History of Marijuana Legalization

Marijuana legalization is a very popular issue nowadays. Nearly every newspaper and any other kind of media touches upon this question frequently. The Internet is overloaded with articles dedicated to marijuana, its effects and its legalization. The question of legalization is so popular today that there is hardly one person in the world who hasn’t heard about it. Moreover, this issue has attracted attention of those people who have never tried the drug. Obviously, marijuana legalization is a very controversial topic. No wonder it is interesting to get to know more about.

It is not a secret that marijuana has always been used for different purposes. People have used it for making ropes and clothes for thousands of years. This plant was also used for making fuel and heating. No one new about its narcotic effects in Europe. This drug became famous during the period of colonization. Many tribes in Asia and Oceania smoked the plant as they did tobacco. As a result, cannabis gained popularity all over the world. At first, no one paid attention to the harmful effects of drugs in general. Scientists began to study the harmful effects of drugs on human health at the beginning of the 19th century. Since the first half of the 20th century, marijuana has become illegal in many countries.

Everybody knows that marijuana was widely used in medicine during the 19th century. Even American presidents grew marijuana and used the plant for such purposes. Marijuana only became illegal in the U.S. during the first half of the 20th century (read more here). European countries banned this plant much earlier. The beginning of the 20th century is characterized with intensive anti-marijuana propaganda. The experts of that time claimed that marijuana was poisonous, which caused anti-marijuana laws to be passed in American states one after the other.

The Uniform State Narcotic Act of 1925 was the first law that actually banned the trafficking and use of different drugs throughout the entire country. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 made it impossible to grow, possess and transfer marijuana legally. Even medical marijuana was banned. Anti-marijuana propaganda was based on the belief that cannabis caused crimes and created madness. In 1950s, the government suggested a strict penalty for possession of cannabis, where someone could receive up to 2 years of imprisonment and a fine of $20,000.

In the 1970s, the Marijuana Tax Act was said to be unconstitutional, and since that time, there has been gradual liberalization. Some states allowed the possession of small amounts of cannabis. When one was caught with more than an ounce of marijuana, there was a fine of $100. As you see, the attitude towards this drug became softer.

There have been many attempts to decriminalize marijuana. The most common argument is the use of marijuana in medicine. Doctors have proved that marijuana helps people cope with glaucoma and serious diseases. People who suffer from cancer or AIDS could reduce their pain with the help of cannabis. Consequently, people decided to struggle for the legalization of medical marijuana. The year 2012 was one that as associated with the beginning of the legalization of cannabis. Colorado and Washington were the first states that legalized cannabis for medicinal purposes, while Alaska and Oregon legalized the drug for recreational use in 2014. Nevertheless, this drug still cannot be used for commercial sales.

Marijuana legalization is a very delicate issue. Many politicians use this problem for the improvement of their reputation. They say that their party will do its best to legalize cannabis, but very often, they forget about their words after elections end. Marijuana legalization depends on activists and individuals who devote effort and time to a solution.

[This essay is written by one of academic experts from Essay Lib, a writing agency whose goal is to help college students write papers.]

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Author: HMJ Staff


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