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The Marijuana Usage Legislation Research Paper

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Updated: Mar 23rd, 2020


This research paper is aimed at discussing the effects that can be produced by the changes in the legislation on the use, storage, and distribution of marihuana. This issue is of great importance to many societies in which a great number of citizens insist on the decriminalization of cannabis. It should be noted that legislators can take different steps in order to address this problem. In particular, they can decriminalize the personal use of cannabis without allowing its public sale. Secondly, they may legitimize only the medical uses of this drug.

Finally, policy-makers can enable people to purchase cannabis in some places. The advocates of this policy argue that it can enable the government to generate extra revenues by taxing people and organizations selling marihuana (Caulkins et al. 865). Additionally, such a step can decrease the number of arrests (Caulkins et al. 865). Therefore, this policy can reduce the costs related to the functioning of criminal justice system.

Nevertheless, the opponents of the new laws argue that they can lead to many adverse consequences (Harper, Strumpf, and Kaufman 208). For instance, one can mention the increased use of marihuana and other drugs among teenagers (Joffe and Yancy 636). Moreover, such people can become more exposed to the risks of other drugs that produce more detrimental effects on the psychological and physical health of a person (Lader and Yancy 8).

This is one of the pitfalls that should not be overlooked. Therefore, there are two conflicting viewpoints on this problem. Overall, it is possible to argue that the new laws will produce adverse effects on the society provided that no safeguards are introduced by the state. This is the main argument that should be examined more closely.

Literature review

Overall, there are various studies that can throw light on the positive and negative consequences produced by the transformation of laws regulating the status of cannabis. For instance, one can mention such as a country as the Netherlands. To some degree, these issues are examined in the article written by Alain Joffe and Samuel Yancy. In particular, according to the new rules adopted in this country, a person was able to use cannabis, but he/she could be penalized for carrying it (Joffe and Yancy 636).

It is also critical to mention that the legalization of drugs in this country has turned into one of the centers of drug tourism. Additionally, the researchers note that the parental use of marihuana makes adolescents more willing to take this recreational drug (Joffe and Yancy 636). Admittedly, this article throws light on the policies of only one state. Yet, these outcomes have been observed in some countries or territories in which the regulation of cannabis was minimized. This is why these findings should not be overlooked.

Therefore, by increasing the accessibility of cannabis, policy-makers can make teenagers more exposed to the risks associated with this drug. This is one of the points that should be considered. Apart from that, it is critical to mention that people, who use cannabis, are more likely to take other drugs such as heroin (Lader and Yancy 8). Certainly, the causal relations between these phenomena have not been properly examined, but this potential risk should not be overlooked by legislators.

It should be noted that if the price of cannabis is reduced significantly, many people including teenagers will have more opportunities for buying this recreational drug (Joffe and Yancy 634). Therefore, the policy-makers should consider the long-term implications of making marihuana more accessible.

Nevertheless, it is critical to remember that some precautions can reduce the adverse effects of legalizing cannabis. For instance, one can speak about such a policy as limiting the number of locations where marihuana can be consumed (Shanahan and Ritter 2). Additionally, one should keep in mind that in some countries, the decriminalization of cannabis did not lead to the increase of cannabis consumption. For instance, one can speak about Spain in which the personal use of cannabis was made legal (Gamella and Rodrigo 647).

Much attention should be paid to such a factor as the accessibility of drugs (Goldstein 96). This is one of the exceptions that should be taken into consideration. Therefore, one cannot say that the risks associated with the legalization of marihuana cannot be reduced.

There are some important gaps that should be taken into account. For instance, the researchers note that the impact of some external factors cannot be disregarded. In particular, one should speak about the availability of drugs and people’s awareness about their dangers. Secondly, one should not forget about the cultural environment of the country and the public attitude towards the use of drugs. These are some of the limitations that should be considered.


It is possible to adopt several research methods that are helpful for investigating this problem. For instance, one can mention the use of case study. This approach is useful because it enables a researcher to analyze the behavior of individuals and groups. Moreover, this approach can be valuable for analyzing the causal relations between various phenomena. Admittedly, this analysis is often retrospective, and one cannot easily generalize the findings derived in this way.

Furthermore, it is important to examine a great number of cases in order to derive conclusive findings. However, this method can be useful for the discussion of the effects produced by the changes in legislation. For instance, it can demonstrate the reasons why a certain new law could produce negative or positive effects in different countries. These are some of the details that can be identified.

Case studies

This problem can be illustrated by looking at the way in which the legislation on the use of cannabis can be relaxed. For instance, one can speak about the adoption of new marihuana laws in Portugal. In particular, the country eliminated the criminal penalties for using many of the drugs that were once regarded as illegal. In particular, in this country a person may not face any criminal charges for the personal use of marihuana.

Nevertheless, an individual can be fined and detaining for smoking cannabis in public places. Moreover, a person is allowed to possess only a certain quantity of this drug. Apart from that, the legislators of this country do not enable people to sell drugs. Overall, this policy is based on the principle that the use of drugs requires treatment, rather than incarceration. However, this policy is not driven by the need to generate extra revenues for from legalizing marihuana. This is one of the details can be distinguished.

The main issue is that the use of cannabis or other recreational drugs did not increase after the implementation of this law (Goldstein 96). To a great extent, this result contradicts the expectations of many people who believed that the decriminalization of cannabis will inevitably lead to adverse effects.

In turn, it is possible to speak about such a country as the Netherlands. This government of this country also decriminalized the use of marihuana. However, there are some important distinctions that should be taken account. In particular, in the Netherlands, a person can purchase and use drugs in various coffee shops (Goldstein 96).

The main problem is that adolescents could find loopholes for purchasing marihuana, even though they were not legally allowed to do so. Additionally, the legislation of this country does not prohibit the agricultural production of marihuana. As a result, many Dutch cities began to attract people who were interested in drug tourism. The number of people, who used cannabis, increased. These are some of the main elements that can be distinguished.

Overall, in both cases, policy-makers chose to decriminalize the use of this drug. To a great extent, this approach is important for reducing the number of incarcerations related to the possession or use of cannabis. Nonetheless, in Portugal, the legislators did not try to derive economic benefits from legalizing recreational drugs. In turn, Dutch policy-makers attempted to turn cannabis into a commercial product that had to be tightly regulated. Admittedly, currently the government of the country struggles to reduce the number of coffee shops in which one can purchase cannabis or other recreational drugs. These are the main peculiarities that can be identified.


On the whole, these examples demonstrate that the effects of legalizing recreational drugs such as marihuana can vary significantly. They strongly depend on the ability of the government to implement safeguards that can protect various stakeholders. For instance, the analysis of Portuguese policies indicates that it is necessary to minimize the number of channels through which a person can purchase marihuana. In turn, in the Netherlands, the policy-makers overlooked this precaution.

To a great extent, this comparison confirms the findings mentioned in the literature review. Moreover, this analysis indicates that it is critical to identify a set of precautions that reduce the negative effects of decriminalizing cannabis. These findings should be taken into account by policy-makers. These professionals should rely on the experience of foreign countries in order to reduce the negative effects of the change in legislation (Garvey and Brian 10).


Overall, one can say that the legislation on the use of marihuana will eventually evolve, since the decriminalization of this recreational drug becomes one of the major trends in various countries. Nevertheless, it is critical to avoid the pitfalls associated with this policy. For instance, one can speak about the increased consumption of this drug among teenagers.

It is possible to provide several recommendations to the legislators who will work on the development of the new legislation. One of the main tasks is to minimize the public sale of cannabis. In particular, legislators should make it illegal. Even if the government wants to derive economic gains from the decriminalization of marihuana, a person should be allowed to use this drug in only specific places such as coffee shops. However, he/she should not be allowed to possess in large quantities.

Additionally, the government should prohibit commercials of cannabis or other recreational drugs. Finally, legislators should not allow the use of cannabis in public places, such as parks. These are the main aspects that can be identified.

Works Cited

Caulkins, Jonathan, Beau Kilmer, Robert MacCoun, Rosalie Liccard, and Peter Reuter. “Design Considerations For Legalizing Cannabis: Lessons Inspired By Analysis Of California’s Proposition 19.” Addiction 107.5 (2012): 865-871. Print.

Gamella, Juan and Mario Rodrigo. “A Brief History of Cannabis Policies in Spain(1969-2003).” Journal of Drug Issues 34.3.(2004): 623-660. Print.

Garvey, Todd, and Brian Yeh. State Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: Selected Legal Issues. Washington: Congressional Research Service, 2014. Print.

Goldstein, Margaret. Legalizing Drugs: Crime Stopper or Social Risk?, New York: Twenty-First Century Books, 2010. Print.

Harper, Sam, Erin Strumpf, and Jay Kaufman. “Do Medical Marijuana Laws Increase Marijuana Use?: Replication Study and Extension.” Annals of Epidemiology 22.3 (2012): 207-212. Print.

Joffe, Alain and Samuel Yancy. “Legalization of Marijuana: Potential Impact on Youth.” Pediatrics 113.6 (2004): 632-638. Print.

Lader, Malcolm. “Addiction And The Pharmacology Of Cannabis: Implications For Medicine And The Law.” Medicine, Science, And The Law 49.1 (2009): 1-17. Print.

Shanahan, Marian, and Alison Ritter. “Cost Benefit Analysis of Two Policy Options for Cannabis: Status Quo and Legalisation.” PLoS One 9.4 (2014): 1-10. Print.

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