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The decriminalization of marijuana

Today it is not uncommon to be watching television and come across an advertisement promoting the use of alcohol and cigarettes. Both substances are detrimental to your health, and have no medical value yet both are legal to anyone of age.
To a Cancer or AIDS patients seeking relief from marijuana, these commercials must be difficult to bear. Peter McWilliams stated, “Marijuana is the finest anti-nausea medication known to science, and our leaders have lied about this consistently. (Arresting people for) medical marijuana is the most hideous example of government interference in the private lives of individuals. It’s an outrage within an outrage within an outrage”. Many people do not realize the benefits of Marijuana and hemp because of conservative views and misconceptions.

Marijuana, or Hemp has been used since the beginning of recorded history. It has been used recreationally, medically, and for industrial uses. On August 2, 1937 Marijuana was made illegal. The cause was based on discrimination and racism most notably by Harry J. Anslinger director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.

Anslinger brought the Marijuana Tax Act to congress in 1937 making many racial slurs and statements such as ” There are 100,000 total marijuana smokers in the US, and most are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others”. After a series of statements like this Congress passed the bill and Marijuana became officially illegal. This was hard to believe since less than a decade before the government encouraged the growing of hemp because of its many uses.

The main reason Marijuana is still illegal is mainly due to misconceptions about the drug, and conservatives who would not stand for it.Until they are diagnosed with Glaucoma, Cancer, or Aids; That might change there view a bit. Many people do not even know the benefits of the hemp plant. It can be used for fuel, food, oil, housing, paper, textiles, and for medicinal uses. People who are undergoing Chemotherapy are suffering from nausea and lose all sense of hunger; marijuana is the perfect antidote. It also has been used for AIDS patients and migraines. This somehow is not common knowledge though, Many view Marijuana as a dangerous ungodly substance with no use thanks to Ronald Reagan and his “War on Drugs” campaign. Reagan told the American people “I now have absolute proof that smoking even one marijuana cigarette is equal in brain damage to being on Bikini Island during an H-bomb blast” but was heard later on saying “If adults want to smoke Marijuana that is there business”.

Don’t get me wrong though, marijuana should not be legal for public use. Many people believe that if Marijuana was legal it would be more easily available to children, which is a possibility, but Marijuana, like other drugs, is not for kids. There are many activities in our society that we permit adults to do, but forbid children, such as motorcycle riding, skydiving, signing contracts, getting married and drinking alcohol or smoking tobacco. However, we do not condone arresting adults who responsibly engage in these activities in order to dissuade our children from doing so. Nor can we justify arresting adult marijuana smokers on the grounds of sending a message to children. Our expectation and hope for young people is that they grow up to be responsible adults, and our obligation to them is to demonstrate what that means There is no good reason hemp should not be available for industrial and medicinal use. Many religious people might disagree, quoting the old propaganda signs saying “reefer is the devils weed with roots in hell”, but Like God said himself in Genesis 1.29 “I have given you all seed bearing herb on the earth to use”.

In the past years Canada has decriminalized Marijuana. It is still illegal but instead of filling up prisons with small-time pot offenders, they are slapped with a fine if nothing at all. This has worked out pretty good too; This way the police can concentrate on actual crime instead of petty offences. But American opinions about marijuana have come a long way since the 1938 film “Reefer Madness”, and even since President Bill Clinton claimed he “didn’t inhale.”

While overall usage of the drug has dropped in recent years after climbing for decades, Americans have become increasingly tolerant of the “softer” drug for recreational or medicinal use and, to a lesser extent, when it involves possession or trafficking. According to American Demographics A third of Americans are in favor of the decimalization or marijuana, and 8 out of 10 people suggest that it should be completely legal for medicinal purposes.

People against the use of marijuana may also point out that Marijuana is very detrimental to your health, but In 1972, a Congressionally created commission called the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, whose members were appointed by then-President Richard Nixon, completed one of the most comprehensive reviews ever undertaken regarding marijuana and public policy. Their report, “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding,” proclaimed that “from what is now known about the effects of marihuana, its use at the present level does not constitute a major threat to public health,” and recommended Congress and state legislatures decriminalize the use and casual distribution of marijuana for personal use.

After all of this information it would be hard to find rational reasoning for marijuana being illegal for medicinal or industrial purposes. It’s easy to understand if you view the recreational use immoral, but that is no reason to deny it for sick patients. If you want to take action in your community this is what you should do: The first step is to contact your elected officials at all levels of government (local, state and federal), and let them know you oppose arresting responsible marijuana smokers. As a citizen, you hold special influence over the politicians who represent your district.

It is important you let them know how you feel. Because the marijuana smoking community remains largely “in the closet” and is all too often invisible politically, the population of supporters seems a lot smaller than it actually is. The only way to overcome this handicap is for more people to take an active role, and routinely contact our elected officials.

There is no reason America should be denied this god-given plant. Its uses are endless unlike drugs such as cigarettes and alcohol. Whether you hate or love the ideal of marijuana being decriminalized, America is about freedom, and If you want to use marijuana medically you should be given your freedom of choice.

Works Cited
Marijuana and Health, May 24 2004 www.Norml.com
Why is Marijuana Illegal? December 22 2003 www.blogs.salon.com
Anslinger sees a Demon. www.drug-culture.com/history
Hemp Could Save America. February 2 2002 www.RENSE.com EPSCOhost
Paul, Pamela Attitudes Towards Marijuana. American Demographics June 2003 p18 2p EPSCOhost
Sheramata, Davis. The Rehabilitation of Hemp Newsmagazine August 8 2004 p14 2p EPSCOhost
Klein, David. Marijuana During Adolescents Medical Journal November 2004 p976 EPSCOhost

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