ABSTRACT: This paper, entitled "Mary Jane: The Devil Weed?" attempts to examine what we know about marijuana and what problems are associated with its use. The paper examines briefly the history of marijuana legislation, marijuana's known effects, and conclusions about its danger.
Early in this century, the government waged a war of terrorism on marijuana, or cannabis sativa. "By 1937, forty-six states had laws against the use of marijuana, and its use had already been made a criminal offense under federal law" (Jaffe, 659). Andrews pointed out that "not until some time in the early 1930s did the Louisianna legislature pass a state regulation making use of the drug illegal" (5). Jaffe noted that "since the early 1900s, marifuana has been considered the one drug that might introduce the susceptible to hard drugs." Jaffe pointed out that "since about 1950.... smoking of marijuana has been linked statistically to the use of other illicit drugs....Most observers have concluded that the link is sociological rather than biological and...marijuana is a marker for individuals who are more prone to seek new experiences even when these violate social norms and local laws."
Andrews related that "sensational newspaper stories relating...to crime is generally held to be accountable for the sudden enactment of a law prohibiting its use." He went on to note that "users were often subject to heavy penalties- -up to life imprisonment in Texas." "After caffeine, nicotine and alcohol, marijuana is the fourth most popular abused substance" (O'Brien, Cohen, Evans, and Fine, 175).
does marijuana deserve this reputation? We must first consider what it is and what effects it has. The active ingredient is tetrahydocannabinol, or THC (Andrews). THC, found only in the female plant, produces a mild euphoric effect. Marijuana is considered a hallucinogen, a Schedule 1 drup, under the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 (O'Brien, Cohen,...