Should Marijuana be legalized in the U.S.? Grass, skunk, kush, mary jane, chronic: just a few of the slang terms for Marijuana. Marijuana (of Indian origin) is the brown, green and gray assimilation of dried leaves, seeds, and stems. This plant is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States of America, and the third most used recreational drug behind only tobacco and alcohol. It has been used by nearly 100 million Americans. According to government surveys, some 25 million Americans have smoked marijuana in the past year, and more than 14 million do so regularly despite harsh laws against its use (“Medical Marijuana”).
The drug comes from the Hemp plant (Cannabis Sativa), which contains hundreds of compounds, the main
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(Eldridge 23). The 1970’s saw stricter enforcement in regards to Marijuana. Nixon personally disliked all illegal drugs, and convinced Americans that if more arrests were made on drug related charges the crime rates would go down. Cannabis became a Schedule I drug according to the Controlled Substances Act of 1970, which classified cannabis as having high potential for abuse, no medical use, and not safe to use under medical supervision (“Medical Marijuana”). The 1980's saw the rise of the Reagan administration, which made some of the most restricting policies about marijuana use. These policies are still very relevant to current times. In 1986, Reagan's then-drug advisor, Carlton Turner, gave an interview with Newsweek magazine about marijuana use in the United States. He said that he visited a rehabilitation center and that 40% of marijuana users participated in gay homosexual activities (Berger 56). The cover of Newsweek that week read "REAGAN AIDE: POT CAN MAKE YOU GAY." Next, George Bush Sr.’s and his running mate, Dan Quayle, wanted to “set out to destroy" the country's narcotics empire and to ensure that marijuana would not be legal while they were in office. (Cong. Quarterly) However, in 1977, Quayle was documented talking about how supported the decriminalization of Marijuana, and that he thinks the country should focus more on burglars and rapists (Helmke 128). Bill Clinton kept a pretty harsh policy on marijuana. He launched a new