A Case for the Legalization of Marijuana in the United States
The legalization of cannabis is an idea that has been discussed around the world for decades, but within the last few years, it has grown in popularity and support in this country primarily on a state-by-state basis. My goal in this paper is to show that as more and more states choose to legalize the use of cannabis, or marijuana for medical purposes, in fact, a very strong case can be made for the full legalization of Cannabis in the United States today.
In order to better understand why cannabis has been classified as an illegal drug in the past it is helpful to start at the beginning. Because humans are social beings that have lived together in tribes or clans since the beginning of time, they needed to agree to and follow some very basic rules. In the past, if the group became larger, more rules were needed. Eventually rules became laws and were enforced by leaders.
As cities and political “states” developed, the people who rose to power had control over what rules were enforced, and many times in history, laws outlived their purpose or new discoveries disproved the reasons for the rules that once either made sense for the common good, or benefited rulers, or simply appealed to the moral beliefs of people in charge of making laws.
This seems to be true today for the drug Cannabis, which is more popularly known as Marijuana. The laws regarding its use have been shown to be based on opinion rather than facts and they have outlived their original purpose as times and public opinion has changed. Even though this appears to be true for much of the rest of the world, our research will be focused on our own country and its laws regarding the use of Marijuana.
The possession of marijuana is illegal in this country and has been since the beginning of widespread cannabis prohibition in the late 1930s (“Why is Marijuana Illegal?”, drugwarrant.com). The use of cannabis came under increasing criticism after the formation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics in 1930. Its purpose was to establish rules regarding the legality and use of drugs and was headed by Harry J. Anslinger as part of the government's goal to outlaw all recreational drugs (“Grass: The History of Marijuana”, huffingtonpost.com).
At least part of the Bureau’s reason for developing such a goal was because President Franklin Roosevelt had promised in his election campaign to do away with prohibition on alcohol, and Anslinger and the Bureau took a conservative approach to what they saw as immorality on President Roosevelt’s part. When Prohibition was lifted in 1933, and from that point on, Anslinger set guidelines to include and classify marijuana with narcotic drugs, and he developed a federal marijuana law by using magazines and articles as anti-marijuana propaganda. Anslinger claimed cannabis caused people to “act irrationally, and overly sexual” (McWilliams, 183). He also asserted that it caused...