Table of Contents
· In this scenario you have been hired by the President of the United States of America to provide health policy recommendations. Currently there is a great debate about if we should outlaw super sized soft drinks or legalize marijuana. You need to research both options, decide which one you recommend and create a paper and justifying your recommendation.
· An overview of both issues from a health perspective including scientifically proven health pros and cons
· Specific health information for each issue as it relates to obesity rates
· An overview of both issues from an economic perspective
· An overview of both issues from an ethical perspective
· An overview of both issues from a political perspective
· Your recommendation regarding which one to pursue policy implementation and an explanation why
· Reference list
If you have any questions please let me know.
Banning Super-Size Soft Drinks VS. Legalizing Marijuana
The debate on whether to either legalize marijuana or ban super-sized drinks should conclude with the government considering the former option. Legalization of marijuana fetches money for the state while a ban on super-sized beverages would create extra expenses for the country. Marijuana has a broad range of medicinal values while super-sized soft drinks have none thus the need to ban them from the market.
One of the biggest health challenges experienced in the U.S. is increased obesity both in children and adults. Moreover, type 2 diabetes is on the rise due to the large intake of sugary diets. Americans have embraced the consumption of super-sized drinks due to their affordability and availability. It is important to ban these types of beverages to give room to Americans to make healthy food choices. Continued intake of these drinks will increase the vulnerability of Americans to type 2 diabetes and obesity. In the long run, the state will divert most of its funds towards medication at the expense of other nation building projects such as education and infrastructure.
Super-sized drinks would, however, be a source of revenue for the government if the state considered increasing its taxation over banning. The approach has proved efficient in the U.S., for instance, both tobacco and alcohol have high taxations that discourage most people from consuming these substances. Currently, the cost of large drinks is lower compared to the smaller ones thus encouraging most Americans to buy the super-sized ones since they are economical. It is important that the government shifts this taxation and impose high taxes on the super-sized drinks.
The government should consider other potential means of curbing overconsumption of foods rich in calories instead of placing bans on their consumption. The law, for instance, demands that food manufacturers label their products and indicate the percentage of calories contained. As a result, consumers will only purchase a product if they feel satisfied with its ingredients. However, the law is ineffective given the number of Americans who ignore reading labels on products before they buy (Marlow, 2013). It would also cost the government significant funds to conduct awareness campaigns to educate the masses about studying labels before selecting a particular product.
Large intakes of sugary diets increase the buildup of calories in the body which translates to obesity. Although the government spends significant funds in the treatment of obesity and other related illnesses such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, it can embrace a more natural approach which is less expensive in preventing diabetes – legalizing marijuana. The study of Forshee, Anderson, & Storey (2008) proves the relationship between marijuana consumption and a lower BMI. Other proven health advantages of marijuana include promoting a lower body fat percentage and insulin resistance. Moreover, nonusers of marijuana are the biggest victims of obesity compared to the users (Forshee et al., 2008).
Legalizing marijuana would fetch the government significant revenue especially at a time when the state experiences financial instability (Hajizadeh, 2016). The government should embrace other legal and additional means of generating income such as legalizing marijuana and taxing activities related to its sale and consumption. States that have legalized weed such as Colorado have continued to reap significant funds from its taxation. The country realizes millions of dollars annually from marijuana taxes (Ghosh, Van Dyke, Maffey, Whitley, Gillim-Ross, & Wolk, 2016).
The U.S. has a history of congestion in its prison system. The jails are full of convicts of drug abuse while the police officers spend time pursuing addicts of drugs such as marijuana while other dangerous criminals such as violence and murder receive little attention. The government can rise above this challenge by legalizing marijuana since the police officers will have more space to fight against serious crimes in the society. On the same note, the judges and prosecutors would not suffer from excessive workloads thus getting adequate time to be attentive to other dangerous crimes (Hajizadeh, 2016). Further, the prison system would realize more space which is economical to the country as more inmates mean increased expenses such as food.
Researchers have confirmed the medicinal value of marijuana such as treating multiple sclerosis (MS), Crohn’s disease, posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and epilepsy. Some states such as New Jersey, Massachusetts, and California have already legalized the use of medical marijuana under the instructions of a medic (Hoffmann & Weber, 2010). However, legalizing marijuana would pose various problems to the country such as increasing the vulnerability of the users to heart diseases. Marijuana users realize an increased heart rate from 20 to 100 three hours after smoking. As a result, the smoker is prone to heart-related conditions such as palpitations and attack (Ghosh et al., 2016). Further, legalizing weed would harm the bystanders after inhaling the smoke. The patrons in bars and restaurants, for instance, will be at increased risk of inhaling smoke from a heavy drug.
Despite the harmful effects of legalizing marijuana, its benefits weigh more, and the government should thus consider its legalization. Individuals can avoid the adverse impacts by ensuring they use the recommended quantities. Moreover, the government should introduce smoking zones to prevent smokers from using the drug in public areas and exposing the bystanders to second-hand smoke. When smokers become more responsible, they will reap the benefits of marijuana as negative outcomes only result from abuse of the drug.
Conclusively, legalizing marijuana is better than banning super-sized drinks. Whereas marijuana has medical values, super-sized drinks do not have a health benefit. The ban would also cost the government in funding awareness campaigns, for instance, to educate the masses on the importance of studying labels before making a purchase. However, legalizing marijuana is a strategy for the state to generate revenue from taxes.
Forshee, R. A., Anderson, P. A., & Storey, M. L. (2008). Sugar-sweetened beverages and body mass index in children and adolescents: a meta-analysis. The American journal of clinical nutrition, 87(6), 1662-1671.
Marlow, M. L. (2013). Soda regulation is not the solution. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 1, 2.
Hoffmann, D. E., & Weber, E. (2010). Medical marijuana and the law. New England Journal of Medicine, 362(16), 1453-1457.
Hajizadeh, M. (2016). Legalizing and regulating marijuana in Canada: review of potential economic, social, and health impacts. International journal of health policy and management, 5(8), 453.
Ghosh, T., Van Dyke, M., Maffey, A., Whitley, E., Gillim-Ross, L., & Wolk, L. (2016). The public health framework of legalized marijuana in Colorado. American journal of public health, 106(1), 21-27.