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America’s Love for Marijuana Essay

In this paper I will be analyzing the various aspects of American culture in terms of drug use and abuse particularly marijuana, such as legislation, the media’s relationship to drug use, drug use and advertising. I have chosen to discuss the time period spanning from 1950-2000. According to the research, marijuana is the most used drug in the U.S. besides tobacco. Marijuana gives people the feeling they like and want but when it is used too much they have to use more of it to get the high in which they desire. It affects your brain by making the THC disrupt the nerve cells in the part of the brain where memories are formed. This makes it harder for the user to recall events and makes it harder to learn. Marijuana is addictive to some people. About 100,000 people seek treatment for marijuana use each year. Marijuana is usually smoked as a cigarette (called a joint or a nail) or in a pipe or a bong. Teens are the reason that drugs are a problem in the U.S. about one in six 10th graders report that they are current marijuana users. Fewer than one in five high school seniors are current users.

Some people who use this drug feel nothing but some feel relaxed and high. After smoking it users may get a sudden quenching for a drink and get very hungry. This is called the munchies. Short Term effects of marijuana include memory problems and learning problems, distorted perception, trouble when thinking and problem solving, loss of coordination, increased heart rate, anxiety, and panic attacks. THC can damage cell tissues in you immune system causing users to be more open to diseases. To be able to tell if someone is high they may be dizzy and have trouble walking, be silly and giggly for no reason, bloodshot eyes and have a hard time remembering things. These effects usually end in a few hours and the user gets very sleepy. According to a survey published in 2009 by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), there were 16.7 million Americans (or 6.6%) who used Marijuana in the past month.

7. The speed at which Marijuana leaves your body depends on several factors including the speed of your metabolism, the potency of the THC, and the amount of Marijuana you smoke. Most commonly, traces of Marijuana can stay in your saliva for up to 3 days, urine for up to 30 days, and your hair for up to 90 days. There are over 200 slang terms for Marijuana in the popular vernacular. Some of more popular names include: Pot, herb, weed, grass, widow, boom, ganja, hash, Mary Jane, Cannabis, bubble gum, northern lights, fruity juice, gangster, skunk and chronic. Marijuana can impair driving motor skills. The drug significantly affects judgment and concentration. It also affects perception and slower eye adjustment to change in light. MAJOR EVENTS AND REFORMS REGARDING DRUG POLICIES 1950-2000

July 18, 1956 – Narcotics Control Act of 1956: The acts made a first time cannabis possession offense a minimum of two to ten years with a fine up to $20,000; however, in 1970, the United States Congress repealed mandatory penalties for cannabis offenses. 1961 – Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs: The principal objectives of the Convention are to limit the possession, use, trade in, distribution, import, export, manufacture and production of drugs exclusively to medical and scientific purposes and to address drug trafficking through international cooperation to deter and discourage drug traffickers. 1968 – Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs formed (BNDD): The BNDD was a predecessor agency of the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). It was formed as a subsidiary of the United States Department of Justice, combining the Bureau of Narcotics (from the United States Department of the Treasury) and Bureau of Drug Abuse Control (from the United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare’s Food and Drug Administration) into one agency.

By 1971 the BNDD was composed of 1,500 agents and had a budget of some $43 million (which was more than fourteen times the size of the budget of the former Bureau of Narcotics) 1970 – Controlled Substances Act: Law enacted that regulates the prescribing and dispensing of psychoactive drugs, including stimulants, depressants, and hallucinogens. The act lists five categories of restricted drugs, organized by their medical acceptance, abuse potential, and ability to produce dependence. The law classified cannabis as having high potential for abuse, no medical use, and not safe to use under medical supervision. 1973 – Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is formed: The DEA is tasked with combating drug smuggling and use within the U.S. Not only is the DEA the lead agency for domestic enforcement of the drug policy of the United States (sharing concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation), it also has sole responsibility for coordinating and pursuing U.S. drug investigations abroad. November 5, 1996 – California Proposition 215, also known as the Compassionate Use Act of 1996, was passed.

Act in California legalized the medicinal use of marijuana. May 14, 2001 – United States v. Oakland Cannabis Buyers’ Coop: United States Supreme Court ruled that federal anti-drug laws do not permit an exception for medical cannabis and rejected the common-law medical necessity defense to crimes enacted under the Controlled Substances Act because Congress concluded cannabis has “no currently accepted medical use” when the act was passed in 1970. 2005 – Gonzales v. Raich (previously Ashcroft v. Raich), 545 U.S. 1: United States Supreme Court ruled that the Commerce Clause of the United States Constitution allowed the federal government to ban the use of cannabis, including medical use. The court found the federal law valid, although the cannabis in question had been grown and consumed within a single state, and had never entered interstate commerce. Congress may ban the use of cannabis even where states approve its use for medicinal purposes.

MARIJUANA AS MEDIA’S DARLING

The Chicago City Council approved a measure on Wednesday that would allow police officers to ticket people found with small amounts of marijuana instead of arresting them. Members voted 43 to 3 in favor of the ordinance, under which anyone possessing 15 grams of marijuana faces a fine of $250 to $500. Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy support the measure, and a marked jump in Chicago’s homicide rate this year may have given the proposal more steam. Several aldermen said the new law would allow the police to spend more time on street patrols and less on processing people for the minor offense of possessing small amounts of marijuana. Alderman Danny Solis, who sponsored the measure, estimated the city would receive $7 million a year in revenue. Commissioner Raymond Kelly of the New York Police Department issued a memorandum in September ordering officers to follow a 1977 state law that bars them from arresting people with small amounts of marijuana, unless the drug is publicly displayed. Yet a lawsuit filed in state court in late June charges that the police were still arresting people illegally in clear violation of both the law and the memo as recently as May.

State data show that the number of marijuana arrests declined in the months after the directive was issued but began climbing again this spring. The Legislature passed the 1977 decriminalization law to allow prosecutors to focus on serious crime and to stop police from jailing young people for tiny amounts of marijuana. It made possession of 25 grams or less of marijuana a violation punishable by a $100 fine for the first offense. To discourage public smoking of the drug, lawmakers made public display a misdemeanor punishable by up to three months in jail and a $500 fine. The number of arrests in the city for minor possession declined after the law was passed but shot up from less than 1,000 in 1990 to 50,000 in 2011. And, of the nearly 12,000 16-to-19-year-olds arrested last year, almost 94 percent had no prior convictions and nearly half had never before been arrested. More than 80 percent of those arrested were black and Hispanic young people.

EXPENSIVE DRUG WAR “LET’S LEGALIZE MARIJUANA”

A few claims that by legalizing Marijuana mean we can treat the problem of drug abuse as a medical problem not a criminal one. It is estimated that the United States government spends $10 billion dollars a year in its attempts to keep Marijuana off the street, while the State of California has revenue of 14 billion annually for the production of its legalized medicinal Marijuana. If Marijuana is legalized The U.S. can tax the revenues and will have additional fund that can be used for awareness of the drugs affects and treatment. During the prohibition of alcohol during the 1920’s the Mafia could produce alcohol and had a considerable control over others who wanted it. The role that the Mafia played in the 1920’s has transformed into the corner drug dealers and drug cartel of the 1990’s. Legalization will result in a decrease in deaths and violence due to the unregulated black-market trade or Marijuana. 1 out of 6 people in jail are in for non-violent drug offenses.

Prisons are overcrowded and it is very costly to keep people in prison. Legalizing Marijuana would make room for more violent offenders. Marijuana is not more dangerous than alcohol Unlike Alcohol and prescription drugs; Marijuana is not lethal by overdosing. A study in 2009 by U.S. Department of Health and Human Studies published that 69.7 million Americans are current users of tobacco products, 15 million Americans abuse alcohol, and only 4.2 million Americans abuse Marijuana. Everyday 1,000 people die from smoking related illnesses, 550 die from alcohol related accidents and diseases, and less than 20 die of drug related causes. Legalization may not cause a spike in use as critics acclaim. American adolescents use Marijuana twice as much as their counter parts in Holland where Marijuana is legal.

IMMEDIATE/PREGNENCY AND LONG TERM EFFECTS OF MARIJUANA

Immediate Effects of Marijuana: The immediate effect of marijuana includes loss of restlessness, excitement, hallucinations, paranoia, psychotic episodes, impaired coordination, impaired motor ability, mood swing, and increased appetite impaired ability. Long Term Effects of Marijuana: It includes the loss of brain cells, lung cancer, chronic bronchitis, energy loss, slow confused thinking apathy and blood vessel blockage. Use by adolescents can disrupt emotional development, delay puberty, and can delay the monthly cycle in females. Marijuana may produce a mild physical dependence that causes minor withdrawal symptoms when discontinued, including nausea, insomnia, irritability, and anxiety. Physical effects of marijuana include diarrhea, cramps, weight loss or gain, impaired sex drive, and it is a gateway drug.

Marijuana can be a gateway drug, which means it can lead to the use of many other harmful drugs–Children ages 12-17 are 85 times more likely to use cocaine Marijuana has also been linked with teen violence, suicide, crime, and unsafe sex-HIV transmission. Legalization of marijuana would not cut down on all crime; alcohol still causes family disputes, rape, robbery, reckless driving, and murder. Effects during Pregnancy: Research has shown that babies born to women who used marijuana during their pregnancies display altered responses to visual stimuli and increased tremulousness which may indicate problems with neurological development.

Marijuana exposed children have also been found to have more behavioral problems and to perform tasks of visual perception, language comprehension, sustained attention, and memory poorly. In school, these children are more likely to exhibit deficits in decision-making skills, memory, and the ability to remain attentive. Drugs are a major debate it the world we live in today. Drugs are gaining more and more attention. More and more people are using drugs than ever before and there is no decrease in the amount of drug users. One of the most commonly used drugs is marijuana. In today’s world marijuana is growing and is looking to be legalized in California for medical uses only but that will lead to many other problems in the near future.

MEDICINAL USE OF MARIJUANA

A big issue being raised in California is the legalization of marijuana for medical purposes only. The old laws would still be in effect. If you were found using it you would have to have your medical doctor’s prescription for it to get free from jail or a fine. Still, a cop could bust you for growing it and cuff you because they don’t know that your doctor prescribed it for you. This law is a state law and is called Proposition 215. This law has been turned down for the last two years. This year all the old laws that have been turned down have been put together to make a great law. This law actually passed November 5, 1996. Marijuana aids in the treatment of cancer, anorexia, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, migraine, or any other illness for which marijuana provides relief.

The American Cancer society says NO to marijuana because it is not a substitute for appropriate anti-nausea drugs for cancer chemotherapy and vomiting. We see no reason to support the legalization of marijuana for medical use. Smoking marijuana is also not approved by the FDA for any illness. These corporations both say that they what a different drug to do the same thing but developing it will take an estimated 4 billion dollars. People what to know why some other drugs can be used like morphine but marijuana can’t. In conclusion, I strongly oppose the illegal use of marijuana and I believe that it’s wrong to smoke it or use it in any way, shape, or form. We only have one body and we should make the most of it and not mess it up by infesting our bodies with impurities that will affect us as we aged.

To me doing any kind of drugs is criminal and a waste of time. I want to live my life without any worries of medical problems. Any kind of drug that is illegal is bad for your health but if recommended by a doctor does it make them any better. Drugs will always be around in my opinion. The government can’t demolish drugs or marijuana but they can try to educate children while they are younger to tell them that drugs are bad and should not be taken. With the passing of this law marijuana will become legal in California. Other states can adopt this law if they would like. Education is the key to the end of drugs and the beginning of a new era. Just say NO.

RESOURCES
Lynskey, M. T. (2003). “Escalation of Drug Use in Early-Onset Cannabis Users vs Co-twin Controls”. JAMA: the Journal of the American Medical Association 289 (4): 427–33. DOI:10.1001/jama.289.4.427. Lay summary – National Institute on Drug Abuse (November 2003). Lynskey, Michael T.; Vink, Jacqueline M.; Boomsma, Dorret I. (2006). “Early Onset Cannabis Use and Progression to other Drug Use in a Sample of Dutch Twins”. Behavior Genetics 36 (2): 195–200. DOI:10.1007/s10519-005-9023-x. PMID 16402286. Degenhardt, Louisa; Coffey, Carolyn; Carlin, John B.; Moran, Paul; Patton, George C. (2007). “Who are the new amphetamine users? A 10-year prospective study of young Australians”. Addiction 102 (8): 1269–79. DOI:10.1111/j.1360-0443.2007.01906.x. PMID 17624977. ABC News Australia: Cannabis linked to use of amphetamines, 2007-07-18 Agrawal, Arpana; Neale, Michael C.; Prescott, Carol A.; Kendler, Kenneth S. (2004). “A twin study of early cannabis use and subsequent use and abuse/dependence of other illicit drugs”. Psychological Medicine 34 (7): 1227–37. DOI:10.1017/S0033291704002545. PMID 15697049. Ellgren, Maria: Neurobiological effects of early life cannabis exposure in relation to the gateway hypothesis. Ellgren, Maria; Spano, Sabrina M; Hurd, Yasmin L (2006). NYPD Organized Crime Control Bureau database manual. (marijuana statistics and current use).


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