December 6, 2006 6:34pm CST
Before you can intelligently debate the pros and cons of legalizing pot, you'll need to know a little background on the bud... ...only joking you wouldnt be here if u didnt know.. The concept of marijuana legalization has gone in and out of vogue over the past 20 years, as several states, either de jure or de facto, have decriminalized its possession and use. Some describe the cause of decriminalization in the 1970s as a wave of permissive liberalism. This is hardly the case, however. In the early 1970s, a presidential commission chaired by the former Republican governor of Pennsylvania, Raymond P. Schafer, called for federal decriminalization and eventual legalization, regulation, and control of marijuana (National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972). The commission concluded that marijuana should be decriminalized. This was not interpreted as a license to abuse substances. In fact, the Shafer Commission's overriding concern was reducing substance abuse. According to the report, "On the basis of our findings, discussed in previous Chapters, we have concluded that society should seek to discourage use, while concentrating its attention on the prevention and treatment of heavy and very heavy use. The Commission feels that the criminalization of possession of marihuana for personal use is socially self-defeating as a means of achieving this objective" (National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, 1972). In 1977, Senator Jacob Javits and Representative Edward Koch introduced a bill to federally decriminalize marijuana. Although both congressmen were Democrats, their motivation for this bill had as much to do with the economics of pursuing marijuana users, then estimated at 13 million, as the undesirability of seeking to imprison such a large portion of the national population (Koch, 1977). Today, government surveys estimate the number of regular marijuana users at about 11.8 million (NIDA, 1988). The cost of pursuing and punishing 11.8 million marijuana users, if that is all there are, would be enormous, both financially and societally.
3 responses
@Meegs23 (21)
• United States
30 Jan 09
I know Obama wants to decriminalize it. Here's hoping that happens sometime soon.
@chargoans (940)
• United States
27 Jan 07
I think it should be legalized so that it may be regulated. Once we can grow it for ourselves, I think that we could use it to replace some of the other things we use. For example, before the invention of the cotton gin, people grew hemp and used the fibrous strands of the plant to make textiles, including twine and rope. I know for a fact that birds love hemp seeds. Just check out a bag of bird seed, and I bet there will be hemp seed in it!
• United States
7 Dec 06
So you are in favor of legallization or against it?