Legalizing Marijuana: Promises and Pitfalls
Twenty-First Century Books
Published on November 1, 2016
Many states and experts have vastly different positions on the use of marijuana. Are the medicinal benefits strong enough to justify legalizing it for treatment of some serious health conditions? Is it safer than already legalized recreational substances like alcohol and tobacco?
In chapters populated with information on the drug’s history, scientific studies, and current laws governing use, this book presents a fairly balanced look at issues surrounding the potential legalization of marijuana. Strong arguments in favor of medicinal use are checked by the reality that currently, scientists in the United States do not enough true scientific data to support the various claims of its effectiveness in treating medical conditions. The text explores law enforcement issues arising in states whose laws conflict with those of the federal government. All in all, it’s an informative resource for someone looking to explore the history, use, and arguments for or against the legalization of marijuana.
I can be honest, right? We’re all friends here.
So here’s the thing. I’m not a fan of recreational drug use. At all. Before reading this book, I had very little information (or even interest, really) in the debate about whether marijuana should be legalized and, if so, for what purpose and with what restrictions. In the last year or so my family, like many of us, has become more politically active. For us this means researching issues and contacting our representatives about important topics. Reading this book has been part of an endeavor to better understand the issues surrounding the potential legalization of marijuana. I think getting more information is a good idea, and I want to find resources I can pass along with confidence.
Legalizing Marijuana raised a lot of interesting points and questions. There were some arguments I’d heard before and some new ones. I liked having specific facts and statistics—though in some cases I would have liked to have even more data.
For instance, one of the most compelling points the book explores relates to the argument about legalizing marijuana for medicinal use. Right now it’s very difficult for scientists to conduct studies testing the effectiveness of different types of marijuana to treat various types of illnesses because it’s a Schedule I drug. There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence that it helps vastly and more effectively than other drugs with a wide range of problems. But we don’t have great scientific proof because of how difficult it is to get approval for the studies. I felt like that was an interesting point that added weight to both sides of the argument for and against marijuana for medicinal use. It certainly gives supporters some areas in which political outreach may be helpful, too.
One area where I wished the book included more statistics was in a chapter about recreational use. The argument is that marijuana is safer than tobacco or alcohol in terms of its health risks. It would have made for a more compelling argument to give some specific numbers on alcohol-related car crashes versus marijuana-related car crashes for instance. Give some numbers that show some actual comparisons rather than the vague trust-me-it-is-so type of statement here.
I’m not sure this book changed how I feel about the legalization of marijuana—other than pointing out how lucrative it is for states in terms of tax revenue, which made me suspect we’ll see a greater push toward legalization for financial reasons than we have seen in the past—but I feel better equipped in terms of information on the topic. I’m glad I read it.
This is more about the topic than people, so there aren’t really cultural elements highlighted in the book.
Profanity/Crude Language Content
Brief reference to a high THC form of marijuana used by some groups who believed it would help them commune with spirits.
Lots of information about what kinds of ways marijuana is used. Not specific how-to type stuff—more like exploring the goals or outcomes of people who use it.