Marijuana Impact on Societies and Public Health

Drug abuse is a crucial social problem nowadays, negatively affecting health ate locally and globally. One should discuss the impact of one of the most popular drugs, marijuana, on societies. Utah is a state where marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes, which caused an annual increase in people participating in this program. National reports analyzing the effect of marijuana in the USA demonstrate statistics regarding car accidents and teenage deaths caused by marijuana affection. Although the USA remains one of the leading states in marijuana consumption, drug abuse is a global issue, producing many challenges to public health.

To begin with, Utah is a state in the USA where marijuana is allowed for medical purposes. On this local level, according to the Utah Department of Health (2021), “the number of medical cannabis cardholders with an active status more than tripled from September 30, 2020 (11,000) to September 30, 2021 (37,683)” (p. 1). In other words, there are nearly 40 thousand people using marijuana in Utah in 2021, and this number will be growing with a high probability. According to Population U (2021), now 3.34 million people are living in Utah, meaning at least 1% of the state’s whole population actively uses medical marijuana, and some use this drug illegally. In other words, the number of people addicted to this drug is relatively big, and the tendency shows the potential increase of this number in the following years.

Concerning the impact that the consumption of marijuana has on the United States, it negatively affects teenagers, and this influence can be seen at the local level (Utah) as well. For instance, as it was reported by NCDAS (2021), “Marijuana is the most common illicit drug found in drivers who die in accidents (around 14% of drivers), though it is often combined with alcohol or other drugs” (para. 4). In other words, a lot of accidents, ending up with driver deaths, were caused by the use of marijuana. Moreover, depression and anxiety are pointed out to be a consequence of marijuana usage among teenagers in the USA (NCDAS, 2021). Thus, the impact of marijuana abuse in the USA on the young population is highly negative.

Although the United States remains a leader in terms of the number of people using marijuana, the problem of this drug abuse is significant at the global level. According to Bahji and Stephenson (2019), the long-term effects of marijuana use include “addiction, altered brain development, poor educational outcome, cognitive impairment, diminished life satisfaction” (p. 2). In other words, drug abuse remains to be a global problem that creates challenges for public health. For instance, because of the ongoing debates about the legalization of cannabis, various aspects of this policy appeared to be discussed and analyzed before being adopted.

To conclude, one of the main challenges to public health is to make marijuana used in medical treatment only, eliminating its production in black markets. The legalization of this drug might achieve this; however, very few states agreed to do this. Marijuana abuse does not contribute to the economic increase, as there is no taxation imposed on goods in black markets. This is true for local, national, and global levels, despite medical and legitimized cannabis in Utah, for instance. Finally, to mitigate this crisis, and increase tax revenues, the legalization of marijuana might be proposed.


Bahji, A., & Stephenson, C. (2019). International Perspectives on the Implications of Cannabis Legalization: A Systematic Review & Thematic Analysis. International journal of environmental research and public health, 16(17), 3095. Web.

NCDAS. (2021). Marijuana Addiction: Rates & Usage Statistics. Web.

Population U. (2021). Utah Population. Web.

Utah Department of Health. (2021). Annual Report from the Center for Medical Cannabis. Web.

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