Legalized Marijuana

.. ubstance quickly gained popularity and spread throughout Persia. In 1545 the Spanish brought marijuana to the new world, they introduced it to Jamestown in 1611. The substance quickly became a cornerstone of their economy right next to tobacco. By 1890 hemp was being replaced by the cotton plant as far as textile uses.

It was around 1920 that the smoking of Marijuana became increasingly popular. Many believe that the popularity of the marijuana is due to the prohibition of alcohol that was present during those times. Marijuana clubs called tea pads began appearing in every Rubish 6 major city. These clubs were left alone by police because marijuana was not illegal, and the people at the clubs hardly ever caused any problems or bothered the surrounding community. Marijuana was not considered a threat during this time (Monfreddi 22).

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To understand how marijuana went from an acceptable social practice, to a national concern we need to go back to the 1920’s and 1930’s when a large number of Mexican immigrants began coming into the United States. They were generally viewed with prejudice and hatred due to nationalistic viewpoints. Many of them smoked marijuana on a regular basis. So when they would go out and do something violent it was natural for the people to blame it on the marijuana, it was somewhat of an escape goat for the people, a way to generalize all Mexicans together. And since most white Americans during this period hated the Mexican immigrants, they began to look down on marijuana through association with the violent Mexicans.

The people of the time did not need a large amount of objective data to base their decisions. So in a largely unchallenged vote 32 states had outlawed marijuana by 1932, by 1936 the rest of the states had followed (Zimmer 120). So why is it that in our modern society were prejudice is fought against so hard that we are still clinging to a law that was created out of a basically prejudice view of Mexicans? It may be the simple fact that taught behavior is so hard to deviate from. If your parents taught you when you were growing up that the moon was made of cheese you would believe them until some sort of evidence presented itself and proved beyond a reasonable doubt that they were not right. Just as with religion and homosexuality, views and opinions are usually based on a moral standing or belief.

Unlike a simple fact or Rubish 7 fiction statement, this is an idea that has been presented in a moral fashion. Anytime morals are involved it is an uphill struggle to change someone’s views. Another important question that needs to be addressed in the debate of legalization is how effective is the current policy on marijuana? The fact that the possession of these substances is ground for arrest and conviction only serves to increase the cost of the marijuana. This in turn only makes it more profitable for the drug dealers (McWilliams 64) . The more the government cracks down on marijuana the more dangerous and greedy the people who deal in it will become.

This only furthers the negative ideas currently held about marijuana. As with the Mexicans the substance itself will be synonymous with the people who are involved in its illegal trafficking . It seems almost ridiculous to compare marijuana with some other kinds of drugs such as cocaine, crack and heroin. How can the government put the same classification on these drugs as on marijuana? A teenager who is smoking marijuana at a party can receive the same harsh sentence as a crack dealer who runs a whorehouse across the street from a church. This may sound like an exaggeration but it is true.

The government keeps contradicting itself in its laws also, doctors realize the potential for excellent medicines derived from marijuana and THC. They conveniently found a way around the problem, they introduced a pill that contains concentrated amounts of THC it is called marinol. This pill actually contains 10 times the amount of THC that an average joint has. Marijuana is a class one drug, marinol was given a class three rating which means a prescription can be given over the phone (O’Neil F7). Rubish 8 This seems very hypocritical to me.

Why should something that is so helpful for pain and also has a recreational value be controlled solely by the upper class. I know exactly why, when an organization has money it has influence. Why should the government lose its stronghold monopoly on such a lucrative industry? It seems to me that they would rather keep the power out of the hands of the average citizen and keep it in the hands of the more influential members of society who have the power to help each other out. One argument that could be spoken on this issue of distribution and classification of the controlled substance would be that marijuana should be distributed only on a needed basis by a licensed doctor. Well that may be a good point, but you must also realize that a class three drug is something like Tylenol three with codeine. Don’t forget that this is a drug that is ten times more potent than regular marijuana and they are making it that easy to get.

You must also look at the other side of the issue what if you could get put in jail for having one tenth of a Tylenol pill? It may seem like a crazy comparison but it is in proper perspective. You can go to jail for having one joint in your possession, spend the next ten years paying for it alongside rapist and murderers. Or you can get a backache and go to your doctor and get the same thing only ten times stronger and be fine. This really does defy logical reasoning, there is no excuse for our government to make contradictory laws like this. The last of the major point to be debated on the legalization of marijuana is the cultural issue. It all began around the 1960’s when the Vietnam war began to arouse the feelings of brotherhood and peace in the minds of the American people. When a large Rubish 9 majority of the younger people began to use marijuana heavily it was viewed as simply deviant behavior, it was largely ignored by the police (Zimmer 105). That was until they did the ten year census and the American people decide that they did not like the deviant act of defying the law.

The fact that most of the people who were involved in the drugs and peace movements didn’t do things like fill out their census didn’t help either. This ultimately led to the crackdown on drugs. Since the people who propose the bills to congress were usually upper class older people, they had little or no tolerance for those who wished to rebel against the normally expected behavior. The fact that they started passing tougher laws on marijuana did not seem to slow down the use or production of the substance. In fact it became more lucrative than ever to sell marijuana.

This in turn led to an explosion of the craving for that which was forbidden (Zimmer 106). Just like a kid who eats the cookies he isn’t supposed to touch. Not only does this war on marijuana not solve the problem, it also takes an obscene amount of money out of the taxpayers pocket. It can always be argued that you don’t mind seeing your tax money spent on the prosecution of marijuana users. It is your right as an American to help shape and construct the laws which govern us in our great country.

But a person who holds this belief is also forgetting that there are many who would take the opposite position. Who think it is a waste of time to spend money and punish people so severely that should not even be considered in the same category as other criminals. There is a strong voice emerging in the crowds of the American people and it can not go ignored for much longer. As a society we are becoming more and more open minded about things that Rubish 10 were once considered cultural taboo. Don’t forget we are living in the same country that once made alcohol illegal through prohibition, it did not work in any sense. We are becoming a smarter, more educated people in our century, we should be able to learn from our past mistakes.

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