The state of Arizona recently joined the other 15 states in the U.S which has already enacted the medical marijuana Act. Considering its dual executive status, all the key office holders are elected, unlike in other states and at the federal level where officials are appointed. The holders of these offices are therefore obligated to make policies which specifically suit the state. In the past, the officials have continued to amend and enact new policies which govern the state residents. Among the notable policy which the state of Arizona executives enacted is the Medical Marijuana Act. This act seeks to legalize marijuana consumption though on medical ground. This paper will concentrate on the policy arguments which will incline to both positive and negative impacts of legalizing marijuana.
Having followed the suit of California and other 14 states in the northern American region, Arizona passed the Medical Marijuana Act, with an aim of boosting people’s health status. The move was however faced with a lot of objections as some people felt that marijuana is an addictive drug which could adversely affect the youths. Those in support of the policy argue that marijuana is suitable for patients with severe and chronic diseases such as cancer and HIV/AIDS. It has also been proved medically that marijuana is a safe and effective drug which can be used by people suffering from debilitating medical conditions (Lee Para 3).
It is because of this reason that the Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project was initiated to advocate the use of the herb in preventing and curing these severe and chronic diseases. The project which was funded by Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, however, did not campaign for the Prop. 203bill. However, the state of Arizona went ahead and endorsed the use of marijuana as a medicine for ailments such as Leukemia and Lymphoma.
Since the enactment of the Medical Marijuana Act, many people have come up to question the leadership of the state. Nevertheless, let us first begin by arguing in favor of marijuana use as a medicine. It is argued that marijuana can effectively be substituted for powerful pain killers like Vicodin and Oxycontin. As a result, marijuana can be prescribed to patients suffering with chronic and other severe ailments. However, a long term use of the herb can be detrimental to human health since it causes addiction and at times may result to some physical dependency (Lee Para 5).
A result done by medical practitioners also indicated that the Marinol pills, which are usually prescribed to patients with nausea and loss of appetite, contains THC ingredients which are made of marijuana. However, it is difficult to quantify the dosage when crude marijuana is used as a prescription. Since THC is made of marijuana, it is therefore argued that effective use of marijuana can be of great help to patient suffering from nausea which come as a result of cancer chemotherapy treatments. Thus, marijuana is a better option for the patient going through chemotherapy procedures.
Likewise, medical marijuana can be used to relieve both spasticity and muscle pain of patients suffering from multiple sclerosis. In addition, marijuana increases the intraocular pressure of people suffering from glaucoma. For those who have a regular appetite loss, they are advised to use marijuana as it increases appetite. The drug is also suitable for patients with debilitating diseases like HIV/AIDS. It boosts their appetite which in turn assists them to maintain their body weight.
Some clinical studies also show that marijuana can be used by patients suffering from cancer. This is because it contains some analgesic activity to the patient and if used effectively it has no side effect. It is also argued that marijuana is a cheaper option and that is why appropriate for the low and medium income earners within the state (Lee Para 6).
Nevertheless, even with all the above argument which supports the usage of marijuana as a medicine, there are quite a number of arguments raised by opponents against its legalization. Their arguments, however, take medical, social and legal perspectives. It is argued that it is often difficult to regulate the effective dosage of medical marijuana. Because of this reason, marijuana consumption is faced with much abuse. Although, it is true that marijuana contains a considerable amount of THC, it is quite hard to quantify the exact amount of crude marijuana which a patient requisites (Lee Para 12).
Research done by medical practitioners shows that any smoking drug poses harm to our health and there’s no exception to marijuana. As a matter of fact, marijuana contains higher carcinogenic substance than tobacco. In addition, marijuana smokers are predisposed up to 4 times to lung cancer compared to cigarette smokers. It has also been proved that marijuana users are exposed to lung cancer in the long run (Iversen 131).
Likewise, there are heart related issues which come into being as a result of continued use of marijuana. Regular smoking of marijuana elevates the heart beat rate by 20% and more which may last for up to three hours. Regular and heavy consumption of marijuana can also lead to some impairment of cognitive abilities. In this case the reasoning and understanding ability of marijuana user is tampered with posing great danger to the users. Such victims are in most cases demotivated and mostly opt to socially withdraw themselves from other members of the society. Because of this effect, the user opts not to appear in a public and also to the peers. This significantly increases the turnover rate in the employment sector as employees regularly miss their duties.
It is also common for marijuana users to experience anxiety, panic and paranoia. This feeling, however, disappears within some hours after they discover they are in a supportive environment. The study also shows that majority of marijuana users are often look confused. Marijuana users also experience schizophrenic disorders and are delusional and experiences hallucinations (Iversen 130).
Marijuana is also addictive in nature and it therefore predisposes its users in drug abuse. If used by pregnant women, it may affect the intelligence development of the newborn baby. During adolescence, the cannabinoid components ingressed in marijuana can have a postnatal development of opioid neurons which may damage the pain sensitivity of neurons during adulthood. The THC contained in marijuana may also pose a great threat to hypothalamus which either directly or indirectly regulates the interior functioning of the pituitary and endocrine functioning in the body (Holland 552).
Apart from these medical arguments which stand out against the use of marijuana as a medicine, there are other social challenges brought by the drug. It is believed that majority of marijuana users often withdraw themselves from others because of fear and anxiety. The users may also turn rebellious at times and this may trigger instances of violence and other unlawful acts in our society. Likewise, legalizing marijuana may be negatively understood by the teenagers who may take it as safe and nice drug to consume. They may also abuse the medical purpose of marijuana by using it for recreation. This misconception may greatly impact to our young people who are naturally eager to experiment stuffs. In addition, the drug can act as a gateway to other legal and illegal drug consumption amongst the youth. Because of this, it should not be legalized at all, since once it is, it will be difficult for the state government to regulate its production, distribution and its sales to the general public (Holland 551).
Although, the state of Arizona passed the Medical Marijuana Act, it is appropriate for the state government to look into ways which they can effectively control the use and distribution of marijuana amongst its residents. This is because without a regulated and a well-controlled production and distribution channels, the drug will eventually be abused. Lack of regulation will eventually turn medical marijuana from being used as a medicine into recreational use which is somehow dangerous for the state. The government should also approach the issue with a somber mind and should not only consider the positive arguments, but should also look at the negative implications which will be brought by such law enactment. As a matter of fact, they should seek to address all the negative implications since they could tarnish their well-intended policy either in the short or in the long run. By addressing all the marijuana repercussions, the policy should realize its core objective which is to act as a preventative and curative medicine to those ailing from severe chronic diseases. Politicians have also establish some training sessions which should seek to educate and sensitize the general public about the policy and its intentions. Such trainings would clear up the thoughts of many youths who may opt to abuse marijuana. In order to attain its objectives effectively, the policy should restrict marijuana consumption by authorizing healthcare facilities to be the sole distributers of marijuana. That is the way they will be able to regulate the drug distribution and also reduce chances of abuse amongst the users. It will also enable to policy to serve its rightful purpose.