Legalizing Medical Marijuana
Marijuana has been one of the many abused substances in the world especially in the United States of America. It has been argued as one of the many existing substances which has caused lives to go astray and even to the point of taking away innocent lives. There have been heinous crimes committed which have been linked by the authorities to the abuse of marijuana by the suspects. But even with these apparent ‘hindrances’ to the acceptance of marijuana as a substance which also has its uses, it has been observed in the scientific community that there are medical benefits with the use of marijuana (Sydney, Stephen, et al., p. 722).
Apparently, it can be said that there is a tension between the democratic ethos that permeates popular American thought and the republican constitutional foundations that impede the realization of the medical use of marijuana. As far as the democratic ethos is concerned, it can be seen that there is the acceptance of marijuana in the medical field precisely because marijuana can be used as a drug which has the “potential for use in decreasing the rejection of organ transplants or in slowing the growth of tumors (Dell and Snyder, p. 630).” It has also been found that marijuana can stimulate the appetite of individuals who do not eat well, can serve as an analgesic and an anesthesia among many others (Dell and Snyder, p. 630).
With these things, there is the argument that, indeed, marijuana has its own positive effects on the body of the individual and that it can greatly help in the development of a medicine out of marijuana. However, the republican constitutional foundations would argue that the use of marijuana can open the way to substance abuse. Since marijuana is classified as an addictive substance which is prohibited by the laws of the land, the republican constitutional foundations would very well block any efforts in legalizing marijuana purely out of its medical purposes and benefits. That is because the republican constitutional foundations are inclined to promote the laws as they are written or as they have been conceived.
The arguments that can be proposed by the republican constitutional foundations can be summarized into the idea that anything that is against the law or anything that is proscribed by the law should not be justified before the law. Doing so would defeat the very purpose in which these laws have been conceived and institutionalized in the first place. Indeed, it should be noted that certain laws have been created in order to promote the interest of the public inasmuch as the welfare of the public is not harmed in the process.
With marijuana, it can be argued from the republican standpoint that marijuana use is basically prohibited by the law. Any efforts to circumvent the law should be stopped, which goes without saying that any efforts to turn the prohibited substance, marijuana, into a substance which is accepted by the society if not by the law would very well undermine the spirit and the letter of the law.
The tension between the democratic ethos and the republican constitutional foundations, then, rests on the part where marijuana has its perceived medical uses. From the perspective of the democratic ethos, it can be said that marijuana, as discovered by the scientific community, as its medical values although to a certain extent the abuse of the substance would also lead to dire consequences to the health of individuals. On the other hand, the followers of the republican constitutional foundation will argue that marijuana is essentially a prohibited substance although they may agree that substances with medicinal value should also be looked into by the government. To mitigate the tension is paramount in order to close the gap between the two contending sides and bring about a favorable result.
In order to do so, it can be proposed that regulatory policies should be enforced by the government in terms of the use of marijuana for medical purposes. As for the part where the abuse of the substance is involved, the legal prohibitions against the abuse of marijuana can nevertheless still be retained without compromising the medicinal uses of the substance. By establishing both a regulatory body on the medical facilities which will utilize marijuana and by putting up stringent measures on banning and sanctioning the offenders who abuse marijuana, a compromise can be attained without putting down the guards of both the democratic and republican sides.
It should be noted that even from a democratic or a republican standpoint, issues concerning the larger population can still be mitigated to a point where a solution is crafted regardless of one’s political positions. The issue of marijuana being legalized as a substance used for medical reasons can be met if both republican and democratic sides would agree on two things. One is that the medical value of marijuana is there and cannot be discredited. Two is that, though marijuana abuse is present, marijuana can be regulated within the medical facilities which will adopt the substance in the medical practice of treating patients.
In general, the viability of marijuana as a medicine is already established. Substance abuse pertaining to marijuana is already determined both by the legal enforcers as well as the medical field. By not withholding the potential use of marijuana in the broader medical field without abandoning the ever present need to proscribe and to sanction the abuse of marijuana, the middle ground can be established.
Sidney, Stephen, et al. “Marijuana Use and Cancer Incidence.” Cancer Causes & Control 8.5 (1997): 722.
Dell, Deena D., and Judith A. Snyder. “Marijuana: Pro and Con.” The American Journal of Nursing 77.4 (1977): 630.