Should Marijuana Be Legal Essay

This essay has a total of 1348 words and 7 pages.

Should Marijuana Be Legal

Should Marijuana Be Legal

This is a topic that has become a bit of concern amongst people in the past few years.
Marijuana has been illegal since the early 1900’s, but lately scientists have figured out
that there are some uses of marijuana that could benefit people in need, people who are
sick of deadly diseases such as aids, multiple sclerosis, and cancer. These are all
diseases that are hard for anyone to go through, especially without aid that helps the
pain and misery from ceasing. Prohibiting marijuana has just made things worse, by
increasing the price of marijuana, the illegal usage, and the money spent on trying to
cease its use.

Abraham Lincoln once said two quotes about prohibition, “Prohibition goes beyond the
bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes
crimes out of things that are not crimes,” and “A prohibition law strikes a blow at the
very principles upon which our government was founded.” I believe that he is right for
stating that we have rights and they should not be taken for granted. He may have not
been thinking of marijuana when he made his speech, but it involves prohibition, meaning
prohibition in general and of any kind.

The first crop of American hemp was grown in 1611 (Grinspoon 11). However, the modern
practice of smoking marijuana was not introduced until the 1920’s. This was a time of
drug intolerance. America was in the stages of the prohibition of alcohol campaign.
Marijuana was introduced and smoked by the early immigrants. In the 1930’s it was a
common belief that immigrants were inhumane and violent, so these attitudes were
associated and blamed on the marijuana. By 1931 all but two states had anti-marijuana
legislation. By 1937 all states had prohibited marijuana use and made it illegal to have
anything to do with this drug. No research was ever made on marijuana at this time or its
effects. People simply believed in assumptions made about marijuana, such things as it
provoked violent crime and caused insanity.

Strategies of fighting marijuana were silence and exaggeration. People believed that by
not telling their children about marijuana, then they would not become curious and not
experiment with it. In the 1930’s it was deemed that schools could not talk about
marijuana. The Motion Picture Association of America banned all films that showed
narcotics from 1934-1956 (Musto 46). This approach did not work so people quickly moved
onto the next step, exaggeration. The purpose of exaggerating was to scare possible users
from trying marijuana. The American Journal of Medicine once wrote, “Marijuana users will
suddenly turn with murderous violence upon whoever is nearest to them (Musto 44).

One modern cause of prohibition was the belief that if the marijuana policy was relaxed,
then more people would use marijuana. In 1984 nationwide usage was at 26.3%. In the
eleven states that decriminalized it it was 27.3%. In 1988 nationwide use was 15.4% and
the eleven states was at 16.1%. The statistics show that by prohibiting it or allowing
it, the use would be one and the same. Holland is another example of the effect of
legalizing marijuana. Holland legalized marijuana in 1976 and since then they have had a
40% reduction in marijuana users. Another statistic, in 1979 68.2% 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%, but the point is that after 30 years the drug is still being
attained. Now if the purpose of prohibiting marijuana is to eliminate its use, then
prohibition has failed.

Prohibition has accomplished some things, one being it has made criminal drug dealers
richer. The risks of trafficking marijuana has increased, thus enabling these people
raise the price of weed, which increases their profits. Second, marijuana has caused
taxpayers tremendous amounts of money on police, court costs, and jails. Last, it has
torn apart families with members that use marijuana. Did you know that 58% of marijuana
felons have no relevant prior crime history, 91% were not considered organizers, leaders,
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