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Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

Autor:   •  October 19, 2012  •  Research Paper  •  1,913 Words (8 Pages)  •  1,171 Views

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Should Marijuana Be Legalized

October 10, 2012

Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

The debate over whether or not the cultivation and usage of marijuana should be legalized has gained a lot of attention in recent years. Currently, marijuana is illegal in all fifty states. Although illegal, it has been estimated that 42% of Americans have used marijuana. Of this 42%, it is estimated that 6% regularly use marijuana (Armentano, 2009). One of the reasons people support the legalization of marijuana is it has a multitude of healing benefits. Marijuana, in its natural state, provides healing to various medical ailments without adverse side effects. Marijuana is grown with nothing more than seeds, soil, sunlight and water, making a true organic substance. Proponents of legalizing marijuana also see the monetary and social value of its legalization. Legalizing it removes the criminal element, alleviating the costs of the war on drugs, all while making it taxable. This single act of legislation could generate millions, possibly billions, considering the number of estimated users. The detractors of legalizing marijuana feel no matter how it is spun, it is still classified as a drug. Marijuana is known to put users in an altered state of mind. Opposers argue marijuana to be a gateway drug that will undoubtedly lead to other, more life threatening drug usage. These same groups also believe marijuana can cause psychosis and chronic mental illness (Bergerson, 2011).

Marijuana has been around since 2737 B.C. (www.narconon.org, n.d.). In ancient cultures, hemp was used to create rope, clothing, treat illnesses and for religious or ceremonial smoking. The Spanish brought marijuana to America in 1545. In 1611, it was grown as a commercial crop and considered an excellent source of fiber. It was not until 1890 that cotton replaced marijuana as the major cash crop in the United States (www.narcon.org, n.d.). From 1852 all the way until 1942, it was listed on the United States pharmacopeia list and was prescribed to patients with various ailments such as labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism. In the 1920's, the social use of marijuana became popular among musicians and entertainers. By the 1930's, the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics started a campaign against the use of marijuana by producing ads that portrayed marijuana as a powerful gateway drug that would inevitably lead users into dangerous narcotic addictions (www.narconon.org, n.d.). In 1970, marijuana became classified as a schedule I controlled substance.

Marijuana is both imported and domestically grown. Up until 1975, Mexico was the primary importer of marijuana. Once the Mexican government put forth an attempt to eradicate marijuana farms, Columbia took over as primary importer; a position it still

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