Legalization of Marijuana: A Review of the Literature

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California was the first state to pass a marijuana law in 1913 followed by the rest of the states in the nation until the year of 1937, when marijuana became completely illegal at the federal level. (Guither) Before then, marijuana and specifically hemp had many uses for colonists and farmers and was such a critical crop for a number of purposes, that the government even encouraged its growth. It was not until Henry J. Anslinger saw the Bureau of Narcotics as a fascinating career opportunity that he latched on trying to make marijuana illegal so he could make a name for himself. It stayed outlawed until November 6, 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first state to legalize the sale and possession of cannabis for recreational use since 1937. The legalization of marijuana has become a hot-button issue in the last several years with fifty-eight percent of Americans wanting the drug to be legalized, surging ten percentage points since 2012. (Swift, 2013) A strong reason why many people changed their mind on keeping marijuana illegal is that scientists and researchers now have enough information to dispute the myth that responsible marijuana use can cause cancer. Clinical studies on the use of cannabis and cancer are few and definitive. However, the ambiguity of most test results done on excessive use of cannabis should not be construed as an endorsement of cannabis’ safety or an allegation of its potential health hazards. (Armentano) Another strong reason why people
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