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Legalizing Marijuana Essay

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Updated: Jul 1st, 2020


For a long time now, the debate on the legalization of marijuana has remained a controversial issue in the United States. Cannabis sativa found diverse applications in the field of medicine in many nations from as early as 2700 BC.

Some of the merits that have been cited for legalizing the drug are the taxes the government would collect from sales, its medicinal value and usage in the clothing and paper industry.

On the other hand, many groups have outlined that the legalization of marijuana would lead to an increase in the rate of crime in addition to opening up of the gateway to the abuse of more serious drugs like cocaine and heroin (Berman, 2010). This brief essay is an analysis of an essay entitled Drugs: Case for Legalizing Marijuana by Gore Vidal.

Vidal’s Arguments

Vidal (1970) outlines that legalizing marijuana is the simplest way of dealing with the addiction problems associated with the drug. According to him, a rational person will be wise enough not to consume a harmful drug that has a clear label of its pros and cons.

He also adds that Cannabis sativa is neither addictive nor dangerous. He points out that not everyone can be affected in the same manner or to the same extent by every drug (Vidal, 1970).

Vidal posits that it is essential for the societal implications of good or bad to be left to individuals to judge for themselves. As long as the actions of one person do not hinder the freedoms or undermine the rights of another, such persons should be left at liberty to indulge themselves.

He argues out that no sane person can allow themselves to fall under the force of addiction if they already have foreknowledge of the detriments associated with addiction. He goes on to posit that the forbidden fruit tastes the sweetest.

The implication is that when people are denied the legal right to take marijuana, they will all the more want to use the drug (Vidal, 1970).

Vidal illustrates that the same consequences that were evidenced when alcohol consumption was illegalized would be realized by the prohibition of marijuana. With time, the citizenry (whose interest should be the basis of the law) would hold the legal system and the Congress at contempt for misrepresenting the interests of the majority.

He continues to point out that the interest of drug barons and the Bureau of Narcotics are to some extent related. According to him, neither the Mafia nor the government would like marijuana to be legalized and sold at cost because they both have financial interests when it comes to legalization (Vidal, 1970).

He concludes that there is no hope for anything better as far as legalization is concerned. This is because the people of America and their legislators regard taking marijuana as a sin that must be atoned for monetarily. This money keeps systems running (Vidal, 1970).

Vidal’s Arguments: A Counter-argument

I do not agree with Vidal’s views that the legalization of marijuana is the way to deal with addiction. According to him, a sane person would not allow themselves to be hooked to a drug if they have prior knowledge of the possibility to be addicted.

This is not true because all over the world, alcohol bottles and cigarette packs have labels containing information on their side effects. However, this information has not kept high school students from becoming alcoholics or smokers.

The secular humanism presumption that people should do whatever they please to as long as they do not harm others is also founded on sinking sand. For example, people cannot be justified for committing suicide just because they are not killing others.

Research has proven beyond doubt that marijuana is addictive and creates a thirst for other hard drugs. No one should be allowed to harm themselves even if they are not harming others (Conant & Maloney, 2010).

I agree with Vidal’s position that the government and drug barons benefit monetarily from the prohibition of marijuana. However, these benefits are fundamentally different.

The government fines offenders so as to bar them from taking marijuana while the Mafia pushes children to take harder drugs. However, there is no empirical evidence to show that the prohibition of marijuana increases the propensity of the intake of heroin and cocaine.

Finally, I disagree with Vidal because there is hope for Americans. This hope is in continued education on the demerits of drug abuse.

Binelli (2010) is of the view that the society (especially the media) has neglected informing its members on the disadvantages of consuming addictive drugs. This slackness is to the benefit of drug peddlers and to the harm of the American child.


Contrary to the suggestions made by Vidal, marijuana should remain illegal. The main reason is that there are many medical side effects associated with smoking pot.

In addition to the obvious disadvantages, smoking marijuana has been scientifically proven to interfere with a person’s genetic makeup and predisposes them to some kinds of cancers.


Berman, A. (2010). Just say now. Rolling Stone, 11(12), 43-46.

Binelli, M. (2010). Marijuana America. Rolling Stone, 11(01), 62-85.

Conant, E., & Maloney, K. (2010). Pot and the Gop. Newsweek, 156(18), 30-35.

Vidal, G. (1970, September 26). Drugs: Case for legalizing marijuana. The New York Times. Retrieved from

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