The topic of medical marijuana has always piqued public attention globally as a result of the decisions made by several governments in developed and developing countries to legalise marijuana for medical use. There is a rising movement to reject our antiquated moralistic view of marijuana, despite opponents’ steadfast adherence to the notion that legalisation would be harmful. This is due to the change in public perception about medicinal marijuana usage, which is now viewed as secure, ethical, and worthy of legalisation.
However, anyone who consumes or possesses marijuana will face harsh penalties under the Malaysian law. Under the Malaysian Dangerous Drugs Act 1952 (Act 234), marijuana is classified as a dangerous drug, and is prohibited. It is listed in the First Schedule [Sections 2, 11 (1), and 17 (30)], and possession of more than 200g of marijuana without the intent to use it, is a serious crime that carries the death penalty.
The legalisation of marijuana is opposed on the grounds that more people would use it because the government will disregard the harmful health effects of smoking if it is permitted. Many people think that the youth who might not now smoke, would start doing so if legalisation were to happen. This claim has some merit because it can be seen that marijuana use among young adults in the Netherlands has increased after it was made legal. However, research indicates that in the same year, consumption among Americans in the same age group increased by a comparable amount without any legalisation. It is obvious that prohibiting marijuana use alone would not stop individuals from consuming it, but legalising and imposing control by implementing several regulations may assist to reduce any negative effects.
Legalising marijuana would be a good example of utilitarianism since it would have more positive effects than negative ones. According to Markulla, utilitarianism is “a moral principle that holds that the morally right course of action in any situation is the one that produces the greatest balance of benefits over harms for everyone affected.”
Proponents of legalisation point to the beneficial medical uses of marijuana as a major reason in favour of abolishing the restriction, particularly on medical use. According to Barnes (2000), the government has a duty to support the study of and use of medicinal marijuana in situations where it has been shown to have beneficial therapeutic effects. Marijuana has been used medically to treat a variety of conditions, including glaucoma-related intraocular pressure, nausea and vomiting, pain management, multiple sclerosis-related spasticity, and the management of chronic symptoms in AIDS patients. Legalising marijuana for medicinal use is giving patients access to medication (in the form of medical marijuana) to treat their symptoms or sickness wherever there is accessible supporting clinical and scientific data.
These medicinal applications back up the morality of marijuana legalisation when considering the common good. The advantages of allowing marijuana to be researched and used, exceed the drawbacks by a wide margin. Legalising marijuana will provide interested parties an access to it, and allow for monitoring of consumption. This justification fits the utilitarianism idea as well. The moral view is backed up by the reality that people suffer less harm. According to this view, marijuana legalisation may be handled amicably. The aim of morality is to increase the amount of good things that make people happy and promote pleasure, much like utilitarianism.
The usage of medicinal marijuana complies with utilitarian principles since it benefits a small group of persons who need access to the substance without harming others who do not. Given that it benefits the society as a whole, it seems evident that an ethicist should favour the use of medical marijuana.
**The facts and views expressed are solely that of the author/authors and do not necessarily reflect that of the editorial board