powered by PaperHelp.org
  • 100% plagiarism-free papers
  • Prices starting from $14 per page
  • Writers are native English speakers
  • Free revisions
  • Free title and reference pages
Order Now!

Essay Writing Help for Students since 2024

The price for the written assignment depends on 3 factors:

  • Number of pages.
  • Deadline.
  • Academic level.

Below you will find a convenient calculator; it allows to check the price of the order.

Fill out the information below to calculate your price

Calculate Price

Our writing service offers you  top-notch quality of service at a quite affordable price. It may seem rather low, but the thing is that we work for the sake of the students and understand the importance of client-oriented pricing.

Arguments For and Against the Legalisation of Marijuana in New Zealand

 Reference this

This essay will discuss the arguments for and against the legalisation of Marijuana. Firstly, the history of Marijuana use in New Zealand will be discussed. Followed by the physiological and psychological effects and mechanism’s behind Marijuana use. Thirdly, the social factors of marijuana use, such as criminal activity and conviction rates in New Zealand will be identified and discussed. Following on with the arguments for and against legalising Marijuana will be made. Concluding with the final argument of the essay as whether or not it should be legalized.

Get Help With Your Essay

If you need assistance with writing your essay, our professional essay writing service is here to help!

Find out more

Marijuana use has historically been used for cultural and medicinal purposes, with the introduction of recreational use appearing in the 19th century. Marijuana contains the psychoactive ingredient Tetrahydrocannabinol or THC (Svrakic, Lustman, Mallya, Lynn, Finney, & Svrakic, 2012). Marijuana or cannabis is an illicit drug used recreationally to receive a high, or experience the euphoric state of happiness, relaxation and perceptual alterations (Hall, 2009). Recreational and non-medicinal use of Marijuana surged from the mid-nineteenth century, predominantly among youth. Studies have found that marijuana used is linked to major adverse effects on mental and physical health.  Acute and long-term impacts of Marijuana use cause significant neuropharmacological, cognitive and behavioural impacts such as short-term memory loss, poor concentration, interference with coordination as well as judgement (Joffe, 2009).

The introduction of the Drug Misuse Act in New Zealand established in 1927 saw Cannabis and other substances become illegal (Noller, 2008). The Drug Misuse Act defines the legal consequences of disobeying the law in terms of drug use and the classification of drugs in terms of potential harms (Noller, 2008). In New Zealand, Cannabis is classified as a Class C drug and carriers a penalty of up to 3 years in prison for the possession and up to 8 years for the cultivation and supply or distribution (Fergusson, 2002).  The legal status of Cannabis use varies between different countries, such as that in California in the United States where the use of Cannabis is decriminalized (Syrakic et al., 2012). In New Zealand, Cannabis is the most widely used illicit drug among youth and adolescents (Fergusson, 2002). The regular or chronic use of Cannabis is a major concern for Public Health.  Studies have shown that long-term use can result in addiction, increased risk of anxiety and depression, as well as negative effects on brain function, with rates increasing for use in adolescents (Volkow, Baler, Compton, & Weiss, 2014).

Chronic and continuous use of marijuana has many psychological effects such as addiction, poor cognitive ability, poor IQ, as well as provide a gateway for more harmful drugs and substances (Fergusson, 2000). The use of cannabis or marijuana can have effects on the cognitive ability of humans, impacting their ability to perform tasks. The negative effects of marijuana use, such as impaired neural activity and poor IQ are higher and more severe for use during adolescents (Volkow et al., 2014).  Marijuana is the most common form of illicit substance used by adolescents over 12 years and results in the most harm. Exposure of adolescents to the chemicals in marijuana such as THC can result in adverse psychological effects such as anxiety, depression and addiction (Volkow et al., 2014).

The use of cannabis has a number of acute and chronic effects on mental health. The acute effects involve poor cognition and performance such as mental slowness, euphoria and anxiety (Dragan, 2012). The effects of marijuana use are said to last up to eight hours, with no residual effects after 16-23 hours (Heishman, Huestis, Henningfield, & Cone,1990). Chronic or repeated use of cannabis involve selective impairments on higher cognitive functions such as impaired focus attention.  The use of Marijuana during developmental periods such as during adolescents, place higher risk and greater negative effects on neural and functional connectivity of the brain (Volkow et al., 2014). Marijuana use in adolescents has been linked to lower IQ, increased risk of anxiety and depression as well as addictive behaviour in adulthood. However, the risk on mental and physical health can be affected by cannabis use, death by overdose are very uncommon.

The social impacts of marijuana use are focused around law enforcement and incarceration due to cannabis. Over the past 30 years there has been a large increase in the use of cannabis among youth, resulting in a common in experience within society. As well as harmful effects of cannabis use on health, cannabis use also has harmful effects on societal issues, such as the harmful effects of legislation of cannabis. In New Zealand, possession of cannabis can result in 3 months imprisonment with the penalties of supply and cultivation carrying a jail sentence of up to 8 years (Fergusson, Swain-Campbell, & Horwood, 2003). It is found that the impact of conviction for cannabis can have detrimental impacts on an individual’s live. The impacts of conviction for cannabis can include a poor rate of employment as well as poor family interactions.

The legalisation of Marijuana would see the change of status within society, making it similar to that of alcohol and tobacco. Legalisation would indicate that the government has no control or concern for the use of the drug by individuals (Joffe, & Yancy, 2004). However, legalisation would allow the government to regulate the advertisement, sale and distribution of Marijuana in order to protect public health safety. For example, in the Netherlands, personal use is permitted while the possession of Marijuana is illegal (Joffe, & Yancy, 2004). One of the major arguments in favour of the legalisation of marijuana focus on the reduction of police and correctional resources, reduction in judicial resources as well as the regulation and tax available from Marijuana revenue. Marijuana arrests is a major cost of the policing budget while the black-market value of Marijuana manufacturing is estimated to be between $131-$190 million (Wilkins, 2005). By legalising Marijuana, it provides a new source of revenue for the government which can be used to facilitate drug help centres, regulate drug use and focus on reducing other, more serious drug use. Also, the legalisation of Marijuana will allow monitoring and restriction on the development of the product and prevent products such as synthetic cannabis, which is an alternative to natural cannabis and has major effects on health.

Another argument for the legalisation of the personal use of Marijuana is that the effects are less harmful than alcohol and tobacco. It is argued the cost of Marijuana in terms of cost to society, health and financial is far less serious than alcohol and tobacco which are legalised drugs (Joffe, & Yancy, 2004). By legalising Marijuana, it creates an acceptability and accessibility to the psychoactive drug. By creating easier access to a less harmful drug such as Marijuana, it could decrease the use of more harmful legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, and therefore reduce the harms out negative outcomes that exists.

The legalisation of Marijuana can have many impacts on the health of individuals as well as society. The legalisation of Marijuana will result in lower prices and higher consumption. An increase in marijuana use will likely lead to an increase in dependence places a large burden on drug treatment services and resources (Kilmer, Caulkins, Pacula, MacCoun, & Reuter, 2010). Scientists have found that the withdrawal from Marijuana is linked by the same the chemical, to anxiety and stress, such as that demonstrated in alcohol and cocaine withdrawal (Joffe, & Yancy, 2004).  By legalising Marijuana, it removes the jurisdiction of drug admissions to health services due to criminal-justice referrals. This could be problematic as people would have less access to the drug treatment and services they require. Another problematic impact of legalisation of Marijuana is that the drug has been identified as a precedent drug to more harmful substances such as cocaine and heroin (Kilmer et al., 2010). For example, becoming dependent on Marijuana can increase vulnerability to abusing other substances such as cocaine and heroin. By legalising the use of Marijuana, it could place a higher risk on an increase in more dangerous substances including cocaine and heroin.

Find out how UKEssays.com can help you!

Our academic experts are ready and waiting to assist with any writing project you may have. From simple essay plans, through to full dissertations, you can guarantee we have a service perfectly matched to your needs.

View our services

Another argument against the legalisation of Marijuana is the impact it could have on drugged driving, especially when combined with other licit drugs such as alcohol. Driving under the influence of marijuana has no significant impairments on response rates or performance, while it can diminish these responses, it is unlikely to cause fatalities. However, when Marijuana and alcohol are used in conjunction with each other, the combined effect causes significant impairments on the ability to drive (Kilmer et al., 2010). Therefore, by legalising Marijuana, it places the driver at risk of driving under the influence of both alcohol and marijuana, resulting is serious effects for both the individual and society.

Arguments against the legalisation of Marijuana state that by legalising the personal use of Marijuana, will result in an increase use, resulting in higher social, economic and health related costs. It is found that in states where Marijuana use is legalised or decriminalized, rates of marijuana use increased significantly, especially amongst youth and adolescents (Joffe, & Yancy, 2004). By legalising the personal use of Marijuana, it opens the opportunity of advertisement for its use, exposing youth and adolescents to the negative impacts of drug use. Advertisement focused on youth and adolescents, such as those present in tobacco marketing, can result in higher exposure of youth to Marijuana use and addiction resulting in associated negative health outcomes (Joffe, & Yancy, 2004).  Another impact on youth from the legalisation of marijuana is the decrease in risk perceptions by youth, resulting in greater use. By legalising the drug, it could be interpreted by some to be a lesser risk therefore resulting in higher use.

The final argument to the legalisation of Marijuana is that it will produce more harm than good to both individuals and society. The legalisation will allow easier access and acceptability to yet another drug producing harm. The legalisation will also reduce the restriction and regulation around advertisement and promotion of the substance. However, there are negative impacts to the harsh convictions and strict regulation around the use of Marijuana such as the cost to police and judicial services. An alternative to the legalization of Marijuana which would see the complete eradication of laws and regulation around recreational use, is to Decriminalise it (Joffe, & Yancy, 2004). The Decriminalisation of Marijuana would see the removal of criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of the drug (Maloff, 1981).  Decriminalising the drug will reduce costs to law enforcement and the justice system whilst still enforcing possession and distribution of large amounts.

In conclusion, the legalisation of Marijuana will increase substance use and produce more harm related outcomes such as those that are present in legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Even though there are positive impacts of legalising Marijuana such as the reduction of judicial and political costs and creating a tax revenue from sales. The full removal of laws around the recreational use and possession would put individuals and society at greater risk. Instead an alternative such as decriminalisation should be considered, which will see the reduction of enforcement and criminal penalties of small outs of possession while still regulating possession and personal use and distribution.


  • Aung, A. T., Pickworth, W. B., & Moolchan, E. T. (2004). History of marijuana use and tobacco smoking topography in tobacco-dependent adolescents. Addictive behaviors29(4), 699-706.
  • Daryal, M. (2002). Prices, legalisation and marijuana consumption. University Avenue Undergraduate Journal of Economics6(1), 3.
  • Svrakic, D. M., Lustman, P. J., Mallya, A., Lynn, T. A., Finney, R., Svrakic, N. M. (2012). Legalization, Decriminalization & Medicinal Use of Cannabis: A Scientific and Public Health Perspective. Missouri Medicine, 109(2), 90-98.
  • Fergusson, D. M., Swain-Campbell, N. R., & Horwood, L. J. (2003). Arrests and convictions for cannabis related offences in a New Zealand birth cohort. Drug and Alcohol Dependence70(1), 53-63.
  • Heishman, S. J., Huestis, M. A., Henningfield, J. E., & Cone, E. J. (1990). Acute and residual effects of marijuana: profiles of plasma THC levels, physiological, subjective, and performance measures. Pharmacology Biochemistry and Behavior37(3), 561-565.
  • Hopfer, C. (2014). Implications of marijuana legalization for adolescent substance use. Substance Abuse35(4), 331-335.
  • Joffe, A., & Yancy, W. S. (2004). Legalization of marijuana: potential impact on youth. Pediatrics113(6), e632-e638.
  • Kilmer, B., Caulkins, J. P., Pacula, R. L., MacCoun, R. J., & Reuter, P. (2010). Altered state?: assessing how marijuana legalization in California could influence marijuana consumption and public budgets. Santa Monica, CA: RAND.
  • Maloff, D. (1981). A review of the effects of the decriminalization of marijuana. Contemp. Drug Probs.10, 307.
  • Noeller, G. (2008). Cannabis in New Zealand; perceptions of use and policy.
  • Single, E., Christie, P., & Ali, R. (2000). The impact of cannabis decriminalisation in Australia and the United States. Journal of public health policy21(2), 157-186.
  • Single, E. W. (1989). The impact of marijuana decriminalization: an update. Journal of public health policy10(4), 456-466.
  • Volkow, N. D., Baler, R. D., Compton, W. M., & Weiss, S. R. (2014). Adverse health effects of marijuana use. New England Journal of Medicine370(23), 2219-2227.
  • Wilkins, C., Bhatta, K., & Casswell, S. (2002). The effectiveness of cannabis crop eradication operations in New Zealand. Drug and Alcohol Review21(4), 369-374.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *