Legalization of Marijuana


What Is Marijuana

Marijuana, a drug obtained from dried and crumpled
parts of the ubiquitous hemp plant Canabis sativa (or
Cannabis indica). Smoked by rolling in tobacco paper or
placing in a pipe. It is also otherwise consumed worldwide
by an estimated 200,000,000 persons for pleasure, an escape
from reality, or relaxation. Marijuana is known by a
variety of names such as kif (Morocco), dagga (South
Africa), and bhang (India). Common in the United States,
marijuana is called pot, grass, weed, Mary Jane, bones, etc.
The main active principle of cannabis is
tetrahydrocannabinol. The potency of its various forms
ranges from a weak drink consumed in India to the highly
potent hashish. The following consists of pure cannabis
resin.
Marijuana is not a narcotic and is not mentally or
physically addicting drug. One can use mild cannabis
preparations such as marijuana in small amounts for years
without physical or mental deterioration. Marijuana serves
to diminish inhibitions and acts as an euphoriant. Only
once in a while will it produce actual hallucinations. More
potent preparations of cannabis such as hashish can induce
psychedelic experiences identical to those observed after
ingestion of potent hallucinogens such as LSD.
Some who smoke marijuana feel no effects; others feel
relaxed and sociable, tend to laugh a great deal, and have a
profound loss of the sense of time. Characteristically,
those under the influence of marijuana show incoordination
and impaired ability to perform skilled acts. Still others
experience a wide range of emotions including feelings of
perception, fear, insanity, happiness, love and anger.
Although marijuana is not addicting, it may be habituating.
The individual may become psychologically rather than
physically dependent on the drug.

Legalization Of Marijuana

Those who urge the legalization of marijuana maintain
the drug is entirely safe. The available data suggested,
this is not so, Marijuana occasionally produces acute panic
reactions or even transient psychoses. Furthermore, a
person driving under the influence of marijuana is a danger
to themselves and others. If smoked heavily and a great
deal of consistency, its use has been clearly associated
with mental breakdown. In many persons who smoke
chronically, the drug reinforces passivity and reduces
goal-directed, constructive activity. The chronic use of
pure resin (hashish) has been associated both with mental
deterioration and criminality.
One of the major complications of marijuana use is the
tendency on the part of some users to progress to more
dangerous drugs. Users in economically deprived areas
usually go on to heroin, whereas more affluent individuals
tend to move from marijuana to more potent hallucinogens
such as LSD.
There is no established medical use for marijuana or
any other cannabis preparation. In the United States, its
use is a crime and the laws governing marijuana are similar
to those regulating heroin. Many authorities now urge that
the laws be modified to mitigate the penalties relating to
conviction on marijuana possession charges.

The Case For Legalizing Marijuana Use

The United States stands apart from many nations in its
deep respect for the individual. The strong belief in
personal freedom appears early in the nation\'s history.
The Declaration of Independence speaks of every
citizen\'s right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness." The Constitution and Bill of Rights go further,
making specific guarantees. They forbid the government to
make unwarranted entry into dwelling places. They forbid
seizure of personal property, except when very clear reasons
are approved by the courts. They allow every citizen to
remain silent in court when accused of a crime. Legal
decisions have extended these rights, so that every citizen
may feel safe, secure, and sheltered from public view in the
privacy of his or her home.

The Right To Privacy

In recent years, Americans have referred to privacy as
one of the basic human rights, something to be claimed by
anyone, anywhere. United States citizens feel strongly
about this and often tell other countries that they must
honor their people\'s claims to privacy and personal freedom.
Foreign leaders often disagree. They resent what they deem
arrogant meddling by the United States. Leaders of the
Soviet Union, for example, regard individual privacy as
trivial when compared to the needs of the state.
If the United States is to be persuasive in promoting
freedom in other parts of the world, it must respect the
privacy of its own citizens. Sometimes it is hard to do
this because what goes on in people\'s private lives may seem
offensive. But, according to U.S. traditions, there is a
strong case to be made against legislating the private
behavior of adults, so long as that behavior does not in
turn violate the rights of others.
Some people feel that this reasoning should hold also
for marijuana. A person who smokes at home