Why is cannabis illegal anyways?

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Why is cannabis illegal-


 

Cannabis was outlawed as a medicine as part of the 1970s Controlled Substances Act, which classified it as a Schedule I drug. Schedule I drugs have a high potential for abuse, are not safe to use without medical supervision, and carry no medical value. This classification was a result of propaganda portraying marijuana as a dangerous drug. Until the 1970s, the only marijuana laws in existence were ordering all farmers to grow “Indian hempseed.”

There was no good reason to ban marijuana but there were plenty of bad reasons that were given to the public without proper scientific evidence or truth. First of all, cannabis was classified as a Schedule I drug, portraying it as highly addictive. That means that even if you tried it once, you would become hooked and be a “pothead”, with cannabis dominating your life. Although that is true in some cases, the same thing happens with alcohol, which is perfectly legal.

Being a Schedule I drug also means that it has no accepted medical value. That is not the case at all. Cannabis has been used to cure ailments since ancient times and the same trend continues today. States with medical marijuana treat everything from glaucoma to cancer as new research continues to find new uses for the drug.

The category of Schedule I associates marijuana with drugs that are much more dangerous: opium and its derivatives, including morphine and heroine. These are known as narcotics. Although marijuana is not a narcotic, it has been classified as such since early drug laws went into effect, along with cocaine.

Since then, these classifications have stuck.  Americans have general knowledge of two recreational drugs: “Normal” recreational drugs include alcohol, sugar, and caffeine while “abnormal” recreational drugs have been cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine. Marijuana has always been associated with the second category, which is why it’s known as a “gateway drug,” although it belongs in the first with the likes of alcohol and caffeine.

Marijuana has always portrayed an unfashionable lifestyle. Only hippies and losers were known to partake but that is not the case anymore. Many successful individuals have admitted to indulging in cannabis, including actors, musicians, athletes, politicians, and even the President of the United States!

Cannabis was also used to oppress ethnic groups. In the 1930s, a vast anti-Mexican movement was going on in the United States. Back when there was a predominately Caucasian population, Marijuana was associated with Mexicans to keep Mexican-American subcultures from developing. Thanks to vast use by a variety of ethnic groups during the 1960s and 1970s, that association is no longer made. However, the groundwork for modern day drug laws was set in a time when cannabis was seen as a threat to the U.S. majority culture.

Keeping marijuana banned for a long time is also a very powerful public policy factor. If something is banned for only a short period of time, it seems like the ban was unstable. If you ban if for a long time, the ban usually goes on later as a part of the status quo. People tend to go with whatever society is doing and since marijuana has been banned and inaccessible, society did not question the laws that were made to supposedly protect them.

Take sodomy for example. Laws against same-sex intercourse haven’t been strictly enforced since the 18th century but it was technically legal until Lawrence V. Texas in 2003. The same example can be applied to marijuana. Although it had been used since ancient times, marijuana wasn’t banned until 1970. Soon after, states started to implement laws allowing medical marijuana, starting with California in 1996. Users continued to discreetly use cannabis as they seemed fit because they felt that the laws were unfair and were willing to take the risk.

To those who have never tried the drug, the explanation that advocates give can be very hard to digest. Unless you’ve experienced it firsthand, you don’t believe that it can cure and treat diseases and their symptoms while promoting moral progression, open-mindedness, creativity and a closer relationship with the cosmos or God. The truth sounds hard to believe, especially when users are viewed as criminals who would risk arrest to get high. As society has the tendency to follow the status quo, it is now becoming aware to the true potential and value of cannabis as a medicine, recreational drug, and material.

This article is an excerpt

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8 thoughts on “Why is cannabis illegal anyways?

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