Mention the word marijuana and nearly everyone has an opinion. From the depiction of marijuana use in the 1936 propaganda film "Reefer Madness" to more recent films such as "How High", there's an image of marijuana being painted by the media. Marijuana is illegal, and to many people, that makes less sense than prohibiting alcohol in the 1920's. Legalizing marijuana makes sense on so many levels, starting with easing the financial burden of the war on drugs. Also, marijuana has numerous medicinal benefits such as helping cancer patients while they undergo treatments and bringing relief to those who suffer from other painful illnesses. Perhaps it's time to leave the hysteria behind and acknowledge the fact that marijuana is harmless and has many beneficial properties. Not only that, but the revenue that could be generated through legalizing marijuana is staggering. .
Marijuana use was first documented in China in 2737 B.C., being used for medicinal reasons. From China, marijuana use spread to India, Africa and had reached Europe by 500 B.C. (Narcon International). While the Chinese focused on using marijuana for its medicinal properties, when it reached India, it was being used for recreational properties. Marijuana first arrived in North America in 1565 by the Spanish (DrugScience.org). .
The prohibition of marijuana came near the same time as the prohibition on alcohol (1920's) but unlike the prohibition of alcohol, marijuana use is still illegal. Since the beginning of the War on Drugs," the United States has spent billions of dollars trying to keep marijuana growers and users out of America. Senator Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) who chairs the Senate subcommittee stated "WWe are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return" (Bennett, 2011). Has the war on drugs really made a difference? This is a question that the Obama administration is looking at closely.