The legality of cannabis has always been a contentious issue, whose use has been deemed illegal for a long time now. The United States federal authorities prohibits its use, ownership, farming, and transporting. Recently, its medical use has been allowed in some of the states. Why does it remain an illegal substance whilst many nations seem to be transitioning towards its legalization? The labeling as a Schedule I substance places it in the highest listing under federal law, which potential that it is affiliated with a high likelihood of its users abusing it in addition to it no longer having any acceptable interrelatedness with medicinal objectives. The states that have thus succeeded in legalizing this substance have had to reschedule it.

Giving consent to the legalization of the recreational use of this substance is usually accompanied by many proponents and critics that are cognizant in the varying opinions they convincingly propagate. Significant research has shown that marijuana has medical purposes such as lessening pain and other symptoms linked to different ailments such as cancer and multiple sclerosis. Many patients after being prescribed marijuana have reported that it has brought about relief for them, which was otherwise absent when using other prescriptions. There is also some who believe that it could help in dealing with the opioid epidemic by having a positive effect in averting overdose deaths associated with the use of opioids. A study has proven that overdose deaths as a result of opioids were less in states where medical marijuana was allowed.

Also, a myriad of Americans is campaigning for marijuana to be made lawful for recreational use, which would have it join alcohol and tobacco as legal drugs for those that have attained permissible age. These two legal substances have been categorized as the leading sources for preventable conditions. It still has low usage rates compared to alcohol and tobacco, but this figure can be attributed to the illegal status it has. By legalizing it, its use would increase dramatically. Therefore, proponents find that a public health policy allowing for recreational use of marijuana would be counterproductive since it would amplify its use instead of reducing it. A better agenda would be to create public awareness on the adverse health consequences of this substance.

However, this argument can be countered on the basis of the number of deaths that can be attributed to marijuana compared to the other two legal ones. Even though some people visit medical facilities owing to the effects of high levels of THC, there is yet to be a reported marijuana fatality. Conversely, in the US, tobacco causes one in every five deaths while over eighty thousand people die from alcohol every year. Alcohol and nicotine have the highest risks of death while marijuana is on the end of the spectrum. Hence if it is safer than the other drugs, then its legality should come before those of the other two.

Even though it may have medical uses, its legalization would bring about dramatic effects. The age limit could be set at twenty-one years, but the easier availability that would be fostered would instigate a trickle-down effect thereby having it being accessed by those below the legal age. It is thus a justification for not giving consent to the recreational use of this substance. The reason is that significant use of cannabinoids leads to adverse consequences for young people’s brains, which includes pre-adolescents and those in their early twenties. It tends to hamper the healthy development of brain structures and functions that is continuing for people in that age group. Such use can also have an impact on the brains of those depicting mental illness or substance abuse issues. Nevertheless, this availability to young ones is also the case with the other legal drugs thereby it should not affect its legality. Other provisions need to be put in place for all drugs to ensure that those that are not of legal age cannot access them.

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