Criminal Justice Paper on Marijuana Decriminalization

Topics: Cannabis, Hemp, Legal and medical status of cannabis Pages: 3 (897 words) Published: February 18, 2013
In the 1800’s, cannabis, more commonly known as marijuana, was legal in most states in the United States, and was mostly used for medicinal purposes. The first notable instance of regulation in the U.S. was in 1906, with the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906. After the Mexican Revolution in 1910, Mexican immigrants introduced the American public to marijuana use recreationally. Following the widespread use of marijuana in the ensuing years, more and more states created laws regulating marijuana use, cultivation, and distribution. Through the Uniform State Narcotics Act, use of Cannabis in every state was regulated by the mid 1930’s. Marijuana regulation at the federal level was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt with the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937. Cannabis is regulated for a number of reasons, most of which can be debated as to how legitimate they are. Cannabis is labeled as a semi psychoactive drug, and its effects, some of which appeal to the user, include euphoria, increased appetite, anxiety, short term memory loss, and increased risk of heart attack. Also, a “gateway drug theory” is associated with cannabis use, which means that people believe that its use will lead to the use of more dangerous and harmful drugs, such as cocaine and heroin. Theories also exist that its long term use can increase risk for schizophrenia, bipolar disorders, and major depression. The sales of marijuana is also said to encourage and fund street violence. Marijuana also affects motor skills, reflexes, attention and perception. This is where the issue decriminalization, and my opinion, comes in. The enforcement and prosecution of marijuana-related offenses cost taxpayers hundreds of millions of dollars annually. Statistics show that between $7.5 billion and $10 billion is spent every year on arresting and prosecuting individuals, 90% of which involve possession. $1.2 billion of that money is spent merely on incarcerating these criminals in prison. Statistics...
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