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Marijuana The Case for Decriminalization

Marijuana: Decriminalization or Legalization

In high school when I first learned about the alluring world of illegal pharmaceuticals, I was scared. My fear was based on all my prior knowledge of drugs was from government propaganda and popular beliefs. Now I’m older, and more experienced about drugs. When did the America first begin to be wildly afraid of a plant that has been on this continent since our forfathers ()? America’s fear of illicit drugs can be as far traced back as the prohibition era of the early 20th century. Pot, a nickname for the plant, is still illegal due in part to the bias government drug enforcement forces of the nineteen thirties and forties. Past propaganda and seeds of ignorance about marijuana still grow today in American. Marijuana has been used responsibly by cultures dated as far back as 3000 BC China (Jones, 2003). So how have Americans been brainwashed to believe marijuana is different than any other smokable plant?

The earliest harvesting of marijuana specifically for smoking, or “getting stoned,” was by the Scythians from Siberia around 700BC. Surely Marijuana has had a long history of medical used by the human race (Jones, 2003). Rastafarians base most of their key beliefs around the herb. The divinity of marijuana is central to their religious beliefs. Indian cultures have been smoking marijuana for a varieties of ways for thousands of years. Hinduism has a long tradition with marijuana use, having ancient prayers claiming that pot is a sacred herb. Of major world religions only Christianity has been a party pooper by consistently denying the divinity of weed (Jones, 2003). The Spanish Inquisition of the 12th century banned marijuana labeling it the work of the devil. Since that ancient papal decree, Christians have looked upon marijuana as a demon herb, with no medical use. This may have been one of the earliest attempts at marijuana prohibition.
America’s history with marijuana began around 1914 when it became popular among Hispanics of El Paso and New Orleans (Jones, 2003). Around this time Americans were still angry from the Spanish-American War. A media campaign against Hispanics was launched by the government. Stories usually told of Hispanics all doped out committing vicious violent crimes. The publics attitude toward marijuana in the twenties is described as, “…they believed it was a sexual stimulant and lowered societal inhabitions. (Musto, 2003)” The marijuana was blamed...

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Category:   Drug Policy

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