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Moral and Pragmatic Arguments for Marijuana

            In America, marijuana has been strictly prohibited due the Controlled Substances Act of 1970. However, the legal history of marijuana, properly called Cannabis sativa or simply cannabis, begin as early 1619. In order to properly understand why cannabis legalization is the superior moral alternative to prohibition, a brief background on the cannabis must be provided. The most monumental shift in public policy occurred in the 1970s when the United States began to shift toward conservatism. With half of the country getting involved in radical cultural revolutions such as women's rights, civil rights, and social welfare, there was a strong desire for the rest of the country to separate themselves completely from an America seemed to betray their sensibilities.
             This growing pool of older, conservative voters saw the liberal youth, civil rights activists, and the hippie movement with their adaptation of drug culture as a threat to American values. Thus, politicians such as Richard Nixon began to push for legislation that was "tough on crime". Nixon asserted that, "the deterioration [of respect for the rule of law] can be traced directly to the spread of the corrosive doctrine that every citizen possesses an inherent right to decide for himself which laws to obey and when to disobey them"('Gerber 2004). Rudolph Gerber argues that "racial implications" of these assertions justified the implementation of stricter law and order. The public was not oblivious to the subliminally racist rhetoric Nixon and his party campaigned on, and saw it as the necessary centerpiece of stricter drug prohibition.
             In the twenty first century, America has made a large shift towards racial egalitarianism, yet cannabis is still illegal in America. What purpose does prohibition intend to serve besides restoring the middle-class suburban America from "lawless criminals"? Even though racially subliminal tones no longer shape the overall objectives, shallow legalese surrounding the prohibition of cannabis remains.

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