Marijuana Should Be Legal Essay

1441 words - 6 pages

Marijuana should be legal. Not just for industrial purposes, not just for medical purposes, but 100% legal in all of its forms. Why? Well before we examine why marijuana should become legal, we must first know why marijuana became illegal.Many people assume that marijuana was made illegal through some kind of process involving scientific, medical, and government hearings; that it was to protect the citizens from what was determined to be a dangerous drug. Instead, it seems the reason for the criminalization of marijuana had more to do with racism, ignorance, religion, fear and personal profit than it did any statistics or facts… everything our government should stand against. Cannabis has been as big a part of the U.S. history as farming itself. In the fact, the first law pertaining to cannabis in the US was a law in Jamestown, Virginia in 1619 actually ordering all farmers to grow the substance (Booth, Martin pg. 27).In the early 1900's, however, a flood of Mexican immigrants alarmed state officials. With them, the Mexicans brought a "demon weed" known as marijuana. However, the first State to outlaw marijuana didn't do so because of the Mexicans, but actually because of its use by Mormons. The very religious state of Utah saw this as a problem and subsequently outlawed it (Booth, Martin pg.28). Many other states would soon follow but for their own prejudiced reasons (Mostly against the Mexican population). Soon enough, in the 1930's the United States federal government took notice. With the establishment of the Bureau of Narcotics and its very racist leader Harry J. Anslinger, the propaganda machine was turned to full power.Anslinger created an alliance with American newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst, and together sparked most of the misconceptions of the 'reefer madness' era. Thanks to the yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst, the public's view of cannabis became distorted by such deceiving stories as:"An entire family was murdered by a youthful addict in Florida. When officers arrived at the home, they found the youth staggering about in a human slaughterhouse. With an axe he had killed his father, mother, two brothers, and a sister. He seemed to be in a daze… He had no recollection of having committed the multiple crime. The officers knew him ordinarily as a sane, rather quiet young man; now he was pitifully crazed. They sought the reason. The boy said that he had been in the habit of smoking something which youthful friends called 'muggles', a childish name for marijuana."And more often than not, the stories fed off of peoples racial tendencies of the time, with such tales as:"Colored students at the Univ. of Minn. partying with female students (white), smoking and getting their sympathy with stories of racial persecution. Result pregnancy.""Two Negros took a girl fourteen years old and kept her for two days under the influence of marijuana. Upon recovery she was found to be suffering from syphilis."Soon there...

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