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The Viewpoint of the Society on Medicinal Marijuana
Everything in the society is changing, especially the laws. Legal and illegal drugs are everywhere in society. People, especially teens, know someone who has drugs and could easily get access to them. Drugs like marijuana are one of those easily accessible drugs. Marijuana is still one of the common drugs and is still considered illegal under the federal laws in the United States. Some states such as California have passed laws allowing marijuana legal to smoke and sell. The medical marijuana is to use for medicinal purposes and can only be prescribed by a doctor. Researchers and scientists support the use of marijuana as a medical drug. Some people like patients may view this positively, because the medical marijuana actually worked on them as they get a lot better. Despite some viewpoints in favor of the use of marijuana, it is still an unethical use of the drug, because there are still negative effects of using marijuana.
Even though patients who are suffering from illness or disease and are using medical marijuana, patients viewed that it helps them feel better. With the increase of medical marijuana, the worldwide report estimates between 200 and 300 million people are now smoking marijuana (Earleywine 29). With 40% of the public using marijuana as medicine, it has changed the needs and values of our society. The use of medical marijuana can treat patients with many different ailments such as pain, nausea, vomiting, and AIDS. It can be used as treatment itself and to help patients with accepted treatments to find the cure for their conditions (Clark 40). Patients had to pay less for medical marijuana less than other medication drugs (Earleywine 181). Medicinal marijuana makes it an easy, affordable, and accessible solution in fourteen states allowing the use of medicinal marijuana by cancer patients and others who are in pain (Katel 527).
Not only is medicinal marijuana accessible, but according to Peter Clark, it’s also a patient’s right due to “the settlement that allowed physicians to discuss the option of medical marijuana as part of the First Amendment protection of physician-patient communication, but physicians could not assist in obtaining the illegal substance for the patient” (47). Patients have the right to have all possible treatment options from their physicians. Physicians are the ones who are responsible to make medical decisions and to provide their patients the relief from both pain and suffering, thus having to give them the option of medical marijuana (Clark 53). Patients may think they know that marijuana could help them with what they need regarding their health, but it is still wrong to use it for their health to make them feel good despite a doctor prescribing it for them.
Society views medical marijuana as a gateway drug with addictive and abusive tendencies. People believe that marijuana could lead toward other more destructive drugs, addictive drugs, such as heroin (Earleywine 24). Researchers, theorists, politicians, and parents have worried about the use of medicinal marijuana being made worse with consequences leading to the use of other drugs (Earleywine 49). Gateway theorists showed that people who used those gateway drugs went on to try more potent drugs later (Earleywine 50). Some people define medicinal marijuana as an abusive and addictive drug when using it, because they tell their experiencing problems and illegal behaviors when they are under influence of the drug (Earleywine 29). Although marijuana is less addictive than alcohol and nicotine, the risks are that use of marijuana may promote the user to try more dangerous and serious drugs (Koch 708). People think medicinal marijuana is a gateway substance, because they think that may lead people to using cocaine and heroin.
People who are against medicinal marijuana are called opponents. However, opponents to the use of medical marijuana proclaim that there are available, legal drugs that provide safe medicine for people from bad symptoms (Earleywine 167). They view the use of medical marijuana as being bad to the human body. They argue that marijuana could damage and affect reproductive, immune, respiratory, and memory systems (Koch 710). They also argue that smoking medical marijuana could possibly increase the risks of lung cancer and throat problems (Earleywine 181). They think that if marijuana is legalized for medical purposes, it could send the wrong message to the community of youth (Koch 711). Basically, the opponents of using medical marijuana want to suggest to the society that in order to remain healthy, it would be in their best interest not to use medical marijuana at all.
Society recognizes a world health situation that has two consequences, good and evil by viewing the principle of double effect. It is applicable to the ethical issue whether physicians prescribe marijuana for medical reasons. The good effect is that if patients smoke marijuana, then it has more effective and helps their cure or their condition gets the treatment it needs. The evil effect is that if patients smoke marijuana, then there are toxic effects on them (Clark 48). Under the principle of double effect, the use of medicinal marijuana is when something is both good and evil; it justifies the federal government making marijuana legal for patients who are not responsive to treatment or therapies (Clark 52). However, it is really an unintended evil for the federal government to give patients the option to use marijuana even if there other treatments are not working for them.
According to the federal government, marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug under the 1970 Uniform Controlled Substance Act. The government viewed marijuana as illegal back then and ruled that it could only be used for research purposes (Clark 40). The government cannot change their opinions about making marijuana legal for medical purpose. The government believes and argues that a person cannot use marijuana, because they should not ever use illegal drugs. The use of medical marijuana is only based on a national policy of illegal drugs by the federal government (Clark 41). According to David W. Ogden, “Congress has determined that marijuana is a dangerous drug, and the illegal distribution and sale of marijuana is a serious crime and provides a significant source of revenue to large-scale criminal enterprises, gangs, and cartels” (U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Deputy Attorney General 1).
On the other hand, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) rejected marijuana as a Schedule II drug claiming that “there was no scientific evidence showing that marijuana was better than other approved drugs for any specific medical condition” (Clark 41). The DEA viewed that smoking marijuana is not medicinal and not safe. The DEA targets sick and dying patients using marijuana The DEA is targeting drug traffickers, and not just people who are ill or dying (U.S Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration 2). According to James McDonough, Director of Florida’s Office of Drug Control, marijuana is “a harmful drug which addicts invariably claim as their initiation into a life of ruin” (qtd. in Koch 707). In addition, the DEA and the federal government give their concerns in viewing marijuana as having no documented value in voicing their opinion that they do not accept the use of marijuana as medicine.
Several notable organizations feel the same way about medical marijuana. The American Medical Association (AMA) also views marijuana as a Schedule I drug. The American Society of Addiction Medicines (ASAM) and the American Cancer Society (ACS) make public policy statement saying that they do not accept and reject smoking marijuana and making marijuana legal. The British Medical Association (BMA) gives their opinions about the status of marijuana saying that criminal records have decreased, providing a misunderstanding to the public, believing that marijuana is not safe to use. The National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS) expressed that medical marijuana could not be made widely available for people with serious symptoms (U.S Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration 3-4). The people in the medicinal community are not very supportive on the use of medical marijuana. The government is right about marijuana being illegal, and it should not be treated as unable for medicinal purposes.
The society has many different viewpoints about the use of medicinal marijuana, but society should view medical marijuana in a negative way. Marijuana is still illegal under federal law in most parts of the country despite the states’ government changing the law to legalize it for medicinal purposes. Regardless, the use of medical marijuana is unethical, because marijuana is being treated as a good medicine to patients, and it is wrong to view it like that because of its harmful effects. In the past, people have found that marijuana gets them high and gives them a good feeling, taking away their pain and depression. Marijuana should be out of the hands of people, especially children and teens.

Works Cited
Clark, Peter A. “The Ethics of Medical Marijuana: Government Restrictions vs. Medical
Necessity.” Journal of Public Health Policy 21.1 (2000): 40-60. JSTOR. Web. 07 Sep.
2012.
Earleywine, Mitchell. Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence. New
York: Oxford University Press, 2002. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost). Web. 05 Sept. 2012.
Katel, Peter. “Legalizing Marijuana.” CQ Researcher 19.22 (2009): 525-548. CQ Researcher.
Web. 14 Sept. 2012.
Koch, Katchy. “Medical Marijuana.” CQ Researcher 9.31 (1999): 705-728. CQ Researcher.
Web. 14 Sept. 2012
United States. U.S Department of Justice Drug Enforcement Administration. The DEA Position on Marijuana. Jan 2011. Web. 10 Sep 2012.
United States. U.S. Department of Justice Office of the Deputy Attorney General. Memorandum
For Selected United State Attorneys on Investigations and Prosecutions in States
Authorizing the Medical Use of Marijuana. By David W. Ogden. 19 Oct. 2009. Web. 10 Sep. 2012.

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