Marijuana use was not as prevalent as these other drugs in the early s. Under all of these circumstances, how was marijuana made out to be the evil substance that it is now viewed as?
This can be explained first by looking at the negative visages that associated certain racial groups with certain drugs. Chinese immigrants were the first victims of this racism. Laws were eventually passed that restricted the use of opium because young white boys and girls began to smoke it. African Americans, a long oppressed minority in America, were also subjected to this racism. Thus racism became a justification for the prohibition of drugs.
As a result of anti-Chinese sentiment in America, the Chinese put a trade embargo on American made manufactures. To try to reconcile with the Chinese and gain back its vital market, American politicians began to try to help the Chinese with their opium problems, and to not appear as hypocritical, they passed The Harrison Act in the United States. This piece of legislation required that all narcotics be obtained from a physician. A tax stamp system was instituted so the federal government could keep track of all legal dispensations.
To do this they issued propaganda about the alleged evils of narcotics and gave addicts the label of criminals. There was an element of class conflict that was established, once the addict population became predominantly lower class as opposed to middle class. Racism and marijuana came hand in hand with the influx of Mexican immigrants coming to America for work. There were already set notions and prejudices against Mexicans, as there were against African Americans.
First of all, Mexicans were Catholic, which did not work towards their advantage in Protestant America. Marijuana became known as a Mexican herb. This herb was claimed to incite violence in Mexicans, as cocaine had been for African Americans. Various state laws were passed restricting or prohibiting marijuana use, but the federal prohibition came in under the Marijuana Tax Act, which instituted a similar tax stamp system that the Harrison Act enacted.
The American government had successfully demonized marijuana and other drugs by this point. Further regulations and prohibition of drugs were enacted, but their case was firmly established. In an age now where racial equality is a given and class conflict is a less than prevalent, how does the opposition justify the continued criminalization of marijuana? Main concerns about marijuana use now seem to be about its role as a gateway to other harder drugs, the health consequences and the impact on adolescent development, user behavior while intoxicated, and the difficulty of quitting.
Each of these issues can easily be addressed and each concern can be assuaged. The Gateway The first issue to be discussed is the gateway theory. These are seven different ways of interpreting the evidence and data about the gateway argument: The First Step This approach to the gateway argument is the most typical and simplistic of the seven.
There is an overwhelming correlation between cannabis use and hard-drug use, but correlation does not constitute causation. The Spurious Correlation The correlation between cannabis use and harder drug use may be attributable to a third factor. The facts just do not seem to support this argument. The Trap This approach claims that cannabis use traps the individual into harder drug use.
This argument is rebutted by the fact that most who try marijuana do not move onto harder drugs. The Tantalizer The approach that most hawks take is that the effects of cannabis use tantalize and tickle the curiosity of the user, so that they are lead to experiment with more, harder, intoxicating substances. But where does alcohol fit in this picture?
Hardliners of this approach propose that science proves that neurological and chemical processes in our brains heavily influence our decisions while intoxicated with cannabis. Use of marijuana, an illicit substance, may result in a reduction of the perceived health and legal riskiness of harder drugs like heroin and cocaine. A solution to this is to clearly distinguish between soft drugs, such as marijuana, and hard drugs, such as cocaine and heroin, in campaign messages.
The opposition claims that one may begin to undermine the legal risks because they had not been caught before. The Foot in the Door This last approach suggests that one may have a higher tendency to try harder drugs after marijuana because they are brought into contact with hard drug sellers. Because of the availability of cannabis in the Netherlands, most people do not turn to the black market to obtain the product.
In this study Cohen and Sas even found that none of the users reported purchasing from street dealers. Almost all hard drugs users across the board say that they had tried cannabis, but most cannabis users have not tried hard drugs. This is because of the black market. With depenalization and possible legalization of cannabis, the functionality and need for the black market would disappear. The lack of studies done on cannabis really inhibits the information we know about the health risks of marijuana.
Not much study has been done because of its legal status in most countries over the world. The key word there is probable. There is a lack of knowledge on both sides. There are possible impacts on cognitive development in adolescents. These impacts can be kept to a minimum by requiring users to be age 18 or older in a depenalized system.
Opponents of marijuana claim that it has adverse health implications and they cite laboratory experiments to support this case. This is evident in researchers who try to find mental disorders or diseases caused by marijuana. The government has known for quite some time that marijuana is relatively harmless.
It is known not to cause physical dependence. They say that one could argue that alcohol deserves legal status because it is used easier without guaranteed intoxication, for some though this is a difficulty. But neither of these arguments are very convincing. It also stems from racial inequities that were used to justify early legislation. In relation to legal drugs, cannabis is a godsend. In a typical year tobacco claims , lives, alcohol 80,, secondhand tobacco smoke 50,, cocaine 2,, heroin 2,, aspirin 2,, and marijuana 0.
Driving under the influence of alcohol is a serious and dangerous offense. Alcohol is a legal substance. A study of fatal accidents found that 13 percent of the drivers tested positive for marijuana, but a majority of them also tested positive for alcohol.
This is hardly a basis for the argument that claims that marijuana causes reckless driving. The argument loses even more legitimacy when you consider the fact that the substance has a very long half-life and can be tested for up to 30 days after use. Marijuana Dependence The last concern to be addressed is the issue of marijuana dependence and the difficulty of quitting.
As stated earlier, most people desist of their drug using habit within five years of starting it. To reiterate what was said earlier, cannabis has shown to not cause physical dependence, as do tobacco, alcohol, and harder drugs. Dependence on cannabis is much less harmful than dependence on tobacco, alcohol, cocaine, and heroin.
The definition of dependence needs to be stated though. This may be because of less severe withdrawal symptoms. Thus we can come to the conclusion that dependence on marijuana is not an issue to become concerned about. Health Benefits and Medicinal Uses of Marijuana The medicinal properties of cannabis have been known since the time of the ancients. Truly adverse to what the opposition claims about impacts on health, marijuana helps our bodies more than it hurts them.
Currently there is an increased awareness of these medicinal properties and they are constantly being explored and researched throughout the world. Jonathon Green, in his book Cannabis, has compiled a long list of afflictions that cannabis is known to positively effect. The cognitive and neurological effects of the drug also are found to help with schizophrenia, epilepsy, depression, and multiple sclerosis. For people with insomnia, cannabis can induce that long awaited sleep that they have needed.
With such a long list of afflictions that can be treated with cannabis, how is it that this wonder drug is still illegal? Concrete Concerns with Marijuana Prohibition Now that the oppositions concerns with marijuana use have been addressed and rebutted, we must identify our concerns about the impacts of continued prohibition. They are as follows: These laws must be eliminated or changed based on these facts alone. The First Amendment states that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceable to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.
The Free Exercise Clause is one of the most highly regarded lines of text in legal documentation, but this right is being infringed upon. Free exercise of religion is one of the main foundations that the United States was built upon. This is why this right must be so vehemently protected.
Prohibiting the use of marijuana violates rights guaranteed by the First Amendment. The Fifth Amendment contains the clause that states that no person shall be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb. Citizens are frequently prosecuted under federal and state laws for the same offenses under current marijuana laws.
This violates our right to protection against double jeopardy. The Eighth Amendment states that excessive bails shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted. President Jimmy Carter has been quoted with the following: No where is this more clear than in the laws against the possession of marijuana.
The Ninth Amendment states that the enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.
This means that rights not defined by the Constitution are not excluded. The Tenth Amendment states that the powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people.
The federal government wrongfully has domain over the legality of drugs, which should be a state power. Economic Costs and Impacts of Continued Prohibition One of the biggest downfalls of cannabis prohibition is the negative impacts on our economy. There has been a huge increase in drug related arrests, mostly marijuana related, since the start of this war, so in that sense it has been a success. In the period of the amount of marijuana trafficking arrests actually declined as a proportion of all drug arrests.
If they want to fight the availability of the drug, then they must focus their attention on the growers and traffickers, not the users. The evidence clearly shows that they are not doing it in that manner. In fact, as King and Mauer have found, there has actually been a slight increase in the use of illicit drugs from 5. In , only 1 of every 18 marijuana arrests resulted in felony sentence This means that funds and enforcement are being used towards arresting a high amount of low level offenders.
These resources could be used much more efficiently in enforcing other, more serious laws. To reduce the amount of wasted resources, it should be recommended to move marijuana enforcement to the lowest priority level. This would allow police and enforcement agencies to focus on more serious offenses. To put this number in perspective, it is estimated that at least one in four persons in prison are serving time for a low-level marijuana offense With such a huge population of people in prisons, one must take into account the cost of housing and providing for them.
It costs more to send a person to prison for four years than it does to send a person to a private university for four years including tuition, fees, room and board, books, and supplies. If that many people were being sent to universities instead of prisons, productivity in America would drastically increase. What is the scope of marijuana use in the United States?
What are marijuana effects? How does marijuana produce its effects? Does marijuana use affect driving? What are marijuana's long-term effects on the brain? Is marijuana a gateway drug? How does marijuana use affect school, work, and social life? Is there a link between marijuana use and psychiatric disorders? What are marijuana's effects on lung health? Is marijuana safe and effective as medicine? What are the effects of secondhand exposure to marijuana smoke? Can marijuana use during and after pregnancy harm the baby?
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Marijuana Effects Teens and Their Mind - The purpose of my paper is to prove that marijuana effects teens and their mind. Marijuana is a tobacco-like substance produced by drying the leaves, stems, flower tops of the .
Marijuana is the common name given to any drug preparation from the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa. Various forms of this drug are known by different names throughout the world, such as kif in Morocco, dagga in South Africa, and ganja in India.
Dec 17, · The opinion of Marijuana during the 70’s was much more definitive than it is today. Approval of Marijuana by 27 states, new medical studies, and its consequences on those convicted from use of the most common illicit drug in the world, is forcing the United States of America to rethink its stance. An issue of drugs legalization is quite acute for modern societies. The following note is a great project sample you can use in your own researches.
Medical Marijuana – Essay Example. Medical marijuana represents the parts of the hemp plant used as a doctor-recommended form of herbal remedy or medicine. Marijuana is a very popular drug that many people have used. Over 98 million people over the age of 12 in the United States have smoked marijuana.