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The Legality Of Marijuana Essay

1707 words - 7 pages

As members of a sophisticated and modern society, to participate in the day to day social life there are a few things we must act in accordance with. We must follow the natural laws that the societies have placed in order, and must establish guidelines by understanding their moral and ethical obligations. They are the foundations of our day to day life. Whether we choose to obey or disobey the norms and regulations of our social environment is determined by the way we appeal to their distinct morals and ethics.

There are many “ethical situations” in our society on which various people have various different opinions. The legality of marijuana is one such situation in the society regarding ...view middle of the document...

Because of this, Mill's Utilitarianism is commonly referred to as the 'greatest happiness' principle. Hence, in the world of marijuana legalization, a utilitarian would assert that whichever possibility reaches the greatest happiness to all humans are the right action to and the right choice to make.

Kant, however, has a much more extensive approach towards this topic. Kant based his ethical theory on the belief that reason should be used to determine how people ‘ought’ to act i.e. how they should act. The primary formulation of his theory is the 'Categorical Imperative’, which is the motivation to act according to reason. He provides three rules or ‘Formulas’ for the Categorical Imperative. They are that firstly one should only act in a way that everyone in the world will act the same making it a universal law. Secondly that one should only act in such a way that if another person is used, they respect their humanity and do not only use them as a means, but as an end in itself. Finally that an individual must act as though all others are held accountable to his standards. Kant's philosophy is much more disciplined than Mills, with much less emphasis placed on happiness as a goal in itself, but rather something that can occur if the conditions are right through your completion of duties and responsibilities.

Where Kant’s philosophy lacks is where do we gain the ability to accept something as a natural law? If we do, how do we know if it is right or wrong? What is to prevent it from being exploited? The idea of the “Golden Rule” that brings everyone into a pool of right and wrong, in where everyone is given an equal right to fair treatment. It is indiscriminate of race, sex, age, what have you. This is only acceptable if everyone were to subscribe to this rule. What if one particular group imposed superiority over the other? They would not expect to lose that control and be inferior to another race, and certainly not group they are belittling. It is impossible and almost naïve to think that human nature is capable of adhering to one universal principle such as the “Golden Rule.” Whereas the problem with Utilitarianism is that it is a very precise approach to understanding moral judgments. They require accurate measurements of “utility.” Utilitarianism has to make very strong claims on what is right and wrong on a very vague concept such as happiness. Utilitarianism may find more use when determining how a military may provide relief aid to an allied country or determine how much funding an organization may allocate to any given entity. When the “utility” is something more concrete than mental and the idea of benefit is more relative. Utilitarianism would not work in a situation where a hospital must choose between a child and a celebrity both on the waiting list for a lifesaving organ transplant.

The two very different philosophical views react differently to the subject of marijuana legalization. Utilitarianism, for instance, would almost...

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