Marijuana Position Paper - Pro Legalization

3633 Words Sep 5th, 2009 15 Pages
Research Based Position Paper

Marijuana Laws in a Rapidly Changing American Society

The turbulent history of Marijuana prohibition in America is one filled with racial motives and propaganda, but surprisingly was not an issue before 80 years ago. In fact, when Ronald Reagan was a child, marijuana was still legal in his state (Guither). Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of scientific or medical process which classified it as a dangerous drug, and though government hearings was in turn made illegal. The actual story of Marijuana prohibition in America had nothing to do with any of that. Those who voted on the legal fate of this plant never had the facts, but were dependent on information
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The members of the colonies, like the Europeans, Moslems and Chinese, found many uses for Cannabis and in 1619, Virginia colonies make Cannabis cultivation mandatory, for it was “such a vital resource” (Newland, par.6) a law which most of the other colonies would soon embrace. In 1752, Benjamin Franklin first his discoveries about electricity, and his first electric wire was actually made out of homegrown hemp string which was then attached to a kite. Franklin also owned a mill that made industrial hemp paper (Newland, Par. 4) Cannabis use in America was so prominent that a draft of the Declaration of Independence was drafted on Cannabis paper in 1776. A bit later in the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin started the first Hemp paper mill. This allowed America to have its own supply of paper, as they were no longer dependant on England for the colonial press. Thomas Paine's patriotic literature, which helped spark the revolution, was printed on hemp. (Newland, par. 8) The primary crop on George Washington’s farm at Mount Vernon was Cannabis, while it was the secondary crop on Thomas Jefferson’s. In 1791, President Washington sets duties on Cannabis to encourage its domestic industry, while Jefferson urges farmers to grow Cannabis instead of tobacco and refers to it as "a necessity” (Guither, Par. 5) Cannabis mainly served for domestic use in America until 1841, when Dr. W.B.
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