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Why People are against Marijuana Legalization

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Marijuana refers to the leaves, seeds, flowers and stems of the cannabis plant. Marijuana contains the mind-altering chemical THC, which causes either a mind or body high or both. Marijuana has been used for centuries, however, the United States criminalized it during a time in our history that was filled with discrimination towards colored minorities from both the Caucasian race and the government, which at the time was solely white, and so therefore a form of medicine had been taken away from the public. Knowing the effects of marijuana on a person’s mental and physical health and understanding tolerance towards marijuana should allow for an educated response to whether marijuana should be legal or illegal in the United States.

Marijuana has been used in civilizations since the third millennium BC, and possibly even further back in history. Marijuana has been used for multiple purposes since these ancient civilizations as they relied heavily on their agriculture to survive on a daily basis. Most ancient civilizations didn’t grow marijuana for the purpose to get high but rather as an herbal medicine. This trend of using marijuana as a form of medicine likely started in Asia at around 500 BC. The marijuana plant evolved in Central Asia but eventually evolved to other civilizations around the world as the hemp fiber of the plant was used to make things such as clothing, paper, and rope, and its seeds were used to make or to consume as food. Evidence has told us that some of these civilizations may have grown different varieties of the plant to be able to produce a higher level of THC to benefit from marijuana’s mind-altering effects for use in religious ceremonies or healing practice. The idea of using marijuana as medicine in more recent civilizations began in the 1830’s when Sir William Brooke O’Shaughnessy, an Irish doctor studying in India, through research found out that “cannabis extracts helped to lessen stomach pains and vomiting in people who were suffering from cholera.” Ultimately, by the late 1800’s cannabis began to be sold in pharmacies and doctors’ offices in both Europe and the United States to help treat stomach pains and other pains.

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In the early 1900’s the Mexicans that had immigrated to the United States following the Mexican Revolution had introduced to American culture the use of marijuana for recreational reasons. During the Great Depression there was resentment towards Mexican immigrants and the public began to create a fear towards the “evil weed.” Therefore, 29 states had outlawed cannabis by 1931 during the Prohibition era. During the 1970’s, the United States was fighting a “war on drugs” and with the passing of the Controlled Substances Act of 1970 by President Richard Nixon the Marijuana Tax Act was repealed and listed marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug; drugs on this list include heroin, LSD, and ecstasy which have no medical use as well as have a high potential for abuse. Former aides for President Nixon suggested that the war on drugs, specifically marijuana, had been racially motivated even revealing oval office tapes that highlighted his contempt for the counterculture movement which included racial minorities. To furthermore convince the public that marijuana use had negative effects on people the Shafer Commission was created to investigate the ills of marijuana. The Shafer Commission issued a report entitled “Marihuana: A Signal of Misunderstanding,” which concluded that marijuana was not as dangerous as it had been perceived to be. For nearly a century institutional effort by the US government to convince the public that marijuana was an anathema for our society, in any form and under any circumstances, and these efforts has been successful.

Marijuana’s high affects human functions in a variety of ways, some of these functions are impaired coordination, difficulty in thinking and problem solving as well as causing distorted perceptions. Marijuana may also affect heart and respiratory functions, with one study concluding that marijuana users have an increase in the risk of having a heart attack in the first hour after consuming marijuana. Research has shown that among chronic heavy users of marijuana, the effects on somebodies’ memory may be affected for at least 7 days after they have stopped using marijuana. A study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association concluded that low levels of marijuana use produced no detrimental effect in lung function among study participants. In an Addiction journal article published by Madeline Meier, a researcher from Duke University, in 2018, reported that “short-term cannabis use in adolescence does not appear to cause a decline in IQ or impair executive functions, even when cannabis use reaches the level of dependence.” Research has proven that there are no significant long-term deficits in memory or attention when it comes to aspects of cognitive functioning.

If you are against the legalization of marijuana, is it because of a personal belief or because of scientific research? Marijuana has been around since our first civilizations up until when it was criminalized toward a time of discrimination toward minorities in our country. Marijuana has become a part of more than 18 million American lives as research bas shown that marijuana is not hurtful to a person’s health. Today, marijuana is still illegal in the United States mainly due to moral reasons and because of the continued concern over the long-term effects, however, going against federal regulation, nine states have legalized marijuana within their borders. Because of this, the voters need to develop an educated response to whether marijuana should be legal throughout the U.S.

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Why People are against Marijuana Legalization. (2022, Jun 16). Edubirdie. Retrieved December 3, 2023, from
“Why People are against Marijuana Legalization.” Edubirdie, 16 Jun. 2022,
Why People are against Marijuana Legalization. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 3 Dec. 2023].
Why People are against Marijuana Legalization [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 16 [cited 2023 Dec 3]. Available from:
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