Many people around the globe have been asking themselves two simple yet important, questions: Why is marijuana illegal? And does prohibition actually work?
The answers to these questions have been debated since the Dark Ages. This issue dates back to 2900 bc, when the Chinese emperor Fu His noted the versatility and various medicinal uses of marijuana.
Originally, the plant was legal to grow and possess in the United States. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 stated that it was legal to possess cannabis. The Act taxed cannabis dealers and producers one dollar. The days of taxing marijuana for national revenue, however, were short-lived. Eventually, marijuana became illegal to possess, produce, and distribute, and in most states, it remains illegal to this day. The argument to legalize marijuana is becoming increasingly prevalent in our society. Every day, hundreds of so-called “criminals” are arrested and sent to jail or even prison for the possession of marijuana. These individuals caused no harm to anyone nor did they commit any violent crimes rather, they committed so-called “victimless crimes”. They are simply arrested for possessing marijuana.
In some states, like Indiana, you can be sent to jail for a year for having a miniscule amount of marijuana. As if being incarcerated was not enough, the stigma of a criminal record makes it difficult for the individual to obtain a respectable career, or any job for that matter. Many people, like myself, observe such atrocities and begin to wonder why such a silly law even exists. Why are so many innocent people incarcerated each and every year?
The answer is simple: The federal prison system makes millions of dollars every year through administering fines to these people. Why else would something as harmless as marijuana be prohibited? The argument favoring prohibition circles itself. “We don’t want marijuana to ruin your life, so we’re going to arrest you and ruin your life for using it.” Anyone with a functioning brain can use the most rudimentary logic to find the simple fallacy in this thinking. Drug busts trap adolescents and adults alike into a never-ending cycle that turns them into lifelong criminals. So where does all this marijuana come from? Not China, not Canada, but right below us, in Mexico. Mexican drug cartels have controlled the drug industry for decades; they find the United States drug classification laws to be trivial. In fact, prohibition is the only thing keeping them in business. Thousands of innocent citizens are killed each year in gang battles along the mexican border, a true hot spot for drug trafficking. However, DEA agents nationwide seem to have no sympathy for the deaths associated with this.
Legalization of marijuana is the best way to combat this problem. Once marijuana can be produced and regulated here in the United States, like alcohol, then the Mexican drug cartels will be put out of business.
Prohibition of alcohol is a great example of why prohibition simply doesn’t work. Once alcohol