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Legalization of Marijuana

            I was introduced to marijuana as a 15 year old through my best friend. Every Friday night we walked to our village to eat pizza and wait for someone to buy us beer. One night he introduced me to an older neighborhood friend who brought us into the woods, reached into his pocket and came out with an exotic pipe and some weed. This was my first introduction to marijuana.
             This is a scene similar to what thousands of teenagers will experience until marijuana is legally accepted into the mainstream. Teenagers like to experiment, especially with anything considered to be rebellious or outside the norm of society. If marijuana were legalized it would no longer be a suspicious secret, but perhaps accepted into society as something to enhance life. Marijuana should be a catalyst for feeling good, not a criminal act. I am for the legalization of marijuana not only because of my personal experience but for medical, economic and legal reasons. .
             Marijuana had a humble beginning in the United States. For most of our nation's history farmers grew marijuana, then known as hemp, for its fiber content. Dating back to the 1600's, colonists in Virginia planted the first hemp crop and were subsequently ordered by the King of England to engage in wide scale farming of the plant. It is reported that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson cultivated marijuana and preached for a hemp based economy! Hemp cultivation continued as an agricultural staple in America through the turn of the 20th century and was one of America's largest cash crops.
             Marijuana first became used as a drug in the 20's & 30's mainly by Mexican-American immigrant workers and African-American jazz musicians. At this time, the plants long standing history as a cash crop gave way to its new image as the "Devil's Weed." In 1930, .
             the government founded the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who started a misinformation campaign against marijuana citing reports of insanity and violence known as "reefer madness.

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