Pros and Cons of Marijuana Legalization in Jamaica

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After smoking marijuana for two weeks, a student at the University of Technology, Jamaica realized that it kept getting harder for him to maintain focus on one thing at a time. According to a doctor, this was a result of smoking marijuana as it may reduce a person's ability to think correctly. Due to the fact that marijuana may cause harm, such as the one mentioned above, people believe that marijuana should not be legalized in Jamaica. Marijuana is currently decriminalized in Jamaica which means that the criminal penalties for using individual marijuana have been removed. Although using marijuana has a lot of negative effects, there are some people who believe that marijuana should be legalized in Jamaica due to some of its benefits. Legalization is the abolishment or removal of laws prohibiting the possession and individual use of marijuana. Although using marijuana may have some benefits, I contend that the legalization of marijuana will eventually result in more harm than good as it will lead to an increase in the number of persons affected by cognitive impairment and an increased risk of psychosis in more persons.

More persons will be affected by cognitive impairment if marijuana is legalized. Robert DuPont, a medical doctor who specializes in anxiety disorders and addiction, stated that after marijuana was legalized in four states in America and the District of Columbia, the total number of persons in America who have been negatively affected by its side effects has increased. According to Murray (2015), the tetrahydrocannabinol in marijuana negatively affects an important structure in memory which results in cognitive impairment of a person. If what is stated by Robert DuPont is true, then by all means legalize this baneful substance in our country so that its users can plague our streets. As stated by Aarons (2018), cumulative exposure to marijuana reduces the effectiveness of memory which as a result, leads to cognitive impairment. If this baneful substance is capable of reducing our ability to think either at school or at work, why should it be legalized in Jamaica?

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The number of persons having psychotic disorders will continue to increase if marijuana is legalized. A study by a group of researchers showed that marijuana use is harmful as it increases the risk of psychosis in teenagers. Therefore, when most of Jamaica's teenagers are psychotic, everyone should know what caused it. In a systematic review, Zammit et al. (2008) found a significant but small relationship between marijuana use and symptoms of psychosis. So although the connection between marijuana and psychosis is small, marijuana does cause psychosis. Also, an article written by Garey (2018) states that using marijuana at a young age may initiate or aggravate symptoms of major illnesses of psychosis. In short, the number of persons with psychotic disorders will increase after the legalization of marijuana in Jamaica.

Despite evidence to the contrary, some have argued that the legalization of marijuana will result in more good than harm because it will contribute a lot to Jamaica's economy. Liberty Vittert, a professor of the Practice of Data Science at the Olin Business School at Washington University, stated that since marijuana was legalized in Colorado, Colorado gained two hundred and seventy million in taxes in 2018 but could only get up to forty-five million before marijuana was legalized. If legalizing marijuana was able to increase the amount of tax gained in Colorado, then is it really such a bad idea to legalize it in Jamaica? As of March 2019, legal marijuana is the best job-creating machine. Hence by legalizing marijuana, the number of Jamaicans with jobs will increase. According to Patrick (2019), increasing employment will result in higher overall customer spending. In other words, legalizing marijuana will improve Jamaica's economy.

The view that legalizing marijuana will result in more good than harm since it will contribute a lot to Jamaica's economy is not a very good one. Mike Adams, a freelance writer who has written articles for High Times, CannabisNow, and BroBible, has indicated that a report shows that the reduction of marijuana prices has led to some marijuana companies being at risk of getting bankrupt and also that an analysis from the Washington Post indicates that marijuana wholesale prices have declined by seventy percent as of 2018, for the past four years in Colorado. As stated by Mangalia, Seattle which is a city in Washington , hasn't shown a significant increase in the employment rate after marijuana was legalized in the state. In short just because the legalization of marijuana have benefited the economy in places such as Colorado, for a miniscule period of time ,does not mean that legalizing marijuana in Jamaica will result in an overall better economy.

In conclusion, legalizing marijuana in our country, Jamaica, will not result in more good than harm, or at the very least the benefits of legalizing marijuana does not outweigh its drawbacks. Legalizing marijuana will result in increased cases of psychosis and also increased cases of cognitive impairment. If the benefits of legalizing marijuana can only be experienced for a short period of time ,what is the point in legalizing it in Jamaica?

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