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MarijuanaintheUSA:AReviewofLiterature MarcNelson UniversityofTexasatElPaso

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Abstract Inthelastdecade,thetopicofmarijuanahascometobeoneofgreatdebateandcontroversyinthe UnitedStates.Liberalsseecannabisasrevolutionary,conservativesseeitasdangerous,business seesprofitableopportunitiesandsoon.Thisliteraturereviewwillinformthereaderwiththe historyonhowcannabiscametobeillegal,andtheimpactofthenewlawsinColoradoand Washingtonthatallowrecreationaluseforformarijuana.Thisreviewprovidesstatisticsaswellas observationsonthedevelopmentofthemarijuanamovement.

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MarijuanaintheUSA:AReviewofLiterature Marijuana,orcannabis,isadrugthatisusedformedicalandrecreationalpurposes.The drugcomesfromthecannabisindicaplantandthecannabissativaplant.Theindicaplantrelaxes musclesandrelievestheconsumerfrombodypains,stress,andanxiety,whilethesativaplant fightsdepressionandallowstheconsumertoincreasefocusandcreativity.Marijuanacancomein differentforms,whichincludedried,powdered,oil,andaresin.Overtheyearsmarijuanahas developedaseriesofslangslikeweed,pot,MaryJ,andmore.Themainingredientsfoundin cannabisaretetrahydrocannabinol(THC).AfewofthesideeffectsofTHCincludepainrelief, appetitestimulation,andfatigue. Cannabishasbeenaroundhumansforcenturies.FromtheclassicalChinesedynastiesto Romanrule,toourpresentdayworld,marijuanahasplayeditspartthroughouthistory.Currently intheUnitedStatesmarijuanaisillegal.Inrecentdecades,thecountryhasseenagrowthin peoplessupportforcannabisandtwostateslegalizeditforrecreationalandmedicaluses.Before makinganyassuptionsonwethermarijuanashouldbelegalizedornot,thefollowingimportant questionsshouldbeconsidered: 1.Whyandwhenwasmarijuanaillegalized? 2.HastherebeenanimpactinthecountrywiththelegalizationofmarijuanainColorado andWashingtonaroundthenation? Thefollowingreviewonliteraturewill:provideinformationthemovesandactionstoillegalize marijuana,whatthecitizensoftheUnitedStatesthinkofmarijuana,andinformontheimpact ColoradoandWashingtonhavehadduetotheirlegalizationofmarijuana.

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Whyandwhenwasmarijuanaillegalized? MarijuanawasbroughttoAmericabytheSpanishinthe1500swhowantedtotryand cultivatehemp,whichwasoneofthemostimportantfibersintheworld.Thefirstsignsofpeople smokingcannabisemergedinthe19thcentury.Duringthistimetherewasacraze(newword)for hashish,whichisapreparationofcannabis.ThecrazeresultedfromliteraryworkslikeTheCount ofMonteCristoandothernovels.Intheearly20thcenturymarijuanabeginstobesmoked.Dueto thereformsinthepharmaceuticalbusinessinCalifornia,opiatesandcocainebecamerestricted.In 1913,restrictionsformarijuanawerepassed.Therestrictionsonmarijuanawerebasedonthe pharmaceuticalboardsdesiretofightagainstthenarcoticmenaceandthereputationmarijuana had.ThatsameyearinElPasoTexas,smokingcannabisbecameillegalafteranincidentthat occurredinCiudadJuarez.Amanwalkingdownthestreetwithaknifewasreportedtohavekilled andwoundedseveralpeople.Thecauseforhisradicalactionswasblamedonhimhavingsmoked marijuana.ThiswasanexampleoftheclassicstereotypeofaMexicansmoker.Mostcannabis camefromMexicoandasimmigrationincreasedsodidmarijuana.Withthegrowingimmigration ofMexicansintotheUnitedStates,prohibitionbegantobeseenintheborderstatesduringthe 1920s.Marijuanaconsumptionalsoincreasedduetotheprohibitionofalcohol,butwhen prohibitionofalcoholwasrevokedtherewasasharpdecreaseinmarijuanause.Accordingtoan interviewwithProfessorRichardBonnieoftheUniversityofCincinnati,duringthelate1920sand early1930stherewasnotmuchscientificresearchdonetoexploretheprosandtheconsof marijuanaonthehumanbody.By1930sixteenstateshadbannedmarijuanaforrecreational purposes.Duringthe1930stheideaofmarijuanacausingpeopletolosetheirmindsbecame exaggeratedmainlythroughpropaganda.ThefilmReeferMadnessisaradicalexampleofthese

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exaggerationswhichmanypeoplearoundthenationbelieved.Thefilmwasagovernmentfunded moviewhichisabouttwohighschoolstudentsgooutofcontrolafterconsumingcannabis.Finally TheMarijuanaStampActof1937waspassedbycongress.Theactdidnotmakemarijuanaillegal butrequiredapersontopossesataxstamp.Itwasimpossibletohaveoneofthesestamps becausetogetoneyouhadtohavemarijuana,butmarijuanawasalsoafelonyofa$2000fineor5 yearsentence,thereforemakingitimpossibletoobtainastmap.

HastherebeenanimpactwiththelegalizationofmarijuanainColoradoand Washingtonaroundthenation? The2012rulingsoflegalizingcannabisinColoradoandWashingtonforrecreationaluses hasabeenhugelycontroversialtopicinthecountry.InterstateI5runsacrossthecountryfrom CanadaallthewaytoMexico.Thehighwayisknowntobeoneofthehotspotsfordrugbustsin theUnitedStates.PoliceinWashingtonthough,havebeenforcedtorethinktheirstrategiesfor drugbustsnowthatweedislegal.Drugdogsarenormallytrainedtocatchcocaine,heroin, marijuanaandotherdrugsbutduetothelawchanges,thedogscannotberetrainedtoforgetthe sentofmarijuana.Therehavealsobeenreportsofdrivershavingmorecannabisintheirsystem. SinceNovemberoflastyearwhenmarijuanawasbeenlegalized,levelsofTHChaveincreasedin adriverssystemfrom20%to27%inthepastyear.ButthisisnotjustinWashington,itis occurringalloverthenation.AccordingtoUSAToday,anationwidesurveyfoundajumpfrom 7%in2011to7.3%in2012ofAmericans12andolderusemarijuanaregularly.Itisaconcernfor policeofficerssincesomepeoplearetryingmarijuanaforthefirsttimetheeffectscanbedistinctby person.Thereisalsoacurrentdebateonwetherdriversdrivingundertheinfluenceofmarijuana

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shouldbepenalizedwitharegularDUI..Inorderformarijuanatobecontrolled,Coloradoand Washingtonareworkingtotocreateanefficientregulatorysystemtolicenseandtaxmarijuana growersandretailers.ThelegalizationofcannabisinColoradoandWashingtonhasmadethe likelyhoodofcannabisbecominglegalacrossthenationmoreprobable.Almostayearafterthe twostateslegalizedcannabis,theJusticeDepartmentdeclareditwouldnotprosecutemarijuana crimesthatwerelegalunderstatelaw.Eventhoughcannabisisstillillegalintherestofthestates, sometownshavepassedlawsdecriminalizingit,makingcannabisalowerpriorityforofficials. MovementsforlegalizationhaveallowedbillstobeintroducedinRhodeIslandandMaine. LegalizationbillshavealsobeenintroducedinMassachusettsandVermont.Ithasalsobeen reportedthatthemajorityoflawenforcementofficersopposelegalization.

Conclusion Thefederalgovernmentrecognizedthatthereisagrowingmovementaroundthenation andclearlyhasletColoradoandWashingtonbecometestsubjectstoseehowthecannabis experimentworksout.Thereisnodenyingthatmarijuanaworksasanexcellenttherapeuticbut canalsobedangeroustonewuser.Thenextdecadewillbeanoptimisticoneformarijuana supporters.WeshouldexpecttoseeColoradoandWashingtonbeclosetofullyadaptedtothe legalityofmarijuanaallowingotherstatestoseethemasamodelforlegalizingcannabis,butif theyfailtoproperlyregulateitcausingthefederalgovernmentintervene,thethoughtsofmarijuana beinglegalintheUnitedStatesmaynotcomearoundagainforalongtime.Thereisnodenying thatmarijuanaworksasanexcellenttherapeuticbutcanalsobedangeroustonewuser.

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References

Kaste,Martin(2013,November6).ThereMayBeAGreenLightForPot,ButNotFor DrivingHigh.[Electronicmaillistmessage].Retrievedfromwww.npr.org

Cavanaugh,Maureen(2010,October7).TheOddHistoryOfMarijuanaInTheUs[Electronic maillistmessage].Retrievedfromwww.kpbs.org

Curry,Colleen.(2013,August31).MarijuanaRulingCouldSignalEndOfProhibitionOnPot. ABCNews.Retrievedfromwww.abcnews.go.com

Legar,Donna(2013,September5).MoreAmericansareusingmarijuana.USAToday. Retrievedfromwww.usatoday.com

Taylor,Stuart(2001).MEDICALMARIJUANAANDTHEFOLLYOFTHEDRUGWAR. NationalJournal,33(20),14671469.

Nitti,Tony(2013,September24).UnderstandingtheImpactofLegalizedRecreational MarijuanaOnStateTaxRevenue.Forbes.Retrievedfromwww.forbes.com.