How the possession of marijuana became illegal in the United States
The The history of marijuana use in America dates back in the 1700s. For a long time before the 19th century, marijuana had been used comfortably in the US. Its use, however, was not for recreational purposes but rather for the production of different goods and medical use. The Mexican revolution played a huge role in publicizing marijuana in the US due to the increase in immigrants and their use of this drug for medicinal purposes as well as a relaxant. They called the drug “marihuana” whereas the Americans knew it as “cannabis.” Americans did not like the immigrants, and they demonized them. Since the drug was associated with them, they demonized it too not knowing that it was the same cannabis that they had been initially using. The increased use of the drug as a relaxing agent is what led to its illegalization (Burnett &Reiman, 2014).
A series of research was done on the drug, and it was found to make people become violent, sexually active as well as unruly in the society. This created some pressure on how the different states should regulate the drug in a bid to curb the adverse effects. This research led to the outlawing of marijuana use, and as a result, 29 states banned its use. This led to a law that criminalized the product. The law was known as the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. The possession and sale of the drug was essentially banned from then on. In 1970’s however, this law was rendered unconstitutional. In its place came the Controlled Substances Act (Burnett & Reiman, 2014).
States that have made it legal for marijuana to be use for recreational use
Currently, seven states; Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Maine have legalized marijuana to be used recreational purposes. Maine is one of the states in America that has legalized the use of marijuana. Mainers are allowed to use only 2.5 ounces of marijuana at any given time. This value is more than double when compared to marijuana provisions in others states (Robinson, 2017). This provision allows for the possession and use of the 2.5 ounces by anyone who is above 21 years of age. However, marijuana users should not use the drug in a public place but rather in private. Maine also allows for the growing of cannabis privately in a garden for a maximum of 6 plants that are flowering and 12 mature ones (Deitchler & Caterine, 2017).
States that have legalized marijuana for medicinal use
On the other hand, twenty states; New Mexico, Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas, Illinois, Minnesota, North Dakota, Montana, Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey, Delaware, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New Hampshire and Vermont have made marijuana legal on the condition that it should be used for medication. In the state of Colorado, for instance, marijuana legalization was based on promoting the health, safety, and well-being of the youths in the state, and on the ability to solve social issues while promoting consumer safety (The State of Colorado, 2013). This assertion is contained in the task force report that was made to ensure amendment 64 is implemented.
Federal constitutional principles that are arguably violated by the application/enforcement of the dual legal status of marijuana
The first principle to be violated is the Constitutional principle of supremacy. According to the Article VI of the Supremacy Clause, the Constitution is assumed to hold the supremacy in regards to all the laws and policies of the land. Any other law including the state laws that are in violation of the Constitution is null and void. In this regard, it should be clear that if any other law whether state law or municipal law violates any provision as envisaged in the Constitution, the Constitution prevails over such law. This is to say all the laws should be adhered to as stipulated in the constitution without any amendments. As such all the state authorities should not amend any laws without engaging the public through a referendum. For this case, if any state just as some of them have resorted to legalizing Marijuana and yet it is prohibited by the Constitution, the other pieces of law are null and void and therefore cannot stand (Mikos, 2009). The second Constitutional Principle that might be violated is the principle of the illegality of Marijuana.
According to the Constitution, Marijuana is illegal and is compared to other hard drugs such as cocaine and heroin. However, other States have legalized Marijuana on the ground that it provides medicinal value which is very important as far as the treatment of people is concerned. All said and done; the Constitution prohibits Marijuana in totality. The last Constitutional Principle to be violated is the principle of preemption. This is in cases where the states are not allowed to legislate those laws that would violate the provisions of the Constitution (Mikos, 2009). This means that if the States are allowed to legalize Marijuana as some of them are doing, then the principle of preemption will be violated and the laws will be inconsistent with the Constitution.
However, marijuana is the most common abused drug that is illegal in the world, those in support of its realization fail to understand the great costs the drug causes which are not related to prohibition of the drug but also costs from own use of marijuana. According to Caulkins & Sevigny (2005), they found that percentage of marijuana users in prison is less than half of the percentage of those that in the public domain. It was found that more than 37% of the people admitted for rehabilitation were referred through a criminal justice. This means that the authorities are only ale to arrest 37% of marijuana users’ leaving another 63% addicts among the citizens. This shows that other mechanisms have to be put in place to ensure that the ban on marijuana is fully enforced.
From the argument, legalizing marijuana makes the government to be overlooked since it’s the beneficiary of the day through legal taxing. In this case, legal taxing of marijuana will stage set illegal trafficking of marijuana. This will increase the number of individual’s dependence on marijuana due to subsequent addiction increase. Also, the cost of legalizing marijuana will not only be financial but also an increase in a number of physical problems as well as serious mental problems. Also, the drug-impaired drivers will increase if there is the legalization of marijuana which will attribute to a significant increase in a number of accidents on the highways. This argument provides a strong reasoning that marijuana should not be realized instead there should be strict policies to curb the use of marijuana (Cohen, 2010).
Benefits said to be derived from the prohibition of marijuana
Prohibiting Marijuana is very important to the country and the society at large. Marijuana consumption has had a negative effect on the users which include severe health issues as well as increasing the rate of insecurity especially in the slum areas where consumption is anticipated to high. For this case, prohibiting will help in ensuring that the security of those people within the society is improved. Furthermore, the prohibition will ensure that the health standards of those who use the substance are improved (Pacula, 2010). This includes the many youths who are exposed to Marijuana consumption at the cost of their health. Lastly, the prohibition will also ensure that the many youths who have dropped out of schools due consumption go back to school to continue their education as required.
Specific harms that have been shown to be a consequence of marijuana prohibition and/or enforcement
The first harm that has been caused by the prohibition of Marijuana is the increased rates of smuggling of the same. A good example is the fact that many drug barons are now peddling the substance across the country. This has had negative effects on the entire society as well as the general economy of the country. If it was legalized, then it would be a lawful source of income to the many Americans who are now trying to smuggle into the country (Pacula, 2010). Prohibition has also limited the scope of medicine extraction. Marijuana has a medicinal value which is being used as a ground by those States which are legislating laws to legalize it. If authorized, it can help the medical fraternity with its medicinal value that can be of great help to the entire population.
Own opinion about whether the legalization of marijuana should be made national
In my opinion, marijuana is a hard drug and should be classified among hard drugs such as heroin. As such, marijuana use for either medical or recreational use should be banned across all the nations. Notably, the legalization of the medical use of marijuana gives room for the drug to be sold for recreational purposes. Marijuana is a major source of criminal behavior, and as such, it should not be legalized nationally. Besides crime marijuana also contributes heavily to health complications, including lung and throat cancer. These health complications are therefore enough reason for marijuana to be banned nationally.
Burnett, M., & Reiman, A. (2014). How Did Marijuana Become Illegal in the First Place? Drug Policy Alliance. Retrieved 5 September 2017, from http://www.drugpolicy.org/blog/how-did-marijuana-become-illegal-first-place
Cohen, P. J. (2010). Medical marijuana 2010: it’s time to fix the regulatory vacuum. The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics, 38(3), 654-666.
Deitchler, D., & Caterine, M. (2017). Maine Delays Recreational Marijuana Law’s Anti-Discrimination Provisions. SHRM. Retrieved 5 September 2017, from https://www.shrm.org/resourcesandtools/legal-and-compliance/state-and-local-updates/pages/maine-delays-recreational-marijuana-law-anti-discrimination-provisions.aspx
Gerber, R. J. (2004). Legalizing marijuana: Drug policy reform and prohibition politics. Greenwood Publishing Group.
Mikos, R. A. (2009). On the Limits of Supremacy: Medical Marijuana and the States’ Overlooked Power to Legalize Federal Crime.
Pacula, R. L. (2010). Examining the impact of marijuana legalization on marijuana consumption.
Robinson, M. (2017). It’s 2017: Here’s where you can legally smoke weed now. Business Insider. Retrieved 6 September 2017, from http://www.businessinsider.com/where-can-you-legally-smoke-weed-2017-1?IR=T
State of Colorado. (2013). Task Force Report on the Implementation of Amendment 64 Regulation of Marijuana in Colorado. Retrieved from
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