The Forbidden Herb
It is the real public enemy number one, according to a 1936 movie propaganda called “Reefer Madness” ( ). This exaggerated and implausible movie presented many fallacies such as the notion that smoking marijuana causes users to becoming ragingly violent and ultimately insane. The publicized effects were and still are absurd. Scientifically known as cannabis sativa, marijuana has many other names to match its long history, however public enemy number one should have never been one. Marijuana’s history dates back to at least 2737 BC, when Shen Nung, a Chinese emperor, discovered its medicinal properties (Earleywine 9). Even before then, hemp, which is part of the plant, was used to construct paper and clothing. Despite this, marijuana is illegal in the United States, even though prohibition laws have been ineffective in reducing its popularity. Marijuana should be legalized, not only due to its benefits, but because of its harmless nature in comparison to other legal substances available, whose effects are far more dangerous than marijuana could ever be.
Although many factors come into play when considering why marijuana gained such an awful reputation, one main aspect to consider is the fact that we have the evidence to prove otherwise. There has never been a single marijuana induced death (Hanrahan, Frey 11). This figure is astounding, considering its extensive history. Its effects are quite mild, meditational, and mood enhancing. It’s largely used amongst religious groups, and is believed to be a sacred holy plant placed on Earth by God to heal, and assist in reaching a deeper level of understanding of self (Earleywine 18).
Marijuana has also been long used for its medicinal properties. At the current moment, eleven states have allowed the use of medical marijuana. Unfortunately, the federal government refuses to recognize its benefits. These marijuana patients live in constant fear of being prosecuted for attempting to heal their aliments. Extensive research indicates that the use of medical marijuana has been shown effective for various health problems such as pain relief, glaucoma, schizophrenia, insomnia, cancer, AIDS and surprisingly, drug addiction (Hanrahan, Frey 171). Clearly, there are a lot of medical benefits that have been overlooked far too long.
Not only can we benefit medically from marijuana, but society can benefit monetarily as well. A potential of thirty one billion can be made in marijuana taxes (Gettman 6). These funds can help our economy get on the path of recovery faster, and remain there. It’s important that we recognize that marijuana has the potential to bring forth not only medical and recreational value, but monetary value as well.
According to the many sources I have consulted in order to gather opposing views, there are many popular theories of why marijuana should not be legalized. One is simply that marijuana is a harmful and addicting drug. It’s believed that it can cause memory loss,...