Category: Review

Baker, Danial E. "Legalization of Recreational and Medical Marijuana: What We Don't Know." Hospital Pharmacy, vol. 49, no. 4, 2014, pp. 319-320.

The article by Danial Baker refers to the pitfalls of marijuana legalization and is directly connected with the topic. The author emphasizes the fact that marijuana is still "classified as a Schedule I substance" (Baker 319). Although in USA some states have already legalized its usage for medical purposes, marijuana is still prohibited on federal level. The article draws attention to potential risks of usage of this substance that will be preserved even after its legalization and relies on medical researches that contributes to its credibility. First of all, the instances of marijuana consummation have to be indicated in patient's medical history. However, even now majority of people do not do that. Hence, with its legalization, it will be impossible to prescribe the dose that will not contribute to the development of addiction. Moreover, impact of marijuana on health has not been observed clearly yet. There is no evidence of its either positive or negative impact on patients with serious diseases related to the breath system. Thus, Baker states that due to lack of answers the society should refrain from legalizing drug's usage even for medical purposes and conduct further, more precise investigation of its impacts.

Bostwick, J. Michael. "Blurred Boundaries: The Therapeutics and Politics of Medical Marijuana." Mayo Clinic Proceedings, vol. 87, no. 2, 2012, pp. 172-186.

The article by Michael Bostwick is directly connected to the topic of legalization since it touches not only upon the questions related to beneficial or harmful therapeutic effect of marijuana, but also political outcomes of its legalization. It begins with brief overview of the history of marijuana that was first used in medicine in the middle of the XIX century but was eventually completely forbidden in 1970, when it was classified as Schedule I substance. Establishing relationships between its components and psychosis, the author indicates the changes in human behavior and body functions, emphasizing development of addiction. Having compared potential threats and benefits, Bostwick provides the insight into the issue from political perspective. The author reports existence of discrepancies between laws inside each state since states lack consensus on what constitutes physician authorization, which patients qualify for treatment, and how they can acquire their botanical cannabis" (Bostwick 182). The article basically presents author's personal point of view and, due to its subjectivity, may not be considered as a completely reliable source.

Caulkins, Jonathan P., et al. Options and Issues Regarding Marijuana Legalization. RAND Corporation, 2015.

This paper presents overview of marijuana policies existing in the USA with the emphasis on recent changes that should be taken into consideration in discussion of legalization of cannabis. It begins with brief description of legislative actions taken within a few previous years and related to the problem of legalization of marijuana. The paper underlines false opinions that treat marijuana question as binary choice between prohibition and the for-profit commercial model" and refers to alternative possibilities (Caulkins et al. 2). It defines possible strategies of drug distribution that are hidden under the label of legalization. Marijuana sale may adopt the model of alcohol and tobacco sale or may be accessible only in drug stores on prescription. The article does not present any facts for or against legalization, but it raises many questions relevant to this topic. For example, it is still not clear what types of organizations will be authorized to distribute cannabis, the universal prices and taxes are not defined. No decisions have been made regarding the information about this substance that has to be spread alongside with the sold product.

Cerda, Magdalena, et al. "Medical Marijuana Laws in 50 States: Investigating the Relationship Between State Legalization of Medical Marijuana and Marijuana Use, Abuse and Dependence." Drug and Alcohol Dependence, vol. 120, no. 1-3, 2012, pp. 22 - 27.

Current article presents the investigation of the impact of legalization of marijuana on the US citizens. It is grounded on analysis of the data received from reports from all the states in order to compare the indicators of the states that allow medical cannabis and the ones that prohibit that. Suchlike analysis indicates a number of possible consequences of legalization including group-level approval of drug use and increased level of addiction. The authors used the following credible sources to address the issue on global level: "second wave of the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions (NESARC) and National Survey on Drug Use and Health (NSDUH)" (Cerda et al. 22). The choice of sources makes the article a trustworthy resource. The results demonstrated higher ratio of marijuana use and subsequent development of addiction in states where marijuana was legalized. On individual level, the rate of usage of this substance was almost 2 times higher in the states that did not prohibit its use. The research does not indicate legalization as direct reason of growing number of marijuana consumers. However, it calls community to consider the observed tendency and concludes with presentation of four potential mechanisms of relationships between legalization and use or addiction.

Crippa, Jos A. S., et al. "Marijuana, Feijoada and the Debate on Drug Legalization." Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4, 2013, p. 7.

The article entitled "Marijuana, Feijoada and the Debate on Drug Legalization" dives into the subject of legalization and provides thorough description of what is meant by the frame of non-prohibition policy. The author states that the object of legalization is related to cannabinoids - components of marijuana. Some of them possess strong psychoactive features and make negative impact on human organism causing addition. However, such components as Cannabidiol make opposite effect because of its "anxiolytic and antipsychotic properties" (Crippa et al.). This compound is tested as a part of the cure from such health disorders as "Parkinson's disease, schizophrenia, social phobia, post-traumatic stress disorder, smoking, epilepsy, depression" (Crippa et al.). The article refers to the history of marijuana implementation in medical practice and marks decline of its usage at the beginning of the XX century. It also provides information regarding medical researches aimed at definition of cannabinoids' positive properties and indicates works of Israeli scholar, Professor Raphael Mechoulam. References to historical data and well-known scholars contribute to the reliability of this source. Authors aim at demonstration of the difference between marijuana as an illegal drug consumed by addicted people and cannabinoids as components with beneficial properties that can be legalized in medicine.

Hopfer, Christian. "Implications of Marijuana Legalization for Adolescent Substance Use." Substance Abuse : Official Publication of the Association for Medical Education and Research in Substance Abuse, vol. 35, no. 4, 2014, pp. 331-335.

Christian Hopfer focuses on the impact of marijuana legalization on adolescence. The author expresses concerns related to possible increase of marijuana usage among young people that may result in development of addiction. Other negative consequences indicated in the article include development of psychotic disorders, malfunctioning of cognitive mechanism, increase in school drop rate and engagement in dangerous or even criminal activities. He considers legalization and marijuana distribution in pharmacies to be the first step towards its massive expansion of country's market predicting the emergence of various kinds of products that will contain this substance (not exclusively medicine). There are also concerns due to the fact that "claims that marijuana has medicinal benefits create additional challenges for adolescent prevention efforts as they contrast with messages of its harmfulness" (Hopfer 331). However, the author does not completely object to legalization. Hopfer refers to Colorado's experience as the example of reduction of marijuana usage among adolescence observed after its full legalization on state level. Legalization of marijuana will require substantial documented guidance for physicians to provide necessary information about both healthy and harmful properties of this substance. The article basically provides author's ideas and evokes certain doubts in its scientific reliability.

Kang, Soo K., et al. "From Forbidden Fruit to the Goose that Lays Golden Eggs: Marijuana Tourism in Colorado." SAGE Open, vol. 6, no. 4, 2016, pp. 1 - 12.

The article entitled "From Forbidden Fruit to the Goose That Lays Golden Eggs: Marijuana Tourism in Colorado" defines legalization of marijuana as the key to multibillion-dollar incomes and analyzes this phenomenon from economic perspective. Even though it has been legalized only in few states inside the United States, the estimated income from this sphere by 2020 comprises 22 billion dollars. Reliability of this resource is confirmed by the fact that it actually represents the research based on the information about development of marijuana industry in the state of Colorado. The article describes regulations of its distribution and use in this state. For example, there it is stated that people "21 or older can buy up to an ounce of marijuana per visit, while out-of-state visitors can purchase a quarter ounce of marijuana per visit" (Kang et al. 1). The authors give generally positive evaluation of legalization of marijuana. Referencing to the economics of Colorado, there are presented examples of business opportunities derived from new policies. Tourism and hospitality are defined as the branches that can benefit from the legalization the most.

McGinty, Emma E., et al. "The Emerging Public Discourse on State Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use in the US: Analysis of News Media Coverage, 2010-2014." Preventive Medicine, 90, 2016, pp. 114 - 120.

The article entitled "The Emerging Public Discourse on State Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational Use in the US: Analysis of News Media Coverage, 2010-2014" provides analysis of mass media items related to the question of legalization of marijuana. The authors emphasize significant role of media as the primer source of information in delivering objective facts and warnings regarding excessive use of the drug even if its use is legally allowed. At present, there is no clear scientific evidence of all the consequences of marijuana. Hence, media is expected to provide up-to-date information about recreational marijuana policy. Having analyzed content of news stories in both printed and online sources that were published between 2010 and 2014 the researchers have found out that the topic of legalized marijuana most frequently appeared in states of Colorado, Washington, Alaska, Oregon and District of Columbia. Such vast amount of analyzed data proves trustworthiness of the article. As for the actual content, "53% of news stories mentioned pro-legalization arguments and 47% mentioned anti-legalization arguments" (McGinty et al. 114). Pro-legalization articles focused reader's attention on reduction of crime and illegal trade while those that presented arguments against legalization referred to possible increase of level of addiction among youth and marijuana-impaired driving.

Megan A., et al. "Marijuana Experiences, Voting Behaviors and Early Perspectives Regarding Marijuana Legalization Among College Students from Two States." Journal of American College Health, vol. 64, no. 1, 2016, pp. 9 - 18.

This study aims at analyzing experiences of college students related to marijuana and determine their attitude towards the possibility of its legalization. Selected form of research with clearly defined methodology and results contributes to the credibility of this resource. The 283 participants included students from Wisconsin and Washington. By means of phone interviews the authors discovered their "marijuana attitudes, intentions, behaviors, voting behaviors or intentions, and perceptions of the impact of legislation" (Moreno et al. 9). The described findings demonstrate that approximately half of the participants in both states supported legalization of recreational marijuana. However, half of the participants also reported lifetime use of this substance and even more reported the intention to use it in the next year. Majority of participants claimed that drug's legalization will not influence their attitude towards its usage. Those who used marijuana indicated "reduced fear of legal consequences" as the major outcome of legalization and did not report intentions to use it in larger amounts or more frequently (Moreno et al. 15). The minor part of participants, that have never tried marijuana but expressed positive attitude towards its consummation reported possibility of its usage after legalization. The research also demonstrated lowering interest in marijuana among young people.

Roffman, Roger A. "Legalization of Marijuana: Unraveling Quandaries for the Addiction Professional." Frontiers in Psychiatry, 4, 2013, p. 50.

This article presents discussion of the process of marijuana legalization, public attitude and possible consequences of such step. The author attempts to compare effect of prohibition and non-prohibition policies on the degree of negative consequences of usage of this drug. He mentions that the countries that raised question regarding legalization of this substance include Australia, Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and the United States (Roffman 50). At present, in the USA 18 states and the District of Columbia have adopted laws allowing distribution of medical marijuana, though it remains to be illegal on federal level. Among negative outcomes of prohibition of marijuana there are enrichment and growth of black markets, popularization of gangs that act as illegal distributors of the substance and uncontrolled consummation by people. However, with legalization of this drug government may acquire mechanisms to control all those negative outcomes. The quality and amount of prescribed marijuana will be controlled by specialists to prevent development of addiction and minimize the impact of its harmful components. Presented arguments bear subjective nature and may not be considered purely reliable.