puts the assertions of politicians, lawmakers and the United States
Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that marijuana is a dangerous
narcotic and deserves its classification as a Schedule 1 substance
as deeply flawed.
In a 2010 report
by the Common Sense for Drug Policy Organization, the American annual
causes of death were classified under the following categories:
(such as Aspirin)
Before you start to wonder about the veracity of the figures above, you should be
aware that no one has ever been officially declared dead from direct
or indirect marijuana consumption.
Schedule I drugs
are typically substances that possesses no practical use apart from
its’ psychoactive values and creates a very high risks of
dependency, thereby equating marijuana with other infamous Schedule
I drugs such as Methamphetamine and Lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD).
To stress the point a little harder, drugs such as heroin and cocaine
are classified as Schedule II substances; implying that these drugs
have alternate, if somewhat limited, beneficial applications and
are less of a risk compared to marijuana!
If we consider
the fact that marijuana is probably the most versatile, productive
and environmentally-efficient farming crop in the world, with a
wide range of trickle down applications, and a well established
medical usage background, the issue becomes stranger; sinister,
some might even be inclined to say, considering that the classification,
and eventual prohibition of marijuana appears to be completely wrong
in the face of the fatality rates of other psychoactive substances.
The United States
government has also repeatedly gone on record since the 1937 Marijuana
Tax Act stating the danger that this ‘single use’ product
posses. In recent years, they have also begun to dismiss documented
scientific findings that go against the government’s position
on the issue. Set against the promptings of our founding fathers,
George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, who actively encouraged
the growing of the hemp plant due to its economic potential, one
would assume that the government would have some exceptionally strong
scientific basis for the criminalization of marijuana. However,
the most credible reason that the government has managed to provide
over the past seventy years after the initial criminalization of
the product is the ‘gateway drug’ theory, where regular
consumption of marijuana will lead to users gradually experimenting
with drugs that are more dangerous.
This theory fails for two reasons. The first, there are NO other more dangerous
drugs than marijuana – after all, the government has classified
it as a Schedule I substance. Secondly, the theory is based on no
credible scientific or statistical data. Continuous government funded
studious have been made over the past century by numerous public
and private entities that has failed to produce any substantiating
corroborative data for the getaway drug theory.
In fact, more
and more, the scientific community is looking at marijuana as the
mediating drug for heroin and cocaine abusers. Replacing the hard-core
addictive drugs with a carefully managed marijuana therapy has yielded
some assuring results, and this has almost absolutely debunked the
gateway drug theory.
A point of interest
is the Dutch substance management policy. Decriminalization of marijuana
surprisingly showed an across the board reduction in psychoactive
substances usage, and in the process, also reduced the criminal
and social effects that these psychoactive substance creates.
Under the onslaught
of the facts above, one must wonder why marijuana was criminalized
in the first place and why the government has not lifted the prohibition
against marijuana yet. We will look at the genesis of the prohibition
and the continuing opposition to decriminalizing marijuana from
the political and social minority in the following pages.