Marijuana

Cannabis Sativa (marijuana) has been thought to
be an illegal and very harmful drug for many years. But as
you read this report you will learn that marijuana has been
around for many years (most years legal) and isn’t as
harmful as some people may think. Marijuana has been
used for many things in the past, including medicine, hemp
rope, crude cloth and enjoyment. Now it is mainly used as
a narcotic. Marijuana is an illegal weed that grows up to
eighteen feet tall with little or no cultivation. The plant has
many branches that extend with large, hairy, pointed leaves
with saw tooth edges. Marijuana grows wild all over the
world and in some states and countries it’s legal. Cloth and
rope are made from the stem which contains a tough fiber
called “hence.” The mind-altering drug in marijuana is called
“Delta-9-Tetrahydrocannibinol,” or THC. The mildest form
of marijuana contains between zero to three percent of
THC. Most of the THC is contained in the resign, which is
secreted around the flowers, seeds, and topmast leaves.

Until recently it was thought that only the female plant
contained the drug. But it is now known that both the
female and the male plants contain THC. THC stays in the
body for about 28 days. Marijuana can be prepared many
different ways therefore it has many different ways of
entering the body. When smoked the THC goes into the
lungs, directly into the bloodstream and to every cell in your
body. The effects depend upon the level of potency and
how much is consumed. The main effects of smoking are:
the heart rate may increase from 80 beats to 150 beats a
minute, the bronchial tubes enlarge and become relaxed
allowing extra oxygen to enter the body, giving a “High” like
feeling. There are no immediate physiological effects. The
feeling usually lasts from one to three hours. Marijuana can
also be ingested as a drink, cakes, brownies or many other
foods. When consumed in foods the effects start after one
half-hour and last from three to four hours. The potency of
Marijuana has increased at least ten times or 275% since
the 1960’s. Marijuana can be measured by it’s “therapeutic
ratio,” (the difference between the size of the dose needed
for the desired effect and the! size that produces
poisoning). The therapeutic ratio in marijuana has yet to be
found. The negative long term effects of heavy marijuana
use are, possible lung cancer, heart attacks in juveniles,
strokes in people under forty, and it depletes the brain of
serotonin and the user may lose his sense of well being or
may become depressed. The user may lose his short-term
memory, but after a week of not using it is usually regained.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

“High Times Magazine.” Marijuana contains about 400
chemicals that break down into 2000 or more. One joint
contains as much tar as fourteen cigarettes. “Human
Relations Media” The traditional medications used to treat
AIDS sufferers cause a wide range of side effects. Virtually
the only medicine capable of treating the entire spectrum of
side effects without causing harm to the user is marijuana.

There are now 30 diseases listed under the condition
known as Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome, AIDS.

Most AIDS sufferers will contract several of these 30
during the course of their illness before finally succumbing
to one of them. The traditional medications used in both
their treatment and as prophylaxis–or prevention–cause a
wide range of side effects, including loss of appetite,
nausea, headaches, depression, pain, disorientation and
fevers. Virtually the only medicine capable of treating the
entire spectrum of side effects without causing harm to the
user is marijuana. Naturally, it remains illegal. Provided by
the “High Times” website. Marijuana is one of the oldest
and widely used drugs in the world. It is the second most
popular intoxicant, next to alcohol. There are two hundred
million users in the country, and sixty million say that they
have tried it. Only 40% of high school students graduated
in 1995 without ever trying it. Approximately 33% of
people who try it become regular users within three to five
years. Smugglers traveling to the U.S.A. from Columbia,
Jamaica, and Mexico bring in five billion dollars worth each
year. Recently a large ship was spotted off of the U.S.

coast unloading thirty-three tons of marijuana onto
American soil. There have been over 9 million arrests for
marijuana-law violations in the United States since 1965,
with another arrest every 2 minutes. Over 80% of these
arrests are for possession for personal consumption,
according to the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reports. Many of
the 20% that are labeled “sale/manufacturing” in the FBI’s
report actually involve cultivation for personal use or
possession of an amount large enough (usually over an
ounce) that the police infer possession with “intent” to
distribute, even though it might actually have been for
personal consumption. But in Singapore and Malaysia it’s
another story. There, the death penalty is handed out to
anyone in possession of drugs. In twenty years two
hundred and fifty people have been hung for possession.

Marijuana can be used for more than just the illegal use of
getting high. As you have read, it helps in medicine and the
stem can be used to make clothes or rope. Marijuana is
one of the mildest drugs out there and the one of the only
drugs that serves another purpose besides a “trip” or a
“high”.

Marijuana

.. stimulate appetite. In asthma patients, several studies have shown that THC acts as a bronchodilator and reserves bronchial constriction (Rosenthal 68). In treating epilepsy, marijuana is used to prevent both grande mal and other epileptic seizures in some patients. Marijuana also limits the muscle pain and spasticity caused by multiple sclerosis and it relieves tremor and unsteady gait.

Lastly, marijuana has been clinically shown to be effective in relieving muscle spasm and spasticity (Rosenthal 69). History of Marijuana Laws The hemp plant was once a widely cultivated plant in the New World by settlers. It has been known for centuries that the fiber from the hemp plant is very useful in making ropes. Therefore the cultivation of the hemp plant was encouraged and much needed. The first law concerning the hemp plant was passed in 1619 by the Virginia Assembly, urging farmers to grow the crop for its fiber. There was virtually no significant legislation passed concerning the hemp plant until the 1900’s.

We Will Write a Custom Essay Specifically
For You For Only $13.90/page!


order now

It was at this time when American attitudes towards Mexicans became hostile. Marijuana obtained a foul reputation when Mexican peasants crossed the border into Texas. It was widely used by Mexican peasants as an intoxicant. The Texas police claimed that marijuana caused these Mexican settlers to commit violent crimes. Therefore in 1914, the first ban on possession of marijuana was passed in El Paso, Texas (Potter 97).

Many other states followed Texas, and in 1937, Congress passed the Marijuana Tax Act. This law made the possession of marijuana illegal anywhere in the United States. During the McCarthy era, the Boggs Acts were passed to define mandatory minimums for the possession of marijuana. Congress moved to an even stronger position in 1956 by lengthening these mandatory minimum sentences. Anti-marijuana feelings continued to grow, and state laws often imposed stricter penalties than the federal penalties (Potter 98).

In the 1960’s, however, a strange phenomenon began to occur. For the first time in history, marijuana use began to rise amongst the white middle class. Many mandatory sentences were called to be repealed. This was seen in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970. Most of the states followed the federal government, and the possession of marijuana was decriminalized.

However in the 1980’s the government once again changed its mind, with the passage of the Anti-Abuse Act of 1986, which once again imposed mandatory minimum sentences for a wide range of drug offenses (Potter 101). The last major piece of legislation passed by the federal government (not state governments) was in 1996, which stated that any American convicted of a marijuana felony may no longer receive federal welfare or food stamps (Potter 101). How a Bill Becomes a Law The ultimate goal for a special interest group would be to have a law passed by the federal government either legalizing marijuana, or keeping marijuana illegal. A bill or proposal for a law can originate in either the Senate or the House of Representatives of the United States Congress. Both houses must pass the law in its exact form, and then the president must sign it. If a group wants marijuana to be legalized on the federal level, it must contact a specific committee within the House or Senate.

The proposal would go to a highly specialized sub-committee within the committee itself for hearings, revisions, and approval. Next the bill would again go back to the original committee for any further revisions. If the whole committee approves the bill, then it goes before the Rules committee. This is the committee that is responsible for setting actions for a debate. After the debate, if the bill is approved, then it is submitted to the Senate.

In the Senate, similar proceedings would occur and leadership would schedule action and the bill would be debated. If the Senate approves it, any differences are worked out by conference with the House. The final version of the bill would finally go back to both the Senate and the House for approval. Then it will go to the President who may either opt to sign the bill or veto it. If the bill is signed, it becomes a law, and it is enforced throughout the nation.

If the President vetoes the bill, Congress may override the veto with a two-thirds majority in each house. This would then turn the bill into a law. Advocates for Legalization (Interview with Charles Garner) A major advocate for the legalization of marijuana is the Drug Policy Foundation (DPF). It is an independent, non-profit organization with over 23,000 supporters that publicizes alternatives to current drug strategies. The current annual budget for DPF is just over $3 million.

DPF believes that the current policy on drugs is not working: It erodes individual rights, is extremely expensive, creates a new class of criminals, subsidizes a violent black market, does not control drug use trends, and ignores the health aspect of drug use. The major objectives of DPF are: Harm reduction: policies that help drug users to help themselves, such as needle exchange programs, which can lower the risk of spreading deadly diseases like HIV/AIDS. Decriminalization: selectively enforcing the laws on the books to focus on major drug offenders, as in Holland. Medicalization: allowing doctors to prescribe otherwise illegal drugs to patients under certain conditions, as is the case now in Arizona and California, and also allowing doctors to maintain an addict as in Great Britain and Switzerland. Legalization: making drugs available to adults in a regulated market, similar to U.S. alcohol laws.

DPF tries to propose its solutions by means of: Public education: promoting alternatives to the drug war in its publications and by providing information to the public, the media, and government officials. Conferences: DPF hosts an annual conference for the public, policy-makers, public health workers, and medical and legal professionals. This ranges from media seminars to special interest group training sessions. Public Policy: Through its Public Policy Office, DPF seeks to change America’s drug laws by monitoring and analyzing Congressional legislation, informing the public and DPF membership about legislation through Action Alerts and the monthly newsletter on legislation. Grants: to fund a variety of programs and projects in the field of drug policy. Examples include needle exchange programs, pioneering drug treatment services, as well as some research and advocacy projects.

Advocates Against Legalization (Interview with Jeffery Kluger) Drug Watch International (DWI) is a volunteer, non-profit information network and advocacy organization, which promotes the creation of healthy drug-free cultures in the world, and it opposes the legalization of drugs. It has about 13,000 members in 15 countries worldwide with a budget of $1.3 million annually. The organization upholds a comprehensive approach to drug issues involving prevention, education, intervention/treatment, and law enforcement/interdiction. In its mission statement, DWI writes: The illegal or harmful use of psychoactive or addictive drugs is a major threat to all world communities and future generations. The mission of DWI is to provide accurate information on both illicit and harmful psychoactive substances, promoting sound drug policies based on scientific research, and opposing efforts to legalize or decriminalize drugs.

The major methods used by DWI are: Support clear messages and standards of no illegal use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs, and no abuse of legal drugs or substances for adults or youth. Support comprehensive and coordinated approaches that include prevention, education, law enforcement, and treatment in addressing issues regarding alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs. Support strong laws and meaningful legal penalties that hold users and dealers accountable for their actions. Support international treaties and agreements, including international sanctions and penalties against drug trafficking, and oppose attempts to weaken international drug policies and laws. Support adherence to scientific research standards and ethics that are prescribed by the world scientific community and professional associations in conducting studies and review on alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.

Support efforts to prevent availability and use of drugs, and oppose policies and programs that accept drug use based erroneously on reduction or minimization of harm. BIBLIOGRAPHY Abel, I. L. Marihuana : The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York : McGraw Hill, 1982.

Garner, Charles. Personal Interview. May 21, 1998. Kluger, Jeffery. Personal Interview. May 16, 1998. Nahas, Gabriel G.

Marihuana, Biological Effects. Illionois : Univeristy of Illinois Press, 1986. Potter, Beverly. The Healing Magic of Cannabis. California : Ronin Publishings, Inc., 1998.

Randall, Robert C. The Patients Fight for Medicinal Pot. New York : Thunders Mouth Press, 1998. Roffman, Roger A. Marijuana as Medicine.

Washington : Madrona Publishers, Inc., 1982. Rosenthal, Ed. Why Marijuana Should Be Legal. New York : Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1996. Bibliography Abel, I. L.

Marihuana : The First Twelve Thousand Years. New York : McGraw Hill, 1982. Garner, Charles. Personal Interview. May 21, 1998.

Kluger, Jeffery. Personal Interview. May 16, 1998. Nahas, Gabriel G. Marihuana, Biological Effects.

Illionois : Univeristy of Illinois Press, 1986. Potter, Beverly. The Healing Magic of Cannabis. California : Ronin Publishings, Inc., 1998. Randall, Robert C.

The Patients Fight for Medicinal Pot. New York : Thunders Mouth Press, 1998. Roffman, Roger A. Marijuana as Medicine. Washington : Madrona Publishers, Inc., 1982. Rosenthal, Ed. Why Marijuana Should Be Legal.

New York : Thunder’s Mouth Press, 1996. Legal Issues.

x

Hi!
I'm Jacqueline!

Would you like to get a custom essay? How about receiving a customized one?

Check it out