News of the legalising marijuana nation wide in the United states have been around recently. In fact, medical Marijuana has been legalised in many places including Australia, Denmark, and Germany, and in some cases like Spain and Uruguay, Marijuana is legal for recreational use. However, there are growing concerns that with this there will be a rise in cannabis-use disorder, it’s relationship to depression and anxiety, and there is evidence that long term use of the drug can cause long-lasting damage to still immature brains (Grant, 2017).
The history behind the Marijuana ban dates back to the early 1900s. Towards the end of the 18th century, medical journals proposed medical marijuana as a treatment for inflamed skin, incontinence and venereal disease. Jacques-Joseph Moreau, doctor and scientist, discovered that marijuana was useful in suppressing headaches, increasing appetite, and supporting sleep. He published his findings in journals like the American Journal of Psychiatry. Marijuana made available at any public drugstore or pharmacy in liquid form and solid, also known as hashish.
The practice of smoking marijuana leaf in cigarettes or pipes was largely unknown in the United States until early 1900s, when it was introduced by Mexican immigrants. Newspaper mogul William Randolph Hearst, unhappy with the unorthodox methods and unfamiliar ways of using marijuana, falsely claimed that the Mexicans were being troublesome and it was because they were using marijuana. That in turn, generated a reaction in the U.S., tinged perhaps with anti-Mexican xenophobia and was when the drug started to be vilified. The first attempt at federal regulation of marijuana came in 1906, with the passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act. Then, between 1914 and 1925, twenty-six states passed laws prohibiting the plant. The anti-marijuana laws were uncontroversial and passed, for the most part, with an absence of public outcry or even legislative debate.
Regardless of the opposition, by the American Medical Association, of this idea of suppressing the drug, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937. This meant a tax of around one dollar for anyone who commercially dealt with marijuana. They also implanted penalties for the marijuana handlers.According to the Reactance Phenomenon, also known as the Boomerang Effect, when people experience a threat to or loss of their freedom, it sparks motivation to restore that sense of freedom. By preventing or dissuading people from acting a certain way, it can have the polar effect of alluring people to engage in the behavior by suggesting that it is commonplace and/or desirable. Within both the U.
S. and at the U.S.-Mexico border, crime and violence have intensified due to the illegal selling and buying of marijuana. In connection to the Reactance Phenomenon, the legalization of marijuana would then end the temptation for such criminal behavior.
Media deliberated to prevent drug use may reinforce the idea of drugs. Written by Jon Caulkins, Beau Kilmer, and Mark Kleiman, in the book Marijuana Legalization: What Everyone Needs to Know they explained that it’s possible that people be exposed to more serious and harmful drugs through, for example, their marijuana dealer. When the dealer feels as though their customer is a reliable one, they may encourage them to try other drugs, for example heroin or cocaine. By legalising Marijuana, it eliminates that chance, therefore preventing that situation.The use of Marijuana, both medically and recreationally, has increased worldwide especially among adolescents. Marijuana has been proven to be no more harmful to a person’s health than alcohol or tobacco, which are both legal and widely used, and regulated by the U.
S. Food & Drug Administration. Although, long-term or abusive use of marijuana can still be harmful to a person’s health and well-being. Second-hand smoke from marijuana can also be harmful to others. On the other hand, not only is the drug no more harmful than substances that are recreationally used widely and legal, but it has also been proven for medical benefits including cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and medical issues. Getting caught and arrested for marijuana among younger citizens often carry harsh penalties that can cause undue social harm with lifelong consequences.
“National statistics show 872,000 arrests last year related to marijuana, 775,000 of them for possession, not sale or manufacturing – sparking some critics to suggest that the resources of the criminal justice system, including the crowded state prisons and courts, might be better used elsewhere,” per the San Francisco Chronicle in 2009. Marijuana is often seen as a gateway drug. Many allege that regular marijuana use can lead to use of harder, more harmful drugs such as heroin and cocaine. Research states that people who are addicted to marijuana are three times more likely to be addicted to heroin. Some opponents of legalizing marijuana believe that individuals involved in illegal buying and selling of the drug are more likely than average to be involved in other crimes, and that society is safer with marijuana offenders incarcerated. Law enforcement agencies also don’t want to be construed as supporting drug use. Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the primary chemical in marijuana, is a psychoactive substance.
It passes through the blood-brain barrier and alters brain functions such as memory, perception, mood and behaviour. The Hippocampus plays an important part in memory and spatial awareness, which are impaired when someone uses marijuana. Despite the medical and positive effects of recreational use of marijuana, the legalisation of the drug also comes with negative effects. To prevent the abuse of the drug, there should be implementations to control the use of the drug.