The dawn of the twenty first century has ushered in a new age of optimism and wonder. Despite the proclamations of television, all is not well in our part of the world. Our societies have succumbed to the modern holy war on drugs and more specifically, the war against marijuana. Being fought against our own citizens and citizens abroad, an international effort to eradicate cannabis production and use has undoubtedly failed leaving in its wake social unrest and political chaos. Assault, property crime, radical and economic marginalization, murder, corruption and many other undesirable things are burning through society fuelled by the marijuana war’s cold and inhumane policies. In addition to these complications there are the initial problems that drug users incur on themselves and society; the same problems that this war against the drug was supposed to eliminate. Prohibition is a timeworn concept that is not practically attainable in a democratic society that values individual rights. Experiments with the prohibition of alcohol have miserably failed and cost many people their lives.
A form of regulated legalization of marijuana would be a tolerant middle ground that recognizes the inevitability of drug use and strives to make it as safe as possible. When cannabis first became illegal in 1928, it has been immorally categorized with other narcotics as a counterpart. The truth is cannabis has a variety of benefits to society and other than the effects of smoke inhalation, has very few negatives, especially when compared to smoking tobacco and consuming alcohol. Those against the legalization of the drug attempt to place it in the same light as other, more dangerous drugs such as heroin and cocaine, there is a variety of misconceptions about the substance and should be looked at separately.
When a production trade as large as the cotton industry feels susceptible to being overhauled, it will present vast sums of money to fix the problem and to achieve government support. The product of the marijuana plant – hemp - at this time was rapidly overtaking the stronghold of cotton due to its high durability, biodegradable and organic factors - unlike the many chemicals used in the harvesting of cotton - less ground depletion, and the fact that the plant could be grown almost anywhere. In the case of cannabis, the resolution was to force society into believing myths by way of propaganda such as the release of “Reefer Madness”’; a 1938 film that portrays the drug to be worse than any other drug on the market, even heroine. This movie in particular made rage like wildfire through America and Australia where parents were called to town meetings to review the film. Ad campaigns were also dispersed across the nation depicting the drug as a new threat to the livelihood of children and youth.
With society’s economic situation, marijuana would be a highly profitable revenue generator. Perhaps one of the most powerful attributions of hemp is its ability to produce an extensive amount of cellulose.