Should Marijuana Be Legalized?

2020 Words9 Pages
When you hear the word marijuana, what’s the first thing that comes to mind? Is it positive or negative? You can ask anyone today and they all have their point of views, and often it is just based on firsthand knowledge or what they heard on the T.V. or the internet. Marijuana users are obviously are for it, but those who oppose it often cannot talk smartly on why they oppose it; they just feel drugs are bad, marijuana is a drug, and thus it too is bad and must remain illegal. There is great debate today on whether marijuana should be legalized or not, as well as on the issues around controlling access to and accounting for safety under the influence if it were legalized. Few people have looked deeply neither into the history of this…show more content…
Martin A. Lee states in Smoke Signals, that “Hemp, the common English name for cannabis through modern times, usually refers to northern varieties of the plant grown for rope, paper, fabric, oil, or other industrial uses” (Lee, 2013). Hemp was a vital product in the colonial times of America, as it provided rope and sails which ships needed. In the 1830s, a man named Dr. O’Shaughnessy conducted extensive studies of Indian hemp while serving the British East Company. Dr. O’Shaughnessy first introduced marijuana into Western medicine where he prescribed it for many reasons including “nausea, delirium tremens, epilepsy, and painful spasms” (Lee, 2013). About 100 years later in the 1930s, Americans were becoming concerned about the use of marijuana. It was mainly used by minorities including Mexican immigrants and blacks and the Anglo-Americans feared it would ‘corrupt’ white society” (Bayer, 2001). This led the passage of many laws to curtail its use. The first of these was pushed by Harry J. Anslinger, commissioner of the Treasury Department’s Bureau of Narcotics. He pressured Washington for federal legislation against the drug and on 2 August 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act was signed (Bayer, 2001). This law did not ban marijuana out-right but it did required growers and buyers to pay a tax on it (Levinthal, 2016). This was only the beginning of a long list of legislations that were passed to
Open Document