topic that is controversial as the former president himself. Should marijuana be legalized?
A debate about marijuana legalization, although not a scientific one, on debate.org (website that organizes debates about different topics) does provide some insight about different views for and against legalization. A simple Google search will yield many results covering this ongoing debate as well as many scientific articles that either argue or just provide research or experiment results concerning marijuana production and consumption.
To better understand the topic about marijuana legalization, let us first describe what marijuana is. First of all, it is understandable that many believe that marijuana and cannabis refer to the same thing. While this is true when it is referred to as a psychoactive drug, botanically speaking, cannabis is the correct term. Cannabis is a plant that belongs in the Cannabaceae family of plants in the order Rosales. According to the Oxford English dictionary, the word marijuana could have roots in the Spanish word, meaning prisoner (Oxford English Dictionary).
As far as history records go, in terms of cannabis, the cultivation of this plant probably began in ancient China for production of fiber (ElSohly). The first European record dates back to classical Greek times, where the historian Herodotus described the usage of cannabis plant in a burial ceremony (Deitch).
Why is this plant then regarded as controversial? The issues arise from the plant’s chemical content. Marijuana is formed with over 400 chemical compounds of which delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol a.k.a. THC and cannabidiol a.k.a. CBD are responsible for the psychoactive effects.
Most debates circle around partial or full legalization of marijuana. There are three practical areas where the cannabis plant is mostly argued and discussed; an industrial resource, a treatment in medical purposes and recreational usage. The proponents for legalization argue that marijuana should be legal because it is an environment-friendly industrial resource as well as a good source of medicine, while the opponents argue that it is a psycho-active drug, that causes serious harm to the individual as well as the society in general and it should remain illegal. From the legislative point of view, there are four areas of interest: possession, sale, transport and cultivation of the cannabis plant.
In a newspaper article, George Soros claims that marijuana legislation is not effective and that “marijuana laws are clearly doing more harm than good” (Soros). He continues to claim that the illegality of marijuana did not prevent the increased consumption but rather it has huge costs for governments as well as other negative consequences. On the other side, Charles “Cully” Stimson, a senior legal fellow,...