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More than four decades ago, the Congress categorized marijuana as a Schedule I drug in the Controlled Substance Act because it had no medicinal value (Longley, 2001). Today, several states have not only legalized the use of marijuana for medical purposes but also for recreational purposes. In particular, 20 states including the District of Columbia and New York have recognized marijuana as medicine (Cerda et al., 2012). Accordingly, debate continues to rage across the country for all the states to decriminalize or legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes as per the federal laws. Therefore, this brief essay proposes a policy that should be adopted to make Florida the 21st state to legalize the use of marijuana for medicinal and recreational purposes.
Health experts believe that marijuana can cure a wide range of modern diseases that continue to perplex scientists and medical researchers. For instance, proponents maintain that marijuana can cure diseases such as AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, epilepsy, pain, depression, asthma, arthritis, and boosts appetite among other uses (O’Brien and Clark, 2002). On the other hand, it is obvious that most states, countries, and people are against the legalization of marijuana. People believe that marijuana is aIDictive, results in the use of other hard drugs, causes infertility, brain complications, and immune problems among other health problems. Therefore, in light of the demerits and merits outlined above, the state of Florida should consider the policy below to legalize marijuana successfully, enjoy the associated benefits while avoiding possible disadvantages (MacQueen, 2013).
In the first policy, legalization should ensure that patients have state identification documents allowing them to purchase a predetermined quantity of marijuana after a stated period. The advantage of this policy is that it prevents non-patients from accessing the drug for other purposes. However, this policy has a limitation since it cannot be effective in cases of recreational use. For instance, there is no proven rate of prevalence outlining the number of times people should smoke marijuana during recreation. Accordingly, other people can use documents of patients to obtain the drug (Friese and Grube, 2013). Similarly, this policy has the shortcoming of being unable to recognize purchases made from other states with similar laws. Accordingly, users can purchase the drug from other states and use them in Florida.
Secondly, the legalization policy should restrict the cultivation and distribution of marijuana to state agencies. The cultivation and distribution centers should be located throughout the state to enhance accessibility (MacQueen, 2013). The merit of this policy is to ensure that people do not misuse the recreational purposes and promote the prevalence of negative effects of marijuana. In aIDition, it ensures that profit minded people do not sell the product illegally to increase their returns (Friese and Grube, 2013). Moreover, this policy ensures that there is no surplus production of the product that can facilitate its availability among people who use it as a drug. However, the demerit is that it requires the centers to be under 24 hour surveillance to keep away trouble makers. Accordingly, this requirement increases the cost of implementing the policy.
Advanced researches have concluded that Cannabis Sativa has medicinal properties and recreational advantages but can also harm human health. Therefore, Florida should legalize the use of marijuana for medical and recreational purposes (MacQueen, 2013). However, this should be through a referendum vote reinforced by policies and legislation aimed at ensuring that people do not abuse the plant (Cerda et al, 2012).
Cerdá, M., Wall, M., Keyes, K. M., Galea, S., & Hasin, D. (2012). Medical marijuana laws in 50 states: Investigating the relationship between state legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use, abuse and dependence. Drug & Alcohol Dependence, 120(1-3), 22-27. doi:10.1016/j.drugalcdep.2011.06.011
Friese, B., & Grube, J. W. (2013). Legalization of medical marijuana and marijuana use among youths. Drugs: Education, Prevention & Policy, 20(1), 33-39. doi:10.3109/09687637.2012.713408
Longley, R. (2001). Supreme Court Upholds Medical Marijuana Ban. [online] Retrieved from: http://usgovinfo.about.com/library/weekly/aa051501a.htm [Accessed: 4 Sep 2013].
MacQueen, K. (2013). We Need To Legalize Marijuana Now. Maclean’s, 126(23), 16-22.
O’Brien, K., & Clark P. A., (2002). Mother and son: The case medical marijuana / commentaries. The Hastings Center Report; Hastings-on-Hudson, 5(11).

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