What to do about marijuana

[ By on April 26, 2016 ]

Not only has Cannabis become ubiquitous all across the world, significant evidence from what little research has been able to be performed on the plant has found many possible medicinal uses for the active ingredient in the plant, tetrahydrocannabinol or THC. Small scale drug busts and minimum sentences for pot possession are a detriment to many communities in the United States, especially those of color even though users are not more often minorities. Given the potential of Cannabis as a new treatment for anything from cancer to chronic pain as well as its role in the damaging War on Drugs, is it ethically justifiable to prevent reclassification and prescription of marijuana?

Full legalization is an unrealistic ask and also not a sure positive. The reclassification of the drug from schedule 1 to schedule 2 makes sense to me. It would reduce minimum sentences and the power of the insidious war on drugs and would open doors for more medical testing of the plant. I have watched many videos of people all ages, children to the elderly, receiving cannabis oil treatment and having life changing experiences. We could be denying ourselves a medical breakthrough for not only palliative care but treatment of certain terminal illnesses. In this way it is very ethically problematic to prevent the study and prescription of the plant.
Recreational use is a different playing field. I do not like the argument that goes: cannabis is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco so why should those be legal and not weed? The culture of comparing drugs feels more arbitrary than vanilla or chocolate. I struggle with justifying full legalization on any grounds besides the detriment that the war on drugs has. Legalization would take a portion of the wind out of the sails of the mass incarceration system. On the other hand, youth are particularly subject to social addiction to drugs like pot. It is a more complicated and certainly bigger.
I think it is unethical to force those who need the cannabis to live their lives in a state of normalcy to buy from the black market. It would be an act of beneficence to allow for the medical prescription and research through the declassification of marijuana as a schedule 1 drug. This is far from the last decision that would be made about the avenues through which to regulate the drug, but it is a necessary first.

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4 Comments on “What to do about marijuana”

  1. tdonovan

    Emily Schorr Lesnick

    [ May 03, 2016 at 8:25 pm ]

    What other bioethical dilemmas arise when examining The War on Drugs?

  2. tdonovan

    Kelley Nicholson-Flynn

    [ May 04, 2016 at 12:53 am ]

    Thomas, I think it is interesting that you are parsing the different reasons why one might legalize or re-classify this drug…from reducing incarceration rates to helping people who could benefit from its medical use. I think it might be wise to focus on one or the other if considering this in an independent project. I think the bioethical approach would be more applicable to the one about medical treatment. Is there empirical evidence that suggests there is strong efficacy and low risk? Are there other alternatives that should be evaluated?

  3. tdonovan

    I feel like you have mixed emotions on the legalization of weed for medical purposes due to very valid points that I fully agree with as well. Whereas it has been proved that cannabis oil has helped people with various medical problems, weed is also a highly abused drug in the United States. After reading this I have been thinking about ways that cannabis oil could be legalized without people being able to take advantage of the prescriptions at the same time. Have you considered background checks into your persuasion of its legalization. Because if cannabis oil is okayed for medical use background checks could be done on patients to see if they have abused any kinds of drugs in their past, and if so, they are not eligible to get the prescription. I feel like this could be a good solution to helping the people who can benefit from this medical use and help in stopping the abuse of pot as an illegal drug at the same time. Do you have any thoughts on this idea?

  4. tdonovan

    Jessica Benjamin

    [ May 05, 2016 at 2:53 pm ]

    I think your opinion on changing the classification of marijuana is one that is shared by many experts and users. As you pointed out, there are multifarious studies that have prove that marijuana can be useful for medical treatment, so the a schedual 1 classification merely doesn’t make sense. I was happy you brought up the war on drugs, because recently there have been an influx of article on various news cites that have all been saying the same thing, that President Richard Nixons aide admitted that the war on drugs was used to target black people. There are so many reason why marijuana should be reclassified, and I am glad that you examined the issue from a variety of perspectives. As mentioned in a previous comment, your most compelling argument is from the medical perspective, because when a drug is classified as schedule 1, it means that there is no medical use for the drug. The fact that researchers cannot get federal money to do ground breaking medical research 0n the grounds that marijuana is a schedule 1 drug is unethical, and that will be your best argument for this blog specifically.

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