From the beginning of time, cannabis has played a major role in all of our lives. According to Jerome Jaffe, the earliest known fabric was woven from hemp in 8000 BCE. The Chinese treated arthritis and gout with hemp
in 2727 BCE. In 1762 you could be thrown in jail for NOT growing marijuana in Virginia. And as recently as 1944, shortly after the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, the LaGuardia report questioned the government’s sanity regarding the use of cannabis. “The laws governing marijuana today are largely due to three very powerful Americans (Williams Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon, and Lamont Du Pont) who were afraid they would lose tremendous amounts of money if hemp was allowed to reach it’s full commercial potential. To protect their bottom line, they engaged in an all out campaign to convince the country that marijuana (which no one had ever heard of) was on the brink of ruining their lives” (O’Brien, Cohen, Evans, and Fine, 175). I will not be reporting a biography of these individuals, I will only be expressing my thoughts on legalization. Although there are certainly negative aspects of any idea, I wholeheartedly support the legalization of marijuana in our society and culture today.
One of the pessimistic features of the legalization of an illicit drug would be control. There would have to be a system in place, much like the laws regarding alcohol, to regulate the use of marijuana. There would obviously have to be laws controlling the amount of marijuana in possession of the person as well as a way to ensure the productivity of the working class; perhaps by restricting it in the same way a person would get fired or jailed for over intoxication at work or while operating heavy machinery.
Another negative aspect of legalization is the common dullness which can result in excessive smoking of marijuana. However, this may change once a person gets used to the substance. “They will become more functional in public and may actually adapt well in most circumstances” (Andrews, 661). The only reason people may come across as useless in the eyes of the sober is due to the fact that marijuana is, in fact, illegal and frowned upon by all those who do not partake. This causes the individual to become paranoid in a public setting and nervous because of the constant judging from the sober.
As was mentioned before, I wholeheartedly support the legalization of marijuana. Economically, it could be taxed and sold at a slightly higher price, putting the small time dealers out of business, cutting down on the drug related crimes; all while putting money in the government’s pocket. Medicinally, it is ideal for people with any kind of gastrointestinal problems like ulcers or heartburn. It has an obvious use in the treatment of glaucoma and cancer/AIDS related anxiety and nausea. Physically it could help nurse the disease of bulimia and anorexia by aiding food consumption. It also does not have the same debilitating effect on the body as does, say alcohol.
The list could conceivably go on for pages. In my opinion, the pros most definitely outweigh the cons. I look forward to the day when marijuana will finally be legalized and alcohol consumption will diminish. It is time for the entire nation to gain legal entrance into the “secret garden” where the quality of human life may just be that much better.
Andrews, Matthew. (1972). The Parents Guide to Drugs (Doubleday & Co.). pp. 4-12.
Jaffe, Jerome H. (1995). Encylopedia of Drugs & Alcohol (Simon & Schuster). pp. 659-663.
O’Brien, R., Cohen, S., Evans, G., and Fine, J., (Eds.). (1992). The Enclopedia of Drug Abuse (Facts on File, Inc.). pp. 175-179.