Can Legalization of Marijuana Be Justified on the Basis of Utility Versus Consequences Concept

Marijuana legalization in the United States and around the world

Marijuana legalization has been a divisive issue in the United States and around the world. Historically, most governments have prohibited the use of marijuana for any reason, including medical purposes. This began to change with the increased campaigning by various groups to legalize marijuana for a variety of reasons, including medical and recreational use. Alaska became the third state in the United States to legalize marijuana in 2014, with the passage of Alaska Measure 2. Individuals who advocated for the bill's passage argued on the basis of utility versus repercussions. They felt that marijuana has little effect on individuals around the user and tend to maximise utility for the specific person consuming it. In addition, the authorities felt that legalising marijuana would enable them to have better control of the drug and limit the age of consumption.

The benefits of legalizing marijuana in Alaska

The legalisation of Marijuana has worked towards maximising its utility for users, generating income for the state and putting its consumption and dealership under the control of the authorities. Initially, individuals would be handed harsh sentences for marijuana possession. These were unfair compared to the consequences that their actions had on themselves and those around them. In addition, illegalizing marijuana was making the trade more lucrative for individuals who dealt in it in the underground economy and lack of regulation could predispose minors to its use. Therefore, this increased the negative consequences of the drug on the society. Considering the issue by weighing utility versus the consequences tends to justify the step taken by the people of Alaska and the authorities to legalize recreational use of marijuana.


Andrews, L. (2016). Alaska collects first full month of marijuana tax revenue. Alaska Dispatch News, January 3, 2017. Retrieved from

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