Legalization of Marijuana
By Jonathan Hostettler
Marijuana has only been illegal in the United States for the last 80 years and has been used as far back as 2700 B.C. by the Chinese and by cultures all over the globe throughout most of human existence. In 1545 the Spanish brought marijuana to the New World. The English introduced it in Jamestown in 1611 where it became a major commercial crop alongside tobacco and was grown as a source of fiber (Narconon, 2008). In 1619, America's first marijuana law was enacted at Jamestown Colony, Virginia; "ordering" all farmers to "make tryal of" (grow) Indian hempseed. More mandatory (must-grow) hemp cultivation laws were enacted in Massachusetts in 1631, in Connecticut in 1632 and in the Chesapeake Colonies into the mid-1700s (Herer, 2000). Marijuana should be legalized because, it has many potential uses, it is a waste of our money to continue to enforce the laws and jail the “offenders”, and because it infringes on some of our very basic rights as an American.
Marijuana is a fast-growing bushy annual with dense sticky flowers, produces the psychoactive THC. Marijuana, or cannabis, as it is more appropriately called, has been part of history’s medicine chest for almost as long as history has been recorded. This is probably the worst part of marijuana being illegal, not being able to use it as medicine. Marijuana treats an array of symptoms for many illnesses. Marijuana can help with nausea, pain, glaucoma, nerve disorders, eating disorders, certain anxiety or hyperactivity disorders and many more. Emerging research suggests that marijuana's medicinal properties may protect the body against some types of malignant tumors (National Orginization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, 2008) and are neuroprotective. Marijuana being illegal makes it harder to come up with even more safe and healthier ways of consuming marijuana.
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