Marijuana is a drug of widespread use and acceptance, similar to alcohol during the years of prohibition. Many people in the 1920s held an outward façade of disapproval to alcohol consumption, but there was an entire underground society of alcohol users in speakeasies. Similarly, there is an unseen society of marijuana users; however, aside from this subversive population, which stays hidden, there is a portion of marijuana users that are outspoken and openly argue for its legalization. Many of the proponents of legalization argue that its legalization will benefit the country by establishing new revenue streams through taxation and evading the disproportionate prosecution of specific demographics on marijuana charges. However, pro-legalization supporters do not fully take into account the consequences of cannabis on the health of individuals and the other deeper problems associated with its use. Marijuana still needs to be maintained as an illegal drug, but its possession should be decriminalized to alleviate some of the societal problems associated with it, while establishing laws to restrict marijuana use from becoming rampant and a greater public health concern.
The issue of marijuana has become a point of major controversy with individuals from many different backgrounds chiming in with varying stances. Skip Miller, Kevin Sabet and an anonymous source wrote articles on the issue of marijuana and what its fate should be in the United States. Miller authored, “Don’t Legalize Marijuana,” for the L.A. Times in which he argued for maintaining marijuana as an illegal drug. Kevin Sabet wrote the U.S. News article, “There are Smarter Ways to Deal with Marijuana Than Legalization,” to provide a perspective on how decriminalization of marijuana could be beneficial rather than outright legalization. Conversely to these stances by Miller and Sabet, an anonymous source for the UConn Daily Campus, arguably a college student, spoke on behalf of many pro-legalization supporters through the article, “Government Must Legalize Marijuana.” Just as how these three authors are divided on the issue of marijuana, so is the United States.
Even though there are great discrepancies among the status of marijuana across the 50 states, the federal government of the United States firmly maintains marijuana to be an illegal Schedule I drug. According to the DEA, a Schedule I is defined as a drug “with no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse” (“Drug Scheduling”). The United States Constitution stipulates that federal laws supersede state laws; however, certain areas of law establishment are left to the individual states to prevent an overwhelmingly powerful federal government. This ambiguity in the Constitution prevents the federal government from taking action to enforce its federally held standard of the illegality of marijuana.
Currently individual states are taking strides along different pathways to deal with the issue of marijuana, even...