Marijuana: Cause and Effect

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Stephen Tracey
Professor Curran
English 101
10 November 2011
Marijuana: Cause and Effect
Today in America, millions of American citizens are both confused and outraged by the fact that there are still laws that are preventing people from using one of the most popular and controversial, illegal substances in the world: marijuana. According to recent polls, fifty percent of Americans want marijuana to be completely legal and decriminalized (Blodget), and a whopping eighty percent of Americans want it to be at least legalized for medical use (RangelMD). So why do so many Americans want marijuana to be legalized? To some this question can be easily answered, but to others, it’s not so simple. There are way too many reasons to count why people think marijuana should or should not be legal or illegal. However, one cannot deny the many effects decriminalizing marijuana would have on our rights, our safety, and our economy.

It is more than likely that one is asking themselves; why is marijuana illegal in the first place? The answer is complex, shocking, and a great tale of greed. For the first 162 years of America’s existence, marijuana was totally legal. Hemp, which comes from the same plant as marijuana, was a very common crop and in the early 1900’s was well on its way to becoming one of the most profitable crops America had ever seen (Marijuana). Hemp was used to make paper, fiber, clothing, food, rope, birdseed, oil, medicine, plastics, and fuel (Is Cannabis). As hemp kept growing more and more into the lives of American people, the amount of enemies the plant had grew as well, such as the timber industry who knew hemp would rival them in making paper (Marijuana). Those who wished to see marijuana banned and made illegal knew that congress would never ban it, because of the economic benefits it presented. So, rivals of the hemp industry started using the slang word used in Mexico for cannabis; marijuana. They thought it would sound exotic and foreign. After years of anti-marijuana propaganda, such as the movie Reefer Madness, congress banned Marijuana without knowing they were banning one of their most profitable crops in hemp (Is Cannabis). Ever since 1937, when the Marijuana Tax Act banned marijuana (Is Cannabis), the citizens of the United Stated of America have wanted to see this law revoked.

The effect decriminalizing marijuana in America would have on the rights of American citizens would be significant to say the least, which is precisely why many people want to see it made legal. By decriminalizing marijuana, it would show that American citizens are tired of the United States Government posing as our parents and as our moral authority. Many citizens disagree with the government telling people what they can and cannot do with their free will and their bodies, especially in a country that became independent from England to stand for Freedom. It’s one thing for the government to want people to be safe, but when the government banning a plant causes even more problems, mostly to our safety and well-being, and intrudes upon our freedoms, it’s time for a change, which is exactly why fifty percent of Americans want marijuana decriminalized (Blodget).

The next effect many Americans agree on, is the legalization of marijuana will make this country safer. First off, 800,000 arrests were made in 2008 that were marijuana related (Nick). If one didn’t know, prison teaches the people locked inside how to become better criminals, prevents one from getting a good job once they return to society, and forces one to use the knowledge learned in prison to make a living. Therefore, if one was a productive citizen for the most part, and was caught with marijuana, and were sent to prison, it could significantly change their life and other people’s lives for the worse. Also, street violence would fall as a result of decriminalizing marijuana. The problem with marijuana being illegal is it causes people to resolve their disputes...
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