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Legalization for America’s Future

Legalization for America’s Future

When you think of someone who drinks alcohol once in a while, do you think of a criminal? Probably not. What about someone who smokes marijuana? It’s probably more likely, even though most marijuana user’s only crime is solely the use of marijuana. This is because current U.S. laws make possession of marijuana illegal and I believe these laws are in great need of reform.

Let me start off with a brief history of the cannabis plant from which marijuana is derived. Marijuana (then known only as hemp) has been grown in America since 1611. Farmers have been using the fibers to make clothing, paper, rope, lamp oil, and canvas. The first American flag was made from hemp, as well as the first Gutenberg bible. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew hemp and advocated a hemp-based economy.

It was not until the 1920s that the practice of smoking marijuana became widespread, primarily among Mexican immigrants and African-Americans. It was common belief that they were inhumane and violent, and that marijuana was the cause of this behavior.

This provoked “Reefer Madness” which was a political campaign designed to scare potential marijuana users with grossly exaggerated stories and public hysteria. The American Journal of Medicine went along with it and wrote, “Marijuana users will suddenly turn with a murderous violence upon whoever is nearest to them. They will run amuck with a knife, axe, gun, or anything else that is close at hand, and will kill or maim without reason.” Though not as exaggerated today, people are still misinformed about marijuana.

First of all, most marijuana users are not criminals. They are otherwise law-abiding citizens who work hard and contribute to their communities. They are not dangerous people who need to be locked up. Incarcerating these people actually builds to the problem instead of helping it. Federal anti-marijuana efforts cost taxpayers $30 billion with no change in usage patterns. $2 billion worth of cannabis is being seized and destroyed, 4 million people being arrested and 250,000 being jailed for more than a year. What is this all for? People with no other criminal record are going to jail; money is being wasted for nothing. Marijuana is still readily available and used by a large number of Americans. If the purpose...

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Category:   Drug Policy

Length:   4 pages (911 words)

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