Decriminalization of Marijuana

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Darnell Taylor
M. Channing
English 1B
March 5, 2013
Decriminalization of Marijuana
As I researched the internet for information about the decriminalization of marijuana, I found so much information concerning this project that it was hard putting together some thoughts. Through my research of the different topics I came to the conclusion that the ones I am writing about seem to be the most important concerning the decriminalization of marijuana. Should a person go to jail for smoking marijuana? A lot of people would say no, a person should not go to jail for smoking it. Marijuana is not a narcotic, such as heroin, or a stimulant like caffeine or tobacco, or a depressant, like alcohol. It would be easy to say marijuana is less of a threat to a person’s health than alcohol or tobacco. Marijuana became illegal on August 2, 1937 with the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act. Discrimination and racism played a big part in this because it was said that Blacks and other minorities were the majority of marijuana users. Politicians and lack of understanding of the drug is why marijuana is still illegal today. The scientific name for marijuana is cannabis. There are two main strains of marijuana and they are called Indica and Sativa. Cannabis is known in the streets, by many other names such as dank, bud, buddha, maryjane, weed, or reefer, and has been used medically since the beginning of civilization. The oldest known evidence of cannabis use comes from a tomb in the African country of Egypt, where cannabis was found in big bundles beside the tomb. In Canada, a high-level public official said the current marijuana prohibition was not working for the benefit of that country .The number of known marijuana users has grown from 55,000 to 350 million, a fact showing that prohibition of marijuana is not working. The big push for the United States to decriminalize marijuana started in the 1970’s, when almost half the states either approved it for medical use, decriminalized it, or completely legalized it. The people for decriminalization argue that legalizing cannabis would free up billions of dollars that we now use to prosecute users, pay for a large portion of law enforcement resources, and pay for large amounts of prison resources. It would reduce the income of street gangs and organized crime that grow, import, process, and sell illegal marijuana. With decriminalization and regulation it would provide large amounts of tax revenue and reduce enforcement costs, with little or no effect on how much is used. Decriminalization would lower the number of non-violent offenders in the prisons. The number of marijuana possession cases would also decline allowing less pressure on the Criminal Justice system. Decriminalization and legalization of marijuana are favored just because it is believed that a person’s rights should be respected. How a person lives his life, as long as he’s not hurting others, should be allowed. Users wouldn’t have to be scared of getting caught’ a person’s life would not be ruined for having a small amount of marijuana. A person wouldn’t lose his job because he had a little marijuana. College careers wouldn’t be ruined because of marijuana possession. The opposition also argues that cannabis on the streets today has a higher percentage of THC (the primary intoxicant), than in cannabis of an earlier time and that decriminalization will lead to more usage, more crime, and more abuse of dangerous illicit drugs. The Legal History of Marijuana in the United States: Decriminalization (1970-2000s) Check all the places that have decriminalized non-medical marijuana in the United States. Most of the states are in favor of decriminalization. They have started programs such as Drug Education or Drug Treatment in place of jail time or criminal charges for possession of small amounts of marijuana. This offense is now the lowest priority...
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