Marijuana has been illegal in all 50 states since 1937. Despite the hundreds of studies done since the early 1970’s, the federal government still refuses to acknowledge any evidence suggesting the medical benefits of marijuana. In 2008, almost one million people were arrested on marijuana charges, 89 percent of those arrests were for possession alone and all others were for things such as distribution and cultivation; these arrests make up 49.8 percent of all drug related arrests.
“The government should not legislate personal choices that have no victim,” said SLCC student, Mike Middleton. “There isn’t sufficient research to show that [marijuana is] harmful enough to be illegal.”
In 1974, researchers were asked by the National Institute of Health to find proof that marijuana damages the immune system. The DEA shut down the study immediately even though the results showed that THC destroyed or shrank tumors in the majority of test subjects. This was the first time THC had been given to tumor bearing animals.
Researchers in Madrid, after a study done in 2000, announced that they had destroyed incurable brain tumors in rats by injecting them with THC. This was the second time that THC had been administered to tumor bearing animals.
Now in 2010, a study done by State University of New York that was published in the June issue of Pharmacology reports that, “cannibinoids are potent inhibitors of Tu183 cellular respiration and are toxic to this highly malignant tumor.” This means that delta-THC-8 and delta-THC-9, the active chemicals in marijuana, slow or stops the growth of certain oral tumors. This study was done on humans.
After the 1974 study, President Ford in 1976 put a stop to the public cannabis research but granted exclusive rights to pharmaceutical companies to develop a synthetic THC that had all the benefits of the real thing, without the high; they were all unsuccessful.
With the overcrowding of prisons and the belief that the “war on drugs” is unwinnable, it leads people to wonder why marijuana is still illegal in the majority of the country.
“I think [marijuana] should be legalized for people of age,” said Middleton, “probably 19, and if they want to institute a no smoking and driving policy that’s fine. But what people do in the comfort of their own home is their business.”
Some say it’s a gateway drug, but in the 1930’s, people believed that the use of heroin would lead to marijuana, implying that marijuana is worse for the human body.
A story about a boy from Florida suggesting that marijuana causes violence stated, “A young boy who had become addicted to smoking [marijuana] cigarettes, in a fit of frenzy because, as he stated while still under the marijuana influence, a number of people were trying to cut off his arms and legs, seized an axe and killed his father, mother, two brothers and a sister, wiping out the entire family except himself.”
Other states, mostly in the southwest, outlawed marijuana because of racial prejudices against Mexican immigrants. “I wish I could show you what a small [marijuana cigarette] can do to one of our degenerate Spanish-speaking residents,” said H.J. Anslinger in 1937 during the congressional hearing to outlaw marijuana. “That’s why our problem is so great; the greatest percentage of our population is composed of Spanish-speaking persons, most of who are low mentally, because of social and racial conditions.”
It is generally known that marijuana does not stimulate anger or violence, nor does it drive people insane. In most people, using marijuana can relieve stress, pain, and is a natural cure for nausea.
Even our founding fathers cultivated and used marijuana, the human race has been cultivating and using marijuana for centuries, but it still remains illegal in most of the United States as well as the world. Legalizing marijuana wouldn’t only help with the problem of over-crowded prisons but it would allow for the stimulation of the economy, if taxed properly, as well as allow a safer, more natural medicine for billions of people.
Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol in the 1920’s, and it isn’t working for marijuana right now. For more information about medicinal marijuana, the prohibition of marijuana, and ways to help out the fight to reform marijuana laws, please visit norml.org.