Marijuana also known as cannabis is a psychoactive drug also used for medical purposes. It is the most-consumed illicit drug in the world. Its widespread consumption, particularly by teenagers, as well as its medical use makes legalization of marijuana a very controversial issue, especially in light of Initiative 502 passed in Washington State on November 6, 2012 to legalize, tax and regulate marijuana.
The use of marijuana is regulated by several international conventions and national legislation of many countries. As for international conventions, there are three main documents that include provisions concerning marijuana. They are the 1961 Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs that “provides for controls over cannabis, as well as other drugs” (EMCDDA, xix), the 1988 Convention Against Illegal Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances that “strengthened the international scope and framework of cooperation against drug trafficking, including trafficking in cannabis” (EMCDDA, xix). Under national legislation the use for marijuana is legal in Argentina, some states of Australia, Czech Republic (in small amounts), Finland (for a limited group of people for medical use), Israel (for medical use), Mexico (in small amounts for personal use), the Netherlands, Peru, Portugal, Spain (by adults in a private space), the USA (in states Colorado and Washington) and Uruguay (for personal use). As mentioned above, legal use of marijuana is limited in almost every country that has legalized it.
For several decades there has been a discussion over the legalization of marijuana, because many people see benefits for economic situation of countries, reducing the crime level and regarding its medical qualities. In medicine “the common indications for cannabis use include depression, multiple sclerosis, pain, migraine, asthma and cancer-related anorexia” (20); hence it is a broadly used ingredient in medication. In addition to this, legalization of marijuana is also seen as an instrument of easing budget strain, because it would reduce government spending on maintaining of systems of criminal justice and law enforcement, as well as provide another source of income for the budget from taxation. Furthermore, it would reduce the incomes of organized crime, use of other illicit drugs and overall level of crime.
The Netherlands is viewed as a textbook example for legalizing marijuana. Dutch “Coffee Shops” “play a symbolic role as a paradigm of liberal cannabis policies” and are “associated in popular culture with the liberal attitudes of the Netherlands” (EMCDDA, 138). The pros for legalizing marijuana are mostly based on the effect it had in the Netherlands, because it has clearly benefited Dutch economy and reduced crime level. However, the Netherlands have recently faced a serious problem concerning marijuana, so-called “drug tourism”. The government has banned “non-Dutch residents from buying cannabis by introducing a "weed pass" available only to residents” (“Dutch government decrees that all cannabis cafes are off-limits to tourists”). Although this measure has not been successful in three southern Dutch provinces, where German “drug tourists” are numerous, increasing illicit drug sale.
As for the opposite point of view, the most basic con is the effect marijuana has on health, …