Drugs have been an ongoing concern for hundreds of years. Marijuana has been the most frequently used illegal drug in the United States. One of the first introductions of marijuana was in 1840 where medicines containing a cannabis base were available in the United States (Narconon, “Marijuana Timeline” par. 33). But ever since 1876, when “the sultan of Turkey gave marijuana to the U.S. as a gift,” America has been hooked (Narconon, “Marijuana Timeline” par. 39). Thirty-nine years later in “1915 cannabis begins to be prohibited for nonmedical use in the U.S.” (Narconon, “Marijuana Timeline” par. 45). Marijuana is known to have irreversible effects on the human body. Therefore in 1937, marijuana was prohibited even though the American Medical Association recommended it. “This national prohibition not only removed cannabis from use as a medicine, but has also produced the social wreckage of 20 million arrests (with an additional 2,200 arrests daily” (NORML “About Marijuana” par. 100).
Furthermore , in 1988 the DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) administrative law Judge Francis Young found that marijuana has clearly established medical use and should be reclassified as a prescriptive drug” (Narconon, “Marijuana Timeline” par. 86). Regardless of his thoughts, Judge Francis Young was ignored (Erowid, “Marijuana History and Timeline” par. 94).
Since November 15, 1996, when California passed the Proposition 215 which protected patients that use medical marijuana, 14 states, one of which is New Jersey, allow medical marijuana to be prescribed to patients with chronic illnesses (Leaf Legalized “Home” par. 1, 2, 3) (Kocieniewski, “N.Y./REGION” par. 1, 2). New Jersey’s State Legislature passed the NJ Compassionate use of Medical Marijuana Act allowing patients with illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, Lou Gehrig’s disease, muscular dystrophy, and multiple sclerosis in order to ease their pain; (Kocieniewski, “N.Y./REGION” par. 1, 2, 9).
On this current issue, the interest groups that are against decriminalizing marijuana for all purposes are the Partnership for a Drug Free America and the National Youth Anti-Drug Media Campaign. The two groups fighting for the legalization of medical marijuana in New Jersey are the National M.S. Society and the Marijuana Policy Project. Given their efforts the National Multiple Sclerosis Society is going to be most effective in presenting their case.
Partnership for a Drug-Free America (PDFA) is a non-profit organization that was founded in 1986 (Charity Navigator, “Current Rating” par. 10). The PDFA’s purpose was to “unite parents, renowned scientists and communications professions” in order to “help families raise healthy children” (Charity Navigator, “Current Rating” par. 10). “The Partnership motivates and equips parents to prevent their children from using drugs and alcohol, and to find help and treatment for family and friends in trouble” (Charity Navigator, “Current Rating” par. 10). In addition, the PDFA believes “that marijuana can be harmful, especially for kids whose brains are still developing” (PDFA, “Common Questions” par. 1). Since their perspective is from parents’ viewpoint, they know that it’s difficult to prevent kids from dealing with alcohol and tobacco which are “both legal and regulated substances” (PDFA, “Common Questions” par. 1, 2). “Adding marijuana to the menu of legally available and potentially harmful substances will make it more likely that kids will use it” (PDFA, “Common Questions” par. 2).
This not only adds to the challenges parents face, but directly affects the percentage of kids who will have problems because of the increased ease of access to marijuana, including drugged driving and dependence (marijuana is the number one drug abused among teens admitted for treatment today)
(PDFA, “Common Questions” par. 2).
Furthermore, the Partnership’s