Legalization of Marijuana: Should Marijuana be legalized in the United States?

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BackgroundMarijuana use was restricted in 1937 by the Marijuana Tax Act. (Brecher 16). The bill, modeled after the Harrison Narcotic Act of 1914 that did not ban marijuana, but rather recognized its medical uses. During the Vietnam War, drug use among teens and soldiers increased tremendously, prompting President Nixon to declare a war on drugs in June of 1971. After two years, the commission suggesting to President Nixon that marijuana should be decriminalized. In an act of defiance to a commission established as part of his own program, Nixon chose to ignore this.

President Carter was not ignorant of the commission's suggestion, and in the years from 1973-1979, Alaska, Oregon, Maine, Colorado, California, Ohio, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, New York, and Nebraska followed the suggestion. President Reagan declared a second war on drugs during his second term in office, which actually managed to decrease drug use by 1987. In 1989, President Bush appointed a "drug czar" who suggested that if the war on drugs was stepped up, drug use could be cut in half.

President Bush continued a full-fledged war on drugs that continues to this day. (Terkel 104).

AGAINST LEGALIZATION OF MARIJUANAArguments•Marijuana is a doorway drug to harsher more dangerous drug use•Pot makes you stupid•Crime rates will increase•It will make the drug readily available to our country's youth•Marijuana is dangerous and causes lung cancerWhy Marijuana should remain illegalAmerica should not acknowledge requests for the legalization of marijuana. Marijuana being one of today's most commonly used drug, its legalization would cause serious damage to the economy of the United States. Although there are several benefits, I believe that mostly chaos would come from the acceptance of these demands. (Wilson, 21-28)Those for the legalization of marijuana feel that they have a right to make their own decisions so long as the...