Should Marijuana Be Legal By: Colby Gilbert E-mail: emailprotected Should Marijuana Be Legal This is a topic that has become a bit of concernamongst people in the past few years.
Marijuana has been illegal since theearly 1900s, but lately scientists have figured out that there are some uses ofmarijuana that could benefit people in need, people who are sick of deadlydiseases such as aids, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. These are all diseasesthat are hard for anyone to go through, especially without aid that helps thepain and misery from ceasing. Prohibiting marijuana has just made thingsworse, by increasing the price of marijuana, the illegal usage, and the moneyspent on trying to cease its use. Abraham Lincoln once said two quotes aboutprohibition, Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attemptsto control a mans appetite by legislation and makes crimes out of things thatare not crimes, and A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principlesupon which our government was founded. I believe that he is right for statingthat we have rights and they should not be taken for granted. He may havenot been thinking of marijuana when he made his speech, but it involvesprohibition, meaning prohibition in general and of any kind. The first crop ofAmerican hemp was grown in 1611 (Grinspoon 11). However, the modernpractice of smoking marijuana was not introduced until the 1920s.
This wasa time of drug intolerance. America was in the stages of the prohibition ofalcohol campaign. Marijuana was introduced and smoked by the earlyimmigrants. In the 1930s it was a common belief that immigrants wereinhumane and violent, so these attitudes were associated and blamed on themarijuana. By 1931 all but two states had anti-marijuana legislation.
By 1937all states had prohibited marijuana use and made it illegal to have anything todo with this drug. No research was ever made on marijuana at this time or itseffects. People simply believed in assumptions made about marijuana, suchthings as it provoked violent crime and caused insanity. Strategies of fightingmarijuana were silence and exaggeration.
People believed that by not tellingtheir children about marijuana, then they would not become curious and notexperiment with it. In the 1930s it was deemed that schools could not talkabout marijuana. The Motion Picture Association of America banned all filmsthat showed narcotics from 1934-1956 (Musto 46). This approach did notwork so people quickly moved onto the next step, exaggeration. Thepurpose of exaggerating was to scare possible users from trying marijuana.The American Journal of Medicine once wrote, Marijuana users willsuddenly turn with murderous violence upon whoever is nearest to them(Musto 44). One modern cause of prohibition was the belief that if themarijuana policy was relaxed, then more people would use marijuana. In1984 nationwide usage was at 26.
3%. In the eleven states that decriminalizedit it was 27.3%. In 1988 nationwide use was 15.4% and the eleven stateswas at 16.1%. The statistics show that by prohibiting it or allowing it, the usewould be one and the same. Holland is another example of the effect oflegalizing marijuana.
Holland legalized marijuana in 1976 and since then theyhave had a 40% reduction in marijuana users. Another statistic, in 197968.2% of the population of 18-25 year olds had tried marijuana at least once,and 30% were users. Those numbers are down now to 50% and 13%, butthe point is that after 30 years the drug is still being attained. Now if thepurpose of prohibiting marijuana is to eliminate its use, then prohibition hasfailed.
Prohibition has accomplished some things, one being it has madecriminal drug dealers richer. The risks of trafficking marijuana has increased,thus enabling these people raise the price of weed, which increases theirprofits. Second, marijuana has caused taxpayers tremendous amounts ofmoney on police, court costs, and jails. Last, it has torn apart families withmembers that use marijuana. Did you know that 58% of marijuana felonshave no relevant prior crime history, 91% were not considered organizers,leaders,