Marijuana, a drug obtained from dried and crumpled parts of the ubiquitous hemp plant Canabis sativa (or Cannabis indica). Smoked by rolling in tobacco paper or placing in a pipe. It is also otherwise consumed worldwide by an estimated 200,000,000 persons for pleasure, an escape from reality, or relaxation. Marijuana is known by a variety of names such as kif (Morocco), dagga (South Africa), and bhang (India). Common in the United States, marijuana is called pot, grass, weed, Mary Jane, bones, etc. The main active principle of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol. The potency of its various forms ranges from a weak drink consumed in India to the highly potent hashish. The following consists of pure cannabis resin. Marijuana is not a narcotic and is not mentally or physically addicting drug. One can use mild cannabis preparations such as marijuana in small amounts for years without physical or mental deterioration. Marijuana serves to diminish inhibitions and acts as an euphoriant. Only once in a while will it produce actual hallucinations. More potent preparations of cannabis such as hashish can induce psychedelic experiences identical to those observed after ingestion of potent hallucinogens such as LSD. Some who smoke marijuana feel no effects; others feel relaxed and sociable, tend to laugh a great deal, and have a profound loss of the sense of time. Characteristically, those under the influence of marijuana show incoordination and impaired ability to perform skilled acts. Still others experience a wide range of emotions including feelings of perception, fear, insanity, happiness, love and anger. Although marijuana is not addicting, it may be habituating. The individual may become psychologically rather than physically dependent on the drug.
Legalization Of Marijuana
Those who urge the legalization of marijuana maintain the drug is entirely safe. The available data suggested, this is not so, Marijuana occasionally produces acute panic reactions or even transient psychoses. Furthermore, a person driving under the influence of marijuana is a danger to themselves and others. If smoked heavily and a great deal of consistency, its use has been clearly associated with mental breakdown. In many persons who smoke chronically, the drug reinforces passivity and reduces goal-directed, constructive activity. The chronic use of pure resin (hashish) has been associated both with mental deterioration and criminality. One of the major complications of marijuana use is the tendency on the part of some users to progress to more dangerous drugs. Users in economically deprived areas usually go on to heroin, whereas more affluent individuals tend to move from marijuana to more potent hallucinogens such as LSD. There is no established medical use for marijuana or any other cannabis preparation. In the United States, its use is a crime and the laws governing marijuana are similar to those regulating heroin. Many authorities now urge that the laws be modified to mitigate the penalties relating to conviction on marijuana possession charges.
The Case For Legalizing Marijuana Use
The United States stands apart from many nations in its deep respect for the individual. The strong belief in personal freedom appears early in the nation's history. The Declaration of Independence speaks of every citizen's right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." The Constitution and Bill of Rights go further, making specific guarantees. They forbid the government to make unwarranted entry into dwelling places. They forbid seizure of personal property, except when very clear reasons are approved by the courts. They allow every citizen to remain silent in court when accused of a crime. Legal decisions have extended these rights, so that every citizen may feel safe, secure, and sheltered from public view in the privacy of his or her home.