The Crime Of Marijuana Criminalization Essay

2198 words - 9 pages

Cannabis, more widely known to as marijuana, refers to the budded flowers and leaves of the female cannabis sativa plant. These flowers contain psychoactive components called cannabinoids, which are also naturally produced in our bodies. When smoked or eaten properly cannabis releases cannabinoids into the bloodstream to be binded with cannabinoid receptors in the brain and body. There are thousands of different cannabinoids in cannabis but the most common of these cannabinoids is tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. People have been using cannabis since the Neolithic age for a variety of purposes. According to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, over twenty percent of Americans use marijuana, making it the most widely used illicit drug in the world (Drug Facts). Only recently governments have passed legislation banning the possession, use, growth, and distribution of marijuana The cultivation and use of marijuana has a rich and ancient history that in no way justified its ban. The criminalization of marijuana is an injustice to our society and has negative impacts on our economy. The initial ban of marijuana had little to no justification and the move to keep marijuana illegal is found to be costly. In contrast to its setting in the current judicial system, it is clearly evident why the laws prohibiting marijuana use need to be reexamined and changedThe use of marijuana has a long ancient history. Cannabis sativa is known to have originated in ancient Mesopotamia where hemp was used for clothing as the first woven fabric between 7,000 and 8,000 B.C. (Guither). Throughout history, marijuana or hemp has been used to manufacture fine linen, canvas, and rope. The use of hemp as a strong fiber has been an important resource in many ancient civilizations, as well as more modern societies. There are even several references to marijuana in the Old Testament of the Bible. Rastafarians spiritually use cannabis as a characteristic of their religion. Marijuana is also used medically to relieve a variety of symptoms. In ancient China, Emperor Shen Nung taught his people to value cannabis as medicine (Brecher). According to modern research cannabis is a useful aid to treating neuropathic pain relief, glaucoma, spasticity, nausea, movement disorders, and acts as an appetite inhibitor especially for HIV and dementia patients. Cannabis may also contain medicinal properties that protect the body from malignant tumors (NORML). In 1619 the first marijuana law was passed in Jamestown, Virginia. According to this law, all farmers were required to grow hempseed. Violators of this law who did not grow hemp were punished by jail time during hemp shortages. During that time, hemp was officially accepted as a legal tender and people could actually pay their taxes with the crop. Due to cannabis's multitude of uses, hemp was seen as a critical crop and the government highly encouraged its growth. At Mount Vernon, Marijuana was George Washington's primary crop and at...

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