If you walk around the streets, like for example in the streets of Colorado, you’ll most likely come across a marijuana dispensary. These dispensaries are selling marijuana to people who carry medical marijuana cards. These medical marijuana cards are applied for and approved by certain doctors who will write prescriptions for medical marijuana for chronic pain, cancer treatment, or even severe anxiety. Does this mean that we are getting closer to actually legalizing the drug, or is it a way around drug laws for a lot of citizens?
It is hard to say whether or not we are actually getting any closer to having marijuana legalized. Certain states have voted time and again for the legalization of the drug, however federal mandates supersede these state laws. While many federal organizations do not seek to enforce these federal mandates on medical marijuana distribution centers and dispensaries, the few that have raided and disenfranchised dispensaries have said they are setting an example for others who intend to open dispensaries.
While some claim that being able to get a prescription for pot, as well as to be able to walk into a dispensary to fill the prescription are getting us closer to legalization, others beg to differ. While the United States has certainly come a very long way from making the drug completely illegal to now allowing the use of marijuana for medical conditions, we still have a long way to go before legalization happens.
Advocates of legalization claim that making the drug legal will help decriminalize the use of pot. They claim that by making it legal to buy, possess, or use marijuana, the criminal aspect associated with the drug will disintegrate. The profits from illegally distributing the drug will disappear when people are allowed to get it legally with a prescription. While there certainly seems to be valid thought behind this theory, it begs the question if legalization of marijuana throughout the country for medical purposes would cause an epidemic of widespread use and abuse much like what is happening with other prescription narcotic medications.
The debate over legalizing marijuana seems to be never ending. While it seems we may have taken a step closer to legalizing it by allowing some citizens in certain states to use marijuana for medicinal purposes, we may not, in fact, be getting much closer to legalizing the drug at a federal level. While it seems legalizing marijuana would make it a lot easier for people who genuinely need the narcotic for its analgesic purposes, there is also the risk of widespread use and abuse of the drug if it becomes easier to obtain.