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The Impact of Banning Marijuana

The Impact of Banning Marijuana

Across the United States, tens of millions of residents have been arrested for violating marijuana laws. In 2010 alone, there were 853,838 arrests. Remarkably, more than half of all drug-related arrests that year involved marijuana alone. The prohibition of marijuana and the “War on Drugs” more generally has had a profound effect on U.S. crime and law enforcement policy to this day. The Drug Policy Alliance notes that over 700,000 Americans were arrested or cited for violating marijuana laws in 2014, 88 percent of which were for possession only.

A lawsuit brought against the U.S. government by Timothy Leary (a famed advocate for psychedelic drugs) challenged the constitutionality of the Marihuana Tax Act, the Supreme Court unanimously struck down the law in 1969 because it required self-incrimination and violated the Fifth Amendment as a result. Congress formally repealed that same law a year later, but simultaneously passed the Controlled Substances Act to ensure that marijuana remain illegal.

The stigma behind being a “stoner” is part of our ongoing, shame-based, cultural belief system labeled upon cannabis users by non-users. Saying phrases such as "he's just a forgetful stoner" or "low life potheads”, perpetuates a negative connotation, which makes it difficult for scientists to release accurate results to mainstream media and have the general public believe it. Cannabis is not at all legitimately represented in eyes of our government; as seen in propaganda such as, “Reefer Madness” in 1936. Restrictions on cannabis laws first date back to thirty years before that film was even released. This means the mindset of people living in 1906 were the ones that determined our current status of cannabis legalization within federal jurisdictions.

What was happening in 1906? The vacuum cleaner, tea bags, and electric washing machines were invented, Berlin adapted the first universal distress signal of S.O.S. and the cannabis plant was deemed poisonous.

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