BP #5: Utilitarianism and Marijuana

Like usual, link to the article here.


Yep, I’m going to be that guy. I’m going to talk about why marijuana is something that should be legal, but with a twist. I’ll be using strictly a utilitarian mindset.

So the article this week is about how the U.S. Justice Department is going to step up its enforcement on recreation marijuana. The key word here is “recreational,” as in specifically not using marijuana for medical reasons. While it’s good that they wont target medical marijuana, I still think that recreational marijuana should be legal. Now let me take a moment to step away from my own personal bias and take on a utilitarian mindset.

One of the main goals of utilitarianism is to produce the greatest net good. This means that even if the action causes some bad things, as long as the majority of it is good, then it will not matter.

We’ll start with the Justice Department’s current stance on recreational marijuana: that it shouldn’t be legal. What are the outcomes of this action?

  1. People will be upset that they cannot use marijuana for recreational purposes.
    1. This goes against a hedonistic viewpoint that the goal for humans is to be happy. If using marijuana makes them happy, then following hedonistic utilitarianism, recreational marijuana should be legal.
  2. This will result in states not being able to tax or sell recreational marijuana.
    1. This goes against basic utilitarian views if we believe that the government is mean to do good for people (which they hopefully should). If the government gains more money, then they are able to spend it on things to help the general good. By restricting the taxing or selling of recreational marijuana by the government, they are limiting the good that can be done, thus netting a negative.

As you can see, these two examples alone seem to illustrate my point very well. In order to do the most good, the government should allow the states to sell and tax recreational marijuana. By doing so, they are not only making individuals that buy marijuana happy, but they are making the general public happy through the government gaining more funding.

If you don’t agree with me, or have any other points to make, feel free to comment below. Thanks for reading.


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