When Olympic officials decided to give snowboarder Ross Rebagliati his gold medal back, the cheers drowned out the boos. It was a minor scandal involving a minor sport, but it spoke volumes about the world's shifting relationship with its favorite illicit drug. Marijuana. A decade ago, Rebagliati would have been ostracized regardless of whether cannabis was on the list of his sport's banned substances. .
II. What's changed today is that our attitudes towards illegal drugs are becoming more sophisticated and discriminating. After thirty years of research into the harmful effects of cannabis, there can be no hidden dangers left to discover. We know that it is plain nonsense to regard cannabis as a performance-enhancing drug, just as it is a myth to think the substance rots the brain or is a gateway drug. .
III. The issue of cannabis legalization has been debated ever since the substance was made illegal on April 14, 1937. .
a. Reformers still press legislation today to make the psychoactive plant available to medical patients as well as the general adult population. .
i. One of the more prominent groups that lobbies for the legalization of marijuana is NORML (National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws). .
1. NORML has been a voice for nearly thirty years for Americans that oppose marijuana prohibition. .
2. Essentially, it is a non-profit interest lobby that represents the interests of millions of otherwise law-abiding citizens who smoke marijuana responsibly. .
IV. Ever since that fateful day in 1937 there has also been millions of Americans that supported (emphasize) the government's choice to criminalize this plant. .
a. One major contributor to the spread of anti-legalization information is the Drug Enforcement Agency. .
i. The DEA is clearly opposed to the legalization of illicit drugs. .
ii. The DEA and other agencies seeking to promote the status quo claim the legalization argument is a cyclical trend that resurfaces, heats up and then dies down again, only to come back at a later date.