Marijuana and the Great Debate
Cannabis or Marijuana, is the most popular illegal drug used recreationally today. It is derived from the flowering plant called cannabis and is also known by many other names such as pot, weed, hemp, and grass. Botanically, there are well over three hundred chemicals that derive from the cannabis plant. The main active ingredients of the drug are THC (tetrahydrocannabinol or delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol), and CBD (Cannabidiol). Of the cannabinoids, THC is the main psychoactive derivative that induces euphoria when smoked or consumed by its users; the other derivatives produce therapeutic properties, according to Dr. Mitch Earleywine (Earleywine 122).
In America, the legalization of Marijuana has been a great debate for many years. In ancient history, ancient civilization used cannabis for a variety of purposes during its early cultivation in China. Its production made way for hemp textile fiber, rope, canvas, and paper. In the eighteen hundreds, it became a major cash crop and began being farmed alongside tobacco in America. In the late nineteen thirties, the Marijuana Tax Act was established requiring all people that use or possess the drug register and pay Marijuana taxes (Kane 32). In nineteen seventy, President Nixion and other constituents of congress, launched a war on drugs. It was a belief that people who used Marijuana were becoming too mentally radical, rebellious toward law enforcement, and using too frequently. The Controlled Substances Act of nineteen seventy was passed into legislation, classifying all illegal drugs by schedule according to their abuse potential. Marijuana was classified as a “Schedule 1” drug (Gerber 14). A “Schedule 1 drug” is a drug with the highest potential for abuse with no use medically. Today, there is an ongoing debate over whether or not Marijuana should be legalized. Marijuana is banned federally, while recent changes in state laws have prompted many states to legalize its use recreationally and medically, sparking controversy over widespread legalization.
In regards to Marijuana being legal, proponents for the legalization focus on the economic, medical, and legal benefits to be gained from its legalization. Huffington Post reveals that economists estimate that the government could gain millions in tax revenue from the legalization of Marijuana (Bradford). Eventfully, legalization can generate more money to fund government programs and create more government jobs. Additionally, this could save the United States up to fourteen billion dollars a year (Bradford). For example, establishments that profit from liquor sales or Marijuana dispensaries that want to sale Marijuana could also be required to have a license to sale Marijuana as they do tobacco and liquor products today.