Why Is Marijuana Illegal? Essay

730 words - 3 pages

Marijuana has been around for an exceptionally long time. Marijuana is the third most common recreational drug in America (behind only alcohol and tobacco), and is used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to surveys, 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana within the past year and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use. Our laws should reflect this, not deny it (Norml.org, 2013). Despite it’s many uses, Medical, recreational, and Industrial, the federal government still insists that the growth, cultivation, possession, and use of marijuana is a criminal offences, even though a plethora of evidence exists that the legalization of marijuana would have positive effects on America.
Why is Marijuana illegal in the first place, if it provides so many benefits? Shockingly, throughout most of our history, marijuana has been legal. Its earliest use dates back to 7000 B.C. Marijuana or hemp plants have a vast amount of uses, such as fabric, food, incense, cloth, rope, and much more. In fact, the first law regarding marijuana was a law requiring you to grow hemp as a settler in the new world. The “United States Census of 1850 counted 8,327 hemp “plantations” (minimum 2,000-acre farm) growing cannabis hemp for cloth, canvas and even the cordage used for baling cotton” (Guither, 2013). However, in the early 1900s, the western part of the United States of America developed significant tensions regarding the flood of Mexican-Americans. One of the “differences” seized upon during this time was the fact that many Mexicans smoked marijuana and had brought the plant with them, and it was through this that California apparently passed the first state marijuana law, outlawing “preparations of hemp, or loco weed (Guither, 2013) Harry J. Anslinger and William Randolf Hearst greatly aided the widespread criminalization of marijuana. Anslinger saw the opportunity for success that the Bureau of Narcotics (now the DEA) could provide him. He could find the problem and the solution to drug addiction. He soon realized that opiates wouldn’t be enough to help build his success in the Bureau of Narcotics, so he kick started the war on marijuana working to make possession and...

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