Congress should legalize marijuana for medical purposes because of several reasons cited in this discussion. 1) The use of marijuana has been prohibited in the United States since 1937 as it has been classified as a dangerous drug. However, recent researches and scientific findings present evidences that marijuana has therapeutic benefits that can cure a number of adult diseases. 2) Aside from health benefits, there are also other reasons that deserve to be heard in reviewing the Legalization Act of Marijuana for Medical Purposes. For instance, several U.S. States and other foreign countries have relaxed policies on prohibition of this plant. A large number of the U.S. population clamors for its legalization because of their need for the medical plant. 3) Economic benefits will be derived by the government in its implementation
The use of marijuana was declared illegal under Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The historical account on “Why Marijuana is illegal” showed the reasons to be “racism, fear, and protection of corporate profits, yellow journalism, ignorant, incompetent, and/or corrupt legislators, personal career advancement and greed”.(Pete Warrant) Mathre, Marlyn who completed a study on the medicinal value of marijuana, referred to same reasons for 1937 Act. The events that took place are told below.
Nothing has been mentioned that marijuana was illegal because of some dangerous effects found by the medical science and prohibition was made to protect the citizens. The plant was considered an important crop during 1600s because it was used as rope, food, incense, cloth and for other economic uses. Planting of the crop was encouraged at that time. Racism was the primary reason it was prohibited in California when in 1900s, Black Americans and traveling Mormons were found using it for smoke. Other states just followed this prohibition. Ignorance could also be stated as one of the reasons here that even without proper justification, a Senator made a generalized statement saying “that all Mexicans are crazy because of smoking marijuana”. Another ground was “Yellow Journalism” that spread exaggerated and fearful stories on Black Americans using the stuff to benefit readership of their newspapers; like saying that marijuana was linked to brutal behavior of users. William Randolf Hearst, the owner of the newspapers just hated Mexicans which was due to racism, plus the fact that he saw the hemp as a fierce competition to his timber plantation. Personal career and advancement were also the motives of a politician named Anslinger who took the opportunity of magnifying ‘ogre’ stories of marijuana users to make prohibition a Federal Law. This was also an occasion to make his name known in the political field and make significant connection for his own ambition. Pharmaceutical companies and timber plantations were afraid of competition coming from Cannabis plant and they jointly pushed the efforts for outlawing growing of the plant.
Nowhere from the history accounted for harmful effects of the plant to people that led to its prohibition.
The reasons for the need for legalization are presented in the following paragraphs.
1. The health benefits
A review of the provisions of the 1937 Act needs to be done in view of the recent research-based studies showing that marijuana plant has curing effect for dreaded and ordinary diseases. These diseases are AIDS Wasting Syndrome, Arthritis, Brain Injury/Stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Nausea associated with cancer, Chemotherapy, Anti-Tumor Effects, Asthma, Epilepsy, Glaucoma, Schizophrenia, Migraine, Eating Disorders, General Pain. You will note that these diseases manifest on adults and rarely on youths. (Skunked and GetStuff) Marijuana plant is used by adults for its medicinal purpose while youths use it for recreational reasons.
People realize the important health benefits of the plant and have shored up support on the lifting of the ban on use of marijuana for medical purposes. A Gallup poll survey in November 2005 showed that 78% of Americans are in favor of allowing doctors to prescribe marijuana to reduce pain and suffering. The adult age group of 45 and above also clamors for the same, as shown in a similar survey in 2004 done by Marijuana Medical Project. On the overall, people from 21 U.S. States are in favor to support legislations of marijuana medications (MMP)
The abuse on drug use will be curtailed as prescriptions from licensed physicians will be required when someone buys the medical marijuana from pharmacies. Propagation of the plant for medical purposes will be controlled as a permit will be required from the government to do this.
Abuse of drugs has been noted on young teens that use marijuana for recreational purpose and not for medicinal use. Negative effects to youth are described in the next contents.
There are some bases for others in lodging a protest against legalization of marijuana. First, because studies showed the negative health effects comes from smoking and using the plant for recreational purpose. Users are mostly teens who said they used it because of peer pressure. Teenagers use marijuana because they see friends, brothers and sisters use it. They think it is alright to use marijuana because they hear about it in music, see it on TV and movies, and it is just a “cool” thing to do. A study stated that you can easily spot a marijuana user if you see someone” to have very red, bloodshot eyes; if he/she seem silly and giggly for no reason, he/she seem to be dizzy and have trouble walking, an when he/she is having a hard time remembering things that just happened” This state of marijuana influence messes up the teenagers’ performance in his activities in sports, schools and attitude. (CMP Medica)
The report of Buddy T. will give you an idea of what happens to a marijuana user. “When smoked, it begins to affect users almost immediately and can last for one to three hours. When it is eaten in food, such as baked in brownies and cookies, the effects take longer to begin, but usually last longer.” The report also stated short term effects which include “distorted perception of sights, sounds, time and touch; problems with memory and learning; loss of coordination, trouble with thinking and problem-solving, increased heart rate and reduced blood pressure. There are also cases, report said, that marijuana users feel anxiety, panic, distrust, or fear. Users of marijuana are exposed to other wide problems that include effects on brain. When high dosage of marijuana is used, one can experience hallucinations. delusions, and disorientation Marijuana can also affect the heart and lungs of users. Marijuana lowers the blood pressure and raises heart beat of users. The risk of heart attack is four times higher minutes after marijuana is used because the heart beats more rapidly and blood pressure drops source. The study of Buddy, T. also found out that marijuana smokers were three times more likely to develop cancer of the head or neck than non-smokers. Many researchers believe that smoking marijuana is overall more harmful to the lungs than smoking tobacco
2. Relaxed policies of other countries and a number of U.S. States on medical marijuana use
Other countries and a number of U.S. States have relaxed policies on use of medical marijuana Public insistence led to loosening up of the use of medical marijuana in other countries and U.S. States. Robert Kane listed Holland, Argentina, Australia, Belgium and Columbia as among those countries who favored the legislation. Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Nevada, Oregon and Washington are some U.S. States who have already adopted resolutions allowing its use for medications only. The Marijuana Policy Project noted that Hawaii, Vermont, Rhode Island, and New Mexico have listened to their constituents and passed medical marijuana laws. (MPP)
In 2001, Ali, A. and Wood O. found out that Canada was the first country who ruled a case in favor of marijuana medication. In 2008, the U.S. H.R. 5842 entitled – Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act was passed and has allowed the use of marijuana in accordance with laws of various states This legislation has relaxed the treatment of marijuana and removed it from Schedule I to Schedule II of the Controlled Substances Act H.R. 5842 allowing prescription of marijuana for medical purpose only in specific states.
3. Economic Effects to government
Government savings could be derived with the legalization. The costs of implementation will be lessened as a number of arrests of users will be minimized. The number of Marijuana users has tripled since 1990s. Recent records of Allen St. Pierre show that in 2006 the total number of marijuana offenders arrested is more than the total number of arrests in the U.S. for all violent crimes combined, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery, and aggravated assault.” The record showed 829,626 marijuana arrests in 2006. This number is greater than all the number of yearly arrests from marijuana since 1990. Out of this, about 89 percent were charged with possession and other 11 percent were charged with “sale/ manufacturing”. Report also stated that in the past years “30 percent of those arrested were 19 or younger”.(Allen St. Pierre)
It seems that the efforts of the government to discourage the youth from marijuana use are not enough. A lot of American money is spent for the enforcement of prohibition. St. Pierre estimated the cost to be $10 billion to $12 billion annually and led to the arrest of 20 million Americans. This amount could be used for other economic purposes in the government.
Revenues from manufacturers’ taxes, license fees and control fees will be gained by the government in its implementation. Under the controlled implementation, taxes can be collected from the supply chain which could be patterned in tobacco taxes..
Based on the findings reviewed, I believe that there is no sufficient reason to outlaw the use of medical marijuana because of the following justifications: The negative effects to health are not enough rationalization for not allowing its use as medical treatment Adults who need the medical marijuana will be jeopardized. Abuses of marijuana users are done without proper prescription and guidance; and any unauthorized use and abuse is unhealthy Complaints on symptomatic ailments are also found in tobacco smokers and not isolated for marijuana users only. The problem lies from the young teens that use marijuana for recreational purpose and for thrill; and they abuse it by not knowing its effect to them. The passage of 1937 Act that made the use of marijuana illegal has no medical basis and was done according to the personal gains of promoters. That the medical benefits of the plant were not yet known at that time and people believed of the exaggerated news circulated at by scrupulous newspapers. There is a popular support coming from the people mostly from adult Americans who need therapeutic medication of marijuana. Present researches and studies showed health benefits of the plant. The legislation will be advantageous to the patients looking for relief of pain and cure of their disease The medical marijuana will answer disease problems mostly found in adults. Adults are conscious health users and danger of drug abuse will be very minimal. The economic side of the issue is the benefits to manufacturers and to the government who will gain from the legislation. The government will derive revenues from manufacturers and sellers tax in the legalized sale of medical marijuana. Government savings from prohibition arrests of $10 billion to $12 billion yearly could be used to other productive endeavor. Manufacturers will be regulated and qualified. Only licensed manufacturers and pharmacies will be allowed to dispense with the prescribed medicine. There will be an outright control on its use. Prescription coming from physicians will ensure that the drug will not be abused. Only the dosage required will be prescribed to patients.
It is my contention that the use of marijuana for medical purposes should be legalized by
Congress and enacted as a Federal Law, subject to the following conditions
That prescription will be done only by licensed physicians.
That marijuana use will be for purely medicinal purposes.
That manufacturing, licensing and selling will be under control of the government and will be subject to tax similar to tobacco tax.
That medical marijuana be totally removed from Structure I of the Controlled Substances Act and transfer it to Structure II and become effective in all U.S. States
Ali, Amina and Wood Owen. “The Need for Weed: Medical Marijuana” In depth Marijuana. CBC News July 2001 28 Sept. 2009
Buddy T. “The Health Effects of Marijuana.” About. Com. 12 August 2009. 28 September 2009. http://alcoholism.about.com/od/pot/a/effects.-Lya.htm>
CMPMedica LLC, “Marijuana Fact: Marijuana can mess you up” Healthier You. 2009. United Business Media.Company 28 Sept. 2009 l
Getstuff.com. “How marijuana works. how stuff works?” Getstuff.com. 28 Sept, 2009
Guither, Pete. “Why Marijuana is illegal” Drug WarRant.com. 2009. 27 September 2009
H.R.5842 – Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act. 110th Congress 2007-2008. 28 Sept. 28, 2009
Kane, Robert. “Countries Where Marijuana is Legal (almost)” Articles Base. 08 Oct. 2008. 28 Sept. 2009
MMP. Marijuana Policy Project. “Widespread Support for Medical Marijuana Throughout the Country”. Marijuana Policy Project Report. (No Date) 27 September, 2009 http://www.mpp.org/library/widespread-support-for-medicalmarijuana-throughout-the- country.html
Mathre, Mary Lynn. “The Medicinal Use of Marijuana.” The Wo/Men's Alliance for Medical Marijuana, Perspectives on Addictions Nursing Vol. 4, No. 2 pages 8-9 June 1993. 27 Sept. 2009
St. Pierre, Allen, “Marijuana Arrests For Year 2006 – 829,625 Tops Record High…Nearly 6 Percent Increase Over 2005”. NORML 27 Sept, 2007. 28 Sept, 2009
Skunked. Co. “Medicinal Marijuana.” Medical Applications of Cannabinoids. Skunked Co. uk. 2002. 27 Sept. 2009