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Legalization Of Marijuana: A Review Of The Literature

2135 words - 9 pages

California was the first state to pass a marijuana law in 1913 followed by the rest of the states in the nation until the year of 1937, when marijuana became completely illegal at the federal level. (Guither) Before then, marijuana and specifically hemp had many uses for colonists and farmers and was such a critical crop for a number of purposes, that the government even encouraged its growth. It was not until Henry J. Anslinger saw the Bureau of Narcotics as a fascinating career opportunity that he latched on trying to make marijuana illegal so he could make a name for himself. It stayed outlawed until November 6, 2012, when Colorado and Washington became the first state to legalize the ...view middle of the document...

1. Are people more open to recreational marijuana now than in the past?
2. How much of the public have smoked marijuana before or do it regularly?
3. What does the public believe on whether marijuana can have a negative or positive effect on a person’s health?
4. Does the public realize how many prisoners are in prison because of petty drug charges for possession of marijuana? As well as how much taxpayer’s money goes to be spent on those prisoners unnecessarily?
The following review on literature will provide statistics showing that most of the public is for the legalization of marijuana, discuss how many people regularly partake in smoking weed, inform the audience about the negative and positive effects of cannabis and show statistics about how many people go to prison just for marijuana charges and how much taxpayer’s pay for these prisoners.
Are people now more open to recreational marijuana than in the past?
In 1969, the first Gallup Poll was taken asking Americans whether or not marijuana should be legalized, the response was overwhelmingly negative with only 12 percent favoring legalization. However, as the public became more educated about cannabis, they also began to support legalization of the plant, as support reached 65 percent in 2013. (Swift, 2013) Fifty-six participants from various demographics were asked about their opinion on the legalization of recreational marijuana. The results indicated that approximately 70% or 39 people are for the legalization of marijuana and 30% or 17 people are against the legalization of marijuana. (See Figure 1)
Figure 1: A chart depicting survey responses to the question, “Are you for or against the legalization of recreational marijuana?”

Although these results come from a small sample size, the results are close to the results of the much larger Gallup pool and is indicative that much of the public is ready and for the legalization of pot.
For many people it has been a long journey regarding the majority acceptance of cannabis over the last forty-four years, but the wait has finally paid off as support for legalization increased in the past several years. Changing social norms and spreading social acceptance can contribute to the public welcoming a substance that was forbidden and thought of as bad in the 1960s and 1970s. The increasing support can also be contributed due to medical marijuana becoming legal across the nation and many people thinking of marijuana as a socially acceptable way to prevent, alleviate and ease symptoms of disease such as Alzheimer, Anorexia, and Cancer. (Pro Con) As well as benefitting citizens, regulating and taxing cannabis will also be beneficial to states and the nation as a whole in a much needed way. At this point the mass momentum of marijuana reform will push further legalization efforts across the United States. While medical marijuana is legal in 17 states, federal law still prohibits any use of marijuana which has caused the Obama administration...

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