Legalization: Drug Addiction and B. C. Marijuana Essay

Submitted By sgaedtke
Words: 1718
Pages: 7

Shayna Gaedtke
October 30, 2014
Legalization of Medical Marijuana What helps take pain away: prescriptions, alcohol, tobacco, hard drugs like cocaine or heroin? What if I said people can take pain away by having something organic, something man made, grown, but something that is illegal? Marijuana is illegal for reasons that most people don't understand. People who produce Marijuana do it to help themselves and others around them. Legalizing marijuana would create a positive change of physical, emotional and social views through out society. Marijuana, the very word can spark a response in almost anyone. It is the most popular, the most controversial, and the most widely used illicit drug in the world (Block, 1). The first documented use of cannabis dates to 7,000 B.C. Marijuana was used as a medicinal herb by the ancient Chinese, Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans for stomach ailments, cramps, and pain (Block, 1). How it found its way to Northern America is somewhat a mystery. Historians speculate that Napoleon’s troops brought marijuana to Europe in 1804 following the military conquest in the Mediterranean. European immigrants then brought it with them to the New World (Block, 2). Marijuana was first used in the U.S. for medicinal purposes in the 1800’s. However, the cannabis (hemp) plant fiber had been in use for thousands of years. Hemp fiber was the main ingredient of the first woven fabric. Hemp was used to make rope, twine, cloth, paper, and more (Block, 2). Although Marijuana had been around for centuries, widespread use of marijuana as a recreational drug did not become widespread in America until alcohol was banned during the Prohibition Era (1920 – 1933). Cannabis had been used in the Americas for hundreds of years as a medicine. Once the federal government banned alcohol, marijuana quickly took its place as the recreational drug of choice. After alcohol was made legal again, marijuana use sharply declined (Block, 2). State governments were the first to limit the recreational use of Marijuana. The first significant cannabis regulation appeared in 1906 in Washington D.C. California was the first to outlaw “preparations of hemp or loco weed” in 1913. Other states soon followed (Block, 4). Marijuana has been illegal at the federal level since 1937. The federal government continues to spell marijuana and cannabis “marihuana” and classifies it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance. According to the Controlled Substances Act, Schedule 1 drugs where: the substance has a high potential for abuse, the substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and there is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug under medical supervision. Recent evidence strongly suggests marijuana does not belong on the Schedule 1 list of “bad boys.” Highly addictive and habit forming cocaine is only on Schedule 2 (Block, 5). Although the federal government arbitrarily and by fait determined that marijuana had no medical use, every single study that has been done to date have proven every assertion wrong. Scientific study and research of marijuana began in the 1950’s; each study has concluded that marijuana does have medical qualities, particularly in management of pain and surprisingly, unlike standard narcotic pain killers, marijuana is not physically addictive (Block, 6). Some may believe that marijuana is a gateway drug. Most suspect when someone is to use marijuana they will then say it is okay to try harsher drugs like cocaine or heroine. The problem here is that the correlation isn't caused. Hell's Angels motorcycle gang members are probably 104 times more likely to have ridden a bicycle as a kid than those who don't become Hell's Angels, but that doesn't mean that riding a two-wheeler is a "gateway" to joining a motorcycle gang (Szalavitz, 1). The Institute of Medicine of the National Academy of Sciences wrote: Patterns in progression of drug use from adolescence to adulthood are