On Election Day in 1996, voters in California and Arizona voted for initiatives that would condone and legalize the acquisition of medical marijuana by those in need and prescribed it by a physician. Within 5 years of that, many states passed measures to allow the needy to legally receive medical marijuana: Arizona, Alaska, Oregon, Nevada, Washington, Maine, the District of Columbia, and most recently, Hawaii (Bock 1). One might ask oneself what the regulations now that is so perturbing to those who need the use to be legalized? Stephen B. Duke gives insight to this inquiry—showing that the government may be contradicting itself, causing more pain and effort for less good—in his work Cannabis Captiva: Freeing the World from Marijuana Prohibition.
“First, regulation of the drug is possible only if prohibition is repealed. The authors of both drug treaties and U. S. statutes euphemistically refer to drug prohibition as drug ‘control.’ Prohibition, however, is inconsistent with control, since only that which is legal can be regulated by law.... Under a regulatory model...the federal government would retain some restrictions against interstate commerce in drugs that were unlicensed, mislabeled, inadequately identified, or lacked appropriate disclosures and warnings. The federal government would share with the states the power to tax the manufacture and distribution of the product. As with alcohol, most regulation would be left to the individual states. (85)”
If caught with possession of marijuana, federal law states that, despite the state law, one may be punished with some part of the following: Low-level offenses, even with multiple prior convictions, may end up with probation up to twelve months, and no jail time required; possession of over 1 kg of marijuana with no prior convictions carries a sentence of six to twelve months with a possibility of probation and alternative sentencing; over 2.5 kg with no criminal record carries a sentence of at least six months in jail; 2.5 kg with multiple prior convictions, a sentence might be up to two years to three years in jail with no chance for probation (Federal).
Ultimately, this topic is in desperate need of clarification and decision-making. The use of marijuana either for medication or recreation is a largely popular activity. Legalization with regulation would essentially be the most intelligent plan of action, and as show previously, a drug must be legal to be “controlled,” taxed, or potentially monopolized in some areas.
Some are not convinced that marijuana is in fact a medicine at all and is purely called that to cover up the true reason behind wanting to legalize the herb: to get high. It is difficult to truly determine what is or is not medicinal—even by Modern American medicine standards and guide lines. Modern physicians have deterred patients from seemingly “outlandish” methods of medicine frequently, such as the Oriental practices of acupuncture and acupressure, chiropractors,...