1. What have been the central justifications in the history of the “war on marijuana” in the last century (especially since the war on drugs started about 40 years ago)? The war on marijuana has been going on for a long time now. There have been several justifications that have been offered for the war on marijuana throughout history. One of these is that there is desire to keep America American. The culture of smoking marijuana was introduced into US by Mexican immigrants.
This made the use of marijuana to be associated with Mexicans and since at that time there was racial discrimination in US, the government enacted a law prohibiting its use (Shohov, 2003). The government did this for fear of spread of what was called the Mexican crazy drug (Shohov, 2003). Another justification is that marijuana produces criminality and insanity in its users. The US government carried out research during the great depression which linked violence and crime to the use of marijuana and this made 29 states to outlaw marijuana (Shohov, 2003).
Another thing is that marijuana use was believed to be the stepping stone to the use of heroine. In 1951 this was the sole basis for prohibition of marijuana in US (Shohov, 2003). 2. What are some current policies of the US government toward marijuana, and what have been the consequences of this policy, e. g. regarding the number of arrests and criminal convictions. The use, possession or cultivation of marijuana for whatever purpose was prohibited in 1937 following the enactment of the Marihuana Tax Act (Shohov, 2003).
However, for some time now there have been calls for review of the marijuana prohibition policy and this has seen some of the states legalize the use of marijuana especially for medical use. However, since the federal law is superior to state law it rules and thus it is still somehow illegal to possess or use marijuana and when one is caught he or she risks being fined or being imprisoned (Earleywine, 2007). According to federal laws possession of any amount of marijuana is punishable by law.
This policy has greatly increased the number of arrests for marijuana since even those who are caught in possession of marijuana for medicinal use are arrested and charged in a court of law (Earleywine, 2007). For sometime now, the number of marijuana arrests has been increasing with arrests for marijuana forming almost half of the total number of arrests for drug use (Earleywine, 2007). Consequently, this has increased the number of people being annually imprisoned in the United States. 3.
What other impacts has the “war on marijuana” had on the use of the drug and users (Here you can focus on issues such as drug searches in schools, drug testing in workplaces, and the use of “medical marijuana” The war on marijuana has done more harm than good. The war which has prohibited the use of marijuana has made it hard for people to access treatment using marijuana. This is because the prohibition policy criminalizes prescription of marijuana by doctors yet marijuana has been shown to be useful medically (Gerber, 2004).
Another thing is that the war on marijuana has created an underground market from which drug users can buy the drugs. This has constantly put the users at risk of buying substandard marijuana that can harm their health (Gerber, 2004). What alternatives to the current war on marijuana have been proposed? Give specific examples. What is your opinion here? The war on marijuana currently focuses on prohibition and this has been met with a lot of criticism where it has been said to cause more harm than good.
Following this several strategies have been proposed as alternatives to the current war on drugs. Drug Policy Alliance (DPA) which is an organization against the current war on drugs says that the people who are spearheading the war on marijuana should focus on harm reduction where they should seek to lower the harm caused by marijuana while at the same time maximizing the potential benefits of marijuana since marijuana has been proven to be useful medically (Drug Policy Alliance [DPA], 2010).
The DPA also proposes designing of policies to legalize and regulate the use of marijuana instead of prohibiting its use so that the sick will be able to access and possess marijuana for treatment without being treated like criminals (DPA, 2010). I think these are good alternatives since there is no need to criminalize use of marijuana and deny patients their right to treatment. The right approach would be to legalize it and then seek to regulate its use so that illegal use is controlled without infringing on the rights of others.
References Drug Policy Alliance. (2010). Reducing harm: Treatment and beyond. Retrieved 15 August, 2010 from http://www. drugpolicy. org/reducingharm/ Earleywine, M. (2007). Marijuana and the costs of production. New York, NY: Oxford Press. Gerber, R. J. (2004). Legalizing marijuana: Drug policy reform and prohibition politics. Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing group. Shohov, T. (2003). Medical use of marijuana: Policy, regulatory, and legal issues. New York, NY: Nova Publishers