Why Marijuana Should Be Legalized

Total Length: 1643 words ( 5 double-spaced pages)

Total Sources: 4

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Introduction

When the nation was founded, hemp was a regular crop that the Founding Fathers all harvested. Cannabis was literally part of the fabric of the American Way: hemp was used for a variety of functions, from tea to textiles. As Robert Deitch notes, “we know colonial Americans were aware of the medicinal properties of cannabis. It was one of the few medicines they had, and they used it as commonly as we use aspirin today” (25). If cannabis was good enough for the first Americans, surely it stands some much warranted consideration—particularly in the light of the recent opioid epidemic that has claimed the lives of so many young in today’s day and age (Nelson, Juurlink, Perrone). People looking for a little relief are chasing after dangerous drugs that can kill. Marijuana, however, has never really been associated with overdosing and death. Just as the early Americans found, cannabis has the ability to take away the pain and give a little peace of mind—and for that reason, legalizing weed is something all good Americans should support.

Famous Presidents Smoked It

According to Deitch, many of America’s first U.S. presidents smoked weed and valued cannabis for its calming and pain-killing effects. This list of presidents includes Washington, Jefferson, Madison, Monroe, Jackson, Taylor, Pierce and even Lincoln (Deitch). Marijuana was just accepted as natural and no one questioned its usage. It was the perfect crop as it had so many different uses. It was perfectly legal to farm and grow and use however one wanted. If the Founding Fathers were able to harvest weed, smoke it and still lay the foundations for the greatest country in the world, maybe weed really is not all that bad after all?

So why is marijuana still considered a schedule 1 narcotic along with heroin and other hard drugs that can seriously destroy lives? The fact is simply this: Big Pharma wanted to ban the competition and the Plastics Industry wanted to outlaw hemp so it could get into the textiles business. Marijuana and hemp have been outlawed in the U.S. because America is a business and in this country, the businesses that get their people into the U.S. government are the ones who succeed. Numerous states had banned marijuana in the early 1900s and FDR finally did away with it at the federal level in 1937 (Revell). It was argued then as now that marijuana was a gateway drug that could lead to the use of harder substances. However, there was never really any merit to that claim. To get to the bottom of the claim that marijuana was a gateway drug, New York City Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia “commissioned a study on marijuana use in the city. The research rebutted the notions put forward [at the time], finding that its use didn’t contribute to the use of harder drugs or a factor in causing crimes or juvenile delinquency” (Revell).
In other words, the mayor who had an international airport named after him in New York City conducted a study on marijuana and found that it was not the killer that opponents were making it out to be. Yet the government still went ahead and banned…

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…of weed without having smoke or vape.

Numerous states have legalized weed about a century after they criminalized it. In the century that has passed, the nation has seen a lot of big changes. The culture in America has completely altered and though some may say it has gotten worse while others may say it has improved, one thing is certain: marijuana is still around and has not gone away. Hemp is coming back too. Hemp farming was recently legalized in Kentucky, which means people are going to be turning to hemp for building and making textiles once more. Weed is back and this time it is here to stay.

Conclusion

Weed should be legalized because it has so many great uses which have been recognized basically since man could cultivate plants. Weed was one of the first crops ever grown and it is still grown today by people who value its good qualities. Though it was allowed in the U.S. in the 20th century, the Founding Fathers grew it and smoked it. Queen Victoria used it for her ailments. People have always found weed to have a good impact on their lives. The only reason it was outlawed was because it was the main competition of the pharmaceutical industry and the industrial barons did not like that hemp basically meant their oil had one less utility. By getting hemp out of the way the oil barons were able to push petroleum on the market to fill the gap. In America it has always been about business—but nowadays Americans are more interested in what works….....

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Works Cited

Barber, Elizabeth Jane Wayland. Prehistoric textiles: the development of cloth in the Neolithic and Bronze Ages with special reference to the Aegean. Princeton University Press, 1991.

Deitch, Robert. Hemp: American history revisited: the plant with a divided history.Algora Publishing, 2003.

Nelson, Lewis S., David N. Juurlink, and Jeanmarie Perrone. "Addressing the opioid epidemic." Jama 314.14 (2015): 1453-1454.
Parliament UK. History of the use of cannabis. Parliament UK, 1998. https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/ld199798/ldselect/ldsctech/151/15103.htm

Revell, Eric. On This Date: FDR Made Marijuana Illegal 81 Years Ago. Countable, 2017. https://www.countable.us/articles/849-date-fdr-made-marijuana-illegal-81-years-ago

Russo, Ethan B. "History of cannabis and its preparations in saga, science, and sobriquet." Chemistry & biodiversity 4.8 (2007): 1614-1648.

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