Legalization of Marijuana is Necessary

4450 Words18 Pages
Marijuana has been unfairly villainized and prohibited in America. Legalization offers a practical, effective, and humane approach to dealing with marijuana use. In the following pages I will point out the inconsistency and hypocrisy of America’s marijuana laws, some of the problems with our current methods for controlling illegal drug use, and some of the possible advantages of legalization. It is unclear exactly why the recreational use of marijuana became of such concern to some people in the first place, but much of the information published and testimony made to Congress on the subject in the 1930’s was simply ludicrous. A 1936 article from the American Journal of Nursing claimed that a marijuana smoker “will suddenly turn with murderous violence upon whomever is nearest to him” (Bring Drugs 13). In 1937, Harry Anslinger, then head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (now the Drug Enforcement Agency) testified before Congress that “Marijuana is the most violence causing drug in the history of mankind,” and that “Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos, and entertainers. Their Satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes” (Bouril 4). Some theorize that anxiety over the decline in size and power of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics after the 1933 repeal of Alcohol Prohibition is what caused Anslinger to push so hard for the prohibition of marijuana (4). The preposterous lies told about the effects of marijuana usage by people like Anslinger has led others to believe that there was a hidden agenda behind the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 - to eliminate hemp. In 1916 the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced, in Bulletin No. 404, that one acre of hemp would produce as much pulp as four acres of trees, and that if a machine for stripping hemp were developed it would be unnecessary to cut down forest to make paper (Bock 3). Shortly before the passage of the Act, state of the art stripping and pulping machines were available and a few were in use. An article written for Popular Mechanics entitled “New Billion-Dollar Crop” discussed how this new technology would make hemp “the most profitable and desirable crop that can be grown” (Bouril 5). Unfortunately, the article was not published until February of 1938 - a day late and a dollar short. There is considerable evidence that the
Open Document