Legalizing Marijuana

Davis 7
Legalizing Marijuana
Marijuana is the name for the drug that comes from the leaves and flowers of the Indian
hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. It is a tobacco-like substance produced by drying the leaves and
flowery top of the cannabis plant. Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette called a joint or in
a pipe or bong. Recently, it has appeared in cigars called blunts which are longer. This drug is a
mild hallucinogen, meaning that it distorts sensory perceptions. The intoxicating part of the
plant lies mostly in its strong-smelling, sticky, golden resin. This is given off by the hemp
flowers, especially those of the female plant. The resin protects the plant from heat and helps it
stay moist during its reproductive cycle. Many users describe two phases of marijuana
intoxication: initial stimulation, giddiness, and euphoria, followed by sedation and pleasant
tranquillity. Mood changes can often accompany altered perceptions of time and space and one’s
bodily dimension. The hemp plant can be found growing as a weed or as a cultivated plant
throughout the world, in many soils and climates, with the more potent varieties produced in dry,
hot, upland, climates (Berger 1).
All forms of marijuana are mind-altering. They all contain THC, the main active
chemical in marijuana. THC was first identified in the mid-1960s. Its chemical structure is
complex and unique, making it unlike that of any other psychoactive drug. There are also four
hundred other chemicals in the marijuana plant besides THC, but they do not cause the same
effect. For this reason, marijuana is, by far, the most frequently used illegal drug. Though its
use in the United States is primarily for the pleasure effect of the drug, it has been used as an
intoxicant in various parts of the world for centuries. Marijuana is known as a “Schedule I drug
which means it is one of the most tightly controlled drugs” (McCormick 94). Only few
countries around the world have legalized marijuana, but those that have, have seen good results.
Marijuana has many benefits and is used for various reasons other than the reaction from the
drug, and therefore it should be legalized.

The first existence of marijuana was first described in print in a “Chinese book of
medicine” in the second century B.C.E. and was used in China as an anesthetic five thousand
years ago (Freeman 58).Its earliest use was recommended as a painkiller during operations.
Known in Central Asia as early as 3000 BC, marijuana was used as a folk medicine. The
practice of smoking it was brought to Brazil by black slaves from Africa. After spreading
throughout Mexico, it was brought to the United States by Mexican laborers. In the 1800s, it
was popular with black field hands in the South and in the hashish houses that often took the
place of opium dens. Many people knew that they would profit from marijuana in America and
they imported the drug any way possible. “Marijuana was smuggled across the Mexican border
in a variety of ways including inside the gasoline tanks of motor vehicles” (Bugliosi 13). During
the 1920s and 1930s, marijuana rose in popularity, especially among jazz musicians, most of
whom were black. The effects of marijuana back then, were believed to turn men into social
deviants capable of crazed, even homicidal behavior. The violence of which they were capable
had more to do with white racist imaginings than with facts. Nonetheless, marijuana was
outlawed in 1937. These beliefs played a part in the passage of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act,
which tried to control the use of marijuana. The Marijuana Tax Act made the use or sale of
marijuana without a tax stamp a federal offense. The law also included stiffer penalties for
marijuana use. Over the next decade, drug penalties got even tougher.
Most of the marijuana that is smoked in the United States is grown in the United States.
Most wild United States cannabis is considered inferior to the Jamaican, Colombian, and
Mexican varieties that range much higher in percent THC potency. This drug accounts for many
arrests every year and costs each state millions. More recently, many marijuana growers have
taken their illegal crop indoors. It is now frequently grown in basements, attics, and
outbuildings under lights with timed fertilizer and sprinkler systems. Growers generally try to
get the highest THC in order to produce the greatest possible effect, which would result in more
sales and profit. Few marijuana growers are severely punished, and many are never caught. The
Drug Enforcement Administration, responsible for seizing domestically grown marijuana, finds
only a small percentage of this illegal crop (Schleichert 48).
Most of the population in America has tried marijuana, but very few that have, still use it
daily. In the 1950s, drugs were not considered a serious problem, and teenagers that used drugs
was an unknown occurrence. Marijuana use increased during the 60s due to the abuse of the
drug by teenagers. During this time, smoking it became a form of protest for teenagers and as
many as ninety percent of students on college campuses had tried marijuana (Bugliosi 185).
In the late 1970s, thirty-seven percent of the teens surveyed said they had used
marijuana in the past month, and eleven percent said that they used it daily. In
the mid-1980s, only twenty-five percent of the teens had smoked pot in the past
month, with only five percent used it daily. Much of this decline is due to the
ongoing drop in the use of marijuana, which is the drug most often used among
teenagers. (Ryan 15)
Today, surveys concluded that almost twenty-one million Americans used marijuana in 1990,
and almost sixty-seven million Americans have experimented with the drug (Bugliosi 185).
Many view marijuana as a gateway drug, the user’s first drug, that leads to more
dangerous drug use. Marijuana does not have any characteristics that “make” people go on to
harder drugs (Schleichert 45). The biggest reason that the drug is used today is because the level
of THC is higher causing the effect of marijuana to increase. This means that it is more potent
than it was ten or fifteen years ago. Many use it , hoping that they may lose their shyness and
inhibitions. Others might try to numb their emotional pain with marijuana. Though many
factors, both genetic and environmental, can encourage marijuana use (Schleichert 40).
The uses of marijuana have changed over the years. “F

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Legalizing Marijuana

Legalizing Marijuana Cannabis sativa or marijuana has been cultivated for over 5,000 years. The plant spreads like milkweed and will eventually run out any other plants nearby. In the wild, or grown with care marijuana can grow to be 3 – 20 feet high. The plant itself can be used for rope, material, medicine or for smoking. But, whatever way you choose to use this plant, it is illegal. It was made a law in the early 1900’s that it was illegal to smoke, eat, or get high from this plant.

The plant’s only legal use was for rope and materials. Even this was controlled by the government though. In the 1960’s and 1970’s a group of youth stereotyped as Hippies were using marijuana on a regular basis to get high. This is the term for the effects of the drug when smoked. The effects are that of ataxia, increased appetite, and a sensation of dryness in the throat. (A.P.E.

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L to M 193). These hippies fought to legalize it. Groups such as the major one, N.O.R.M.A.L. formed to fight for the right to smoke marijuana. Protests were formed and marches and festivals were held.

On the other side of this was the government cracking down and forming new laws to keep it illegal. In the 1980’s the fight to legalize marijuana was decreased, but the groups like N.O.R.M.A.L. were still around. Although the people weren’t so strong-willed to legalize it they still fought. New and harder drugs were now popular and marijuana wasn’t as popular. In the early 1990’s the drug was once again popular after the side effects of the new drugs were seen.

The drug’s popularity still increases today. Only there is more violence surrounding it in drug deals and gang wars. Although there would need to be regulations on it and new laws made. The legalization of marijuana would not only benefit the government but also the people. Although the government and people would benefit, it would have a bad side. After many years of fighting to keep it illegal, the government would have to spend millions on new laws, regulations, and plans.

Also the government has made treaties with other countries on keeping the world drug-free. America being the largest supporter of a drug-free society would be absolutely hypocritical to go and legalize. Other countries would become angry and think of us as money greedy, drug smoking fools. This would also hurt other countries because America would be a large drug trafficking area where people would come and buy a large amount and export to the still drug-free countries. America’s reputation could go down the drain.

Not only would America’s reputation go down but also the fears of American citizens conducting every day life stoned from marijuana is a scary thought. The effects of marijuana are not alcohol’s but would impair a person’s driving ability. Accidents would increase. People who would abuse the drug would not only jeopardize themselves but also others. It would have to be treated as driving while drinking and stiff laws and enforcement would have to be inflicted.

These are the downsides to the drug, but with proper laws and methods the drug turn into money for the government. If the government played it right, they could make billions of dollars from this one plant. In the early 1990’s the number one legal cash crop, corn, brought 16 billion dollars to the U.S. Marijuana blew this away with an estimated 24 billion dollars. If the government grew and kept track of marijuana, and sold licenses to farmers to grow it, the government would be able to pay off debts, help the economy and reduce violence-related to the drug all at the same time.

They would also be able to sell the stocks of the plant as rope or material. Currently, many farmers are secretly growing marijuana to pay off their own debts. This is an inexpensive way to earn more cash from one plant than they could from a field of corn. The majority of these farmers were growing marijuana in the Midwest, but it’s really growing strong in the Appalachians to the Great Plains. They look like they were torn from a page from the Saturday Evening Post (SIRS under marijuana).

In the hard! economic times and in a business which depends on mother nature farmers have no back-up. If they were the proprietors of growing the marijuana they would benefit greatly. Another way the government would benefit is if they put a steep tax on it. There would be an additional money maker and if the price went with the supply and demand theory it would stay a #1 cash crop. But as long as the government keeps the plant illegal it won’t benefit anyone other than a non-educated drug pusher who will sell to anyone no matter what age. I say let it benefit us all. Why make a drug which shouldn’t be compared with crack or heroin, illegal? It would be an overall economy-booster and provider.

It would not only benefit us with money but there are medicinal uses for this plant also. Lester Grinspoon, who graduated through Harvard Medical School performed studies, and found that marijuana had helped in healing or preventing pain. He says that it relieves nausea, it can prevent blindness produced by glaucoma, it is an appetite stimulant for AIDS patients, and it can ward off migraines, and asthma. I imagine that some of these may be false, but if a few of these work marijuana could be classified as a medicine. If marijuana was prescribed to patients dealing with a severe pain or problem that could be helped with the side effects of smoking marijuana. If a sick person is suffering or they need time to relax and to live without pain for a little while. The drug’s main affecting chemical, tetrahydrocannibinol, or THC, acts as a nerve releaser and creates a sort of relaxed state.

You get the sensation that you are floating or in a dream-like state. The ill people would feel these effects instead of the ongoing illness. Compared to modern medicine, marijuana would be relatively cheap. No other illegal drugs are found to have nay medicinal use, including the legal drugs, alcohol and nicotine. The other drugs that circle the market today, such as crack, cocaine, heroin, LSD, and PCP all have very bad and/or fatal effects.

No one has ever died from smoking or ingesting marijuana. In fact, it’s estimated that to receive a fatal dose, you would have to smoke one hundred pounds per minute for fifteen minutes. With crack or the other bad drugs you can overdose or die from them on your first try. Also, the other drugs are habit-forming. The effects of marijuana last about an hour depending on the person’s ability to sober up. Other drugs such as LSD take about 11 hours, alcohol takes an hour for every drink you have, and heroin and cocaine last hours.

So you could smoke marijuana and in about an hour or two be capable of driving. Marijuana can act as an upper and a downer. As an upper, it makes you social and talkative; as a downer it relaxes you. I am not saying that doing any drugs is good at all. In fact, I don’t think that they are right.

Marijuana has more uses than just to get high. I think that with all of the more potent drugs out there, marijuana is like the baby. It would reduce drug-related violence severely and it could be put to great use. Granted, there would have to be strict laws and regulations to keep the people who abuse this under control. The legalization of marijuana would not only benefit the government but also the people.

With the economy, violence, and sick people, we need an answer. First off, let the government sell it. Secondly, take away the dealers’ main source of income. Thirdly, give terminally ill people a chance without pain. Marijuana should be legal, it is so beneficial and has gotten a bad name from the people who don’t know practical uses for the plant. We need to legalize marijuana.

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