Marijuana Essay

Submitted By jhump1991
Words: 2291
Pages: 10

Marijuana: Dangerous Recreational Drug or Useful Medicine?
Marijuana was recently studied stating that “Marijuana penalties will not help” Canada is currently trying to implement new laws to punish minor marijuana users. Marijuana has been considered a “tough-on-crime bill”. Meaning that it takes too much money from the economy, and could potentially be a major harmful factor to one’s economy. A United State’s official was quoted stating that “These policies have bankrupted state budgets as limited tax dollars pay to imprison non-violent drug offenders at record rates instead of programs that can actually improve community safety.” Another official had said “legalizing marijuana would be a better approach with a strong policy on taxation and regulation”.Marijuana (Cannabis sativa) is a naturally occurring weed found in various parts of the world. Documentation of marijuana use for medicinal purposes can be traced back to ancient China, Egypt, India, Rome and Greece. The drug marijuana consists of the leaves and flowers of hemp plants. Marijuana can be either smoked or eaten and is known to produce a euphoric high. More and more people have begun to accept the fact that marijuana is not just a recreational drug, but a drug that has great medicinal value.
Use of medical marijuana in America has a long history, with prescriptions dating back to 1764 (Minamide 7). Francis L. Young, the Drug Enforcement Administration’s chief administrative law judge ruled in 1988, “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known…” (Minamide 27). In modern medicine, The American Public Health Association (APHA) noted that marijuana is effective in easing pain, reducing eye pressure caused by glaucoma, helping minimize nausea and vomiting, stimulating the appetite of patients with AIDS, and controlling seizures.
Today in the U.S., 13 states permit the sale of marijuana strictly for medicinal use (Minamide). From an economic standpoint, the legalization and taxation of marijuana could help the United States’ struggling economy. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard University economist, estimated that marijuana prohibition costs the U.S. $13 billion annually. This is not including the billions of dollars the government loses in potential tax revenue from the sale of marijuana (Bennett 3). Miron also notes that by taxing marijuana similar to alcohol and tobacco, it could bring estimated $6.7 billion revenue to the United States (Lyons 3). (Miron quoted in 2 different sources?)
Some even relate marijuana prohibition to the unsuccessful prohibition of alcohol in the United States in the 1920s. If you recall, the attempt to make alcohol illegal in the 1920s gave rise to some of the most notorious gangsters in history. Al Capone, the infamous American mobster, made the smuggling and bootlegging of alcohol his main source of income during this era. Overall the prohibition of alcohol was unsuccessful and only resulted in increasing the crime rate during this time. So is marijuana prohibition doomed for the same failure? Law enforcement agencies worldwide have begun to believe that the marijuana business has grown so immense that it does not make sense from a law-enforcement, political, or economic perspective (Lyons 1).
The first federal marijuana policy in the United States was the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. This Act did not criminalize marijuana, but it set regulations and high taxes for people involved in the sale of marijuana. The Marijuana Tax Act also established penalties for anyone who violated the regulations of the act. During the 1950s, the Boggs Act and the Narcotic Control Act initiated stricter penalties for narcotic-related crimes. This gave way to harsher penalties and longer minimum sentencing for the sale and possession of narcotics. Even with the stricter regulations regarding marijuana set forth in these acts, the recreational use of the drug drastically increasing during the following decade