The Legalization of Medical Marijuana in the United States




Velder, Kelly R.

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Law Enforcement Management Institute of Texas (LEMIT)



For decades, law enforcement officers, government officials, and the medical community have continued debating the controversy over the legalization of marijuana. The never-ending argument of the severity of the “Schedule 1 drug” and its ill-effects on drug users are at the heart of discussions as they pertain to the legal community. Marijuana and its distribution raise several complex health, social, and legal issues in the United States. While many disagree with the legality and morality of its legalization, others fight for the right to sell and use it for medicinal purposes. The debate is ongoing. As stated in Variability in Medical Marijuana Laws, “Use of marijuana has been linked to negative health effects, but the evidence varies as function of age of user, whether use is occasional or heavy, and health domain, and is largely correlational in nature” (as cited in Betrashniy, 2015, p. 639). It is this along with other strong links that strengthen the argument against the legalization of marijuana. In contrast, some studies have shown results that the benefits of using marijuana for medicinal reasons far outweigh the negative health matters that may be associated with its use (Pew Research Center, 2013), and therefore should be an accepted method of treatment for some patients who are suffering with illnesses. Marijuana-using individuals suffering from chronic pain a variety of chronic illnesses (seizure disorders, cancer, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis, AIDS wasting syndrome) all have shown improvement in their conditions when standard treatments did not (Betrashniy, 2015).


Marijuana, Drug Legalization