Patience: Why America Needs to Embrace Marijuana


By Alisa Patience

Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it’s good, and just because something is illegal doesn’t mean it’s bad. After all, divorce was illegal for most of our history. And people argue about guns in this context everyday. But the biggest cultural example of this is marijuana and cigarettes.
Marijuana has had a bad reputation since the sixties and seventies when it was common for protestors to smoke it. This sounds like a stereotype but according to my grandma it’s true.
We all know a dozen words for it — Mary Jane, weed, green, pot, etc.
It is illegal to grow marijuana, despite of all the food that comes from this plant. It can treat anxiety, depression and even some forms of cancer. It can be used to make paper, can help control epileptic seizures and there could be hundreds of other uses, but unless it’s legal everywhere it is hard to find out.
Meanwhile, there are no advantages to cigarettes. It’s not natural, it’s man made and all it does is make people sick. Cigarette smoke contains 4000 chemicals, 43 of which are cancer-causing.
A lot of people start smoking because they say it helps them relax. However, you only feel this way because when you have a cigarette you’re literally taking a break from work or school, and are taking a few minutes to yourself which helps you relax. And while you think it’s the cigarette doing the work to help you relax, the nicotine is actually increasing your blood pressure, because minutes after you’ve finished the cigarette, you’ll begin experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Marijuana has been used for thousands of years, with the earliest record of cannabis usage being in 2737 BC in Asia. It was not being used to get high, but as medicine. Big surprise.. It spread to Europe by 500 AD, and for most of that time there hadn’t been any laws against it, because it doesn’t make any sense. The only reason that there are laws against it now is because of fear mongering by governments that used it as a political tactic.

Right now, the DEA classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug. This is alongside other drugs such as LSD, ectasy, heroin and peyote. Schedule I is defined by the federal government as drugs that have no accepted medical use and are highly addictive. The government lists these drugs as the most dangerous of all drugs. The only problem is that studies have shown that marijuana does have positive medical uses, but this has yet to be recognized by the federal government. To show how ridiculous this is, cocaine and methamphetamine are Schedule II, which while still have a high chance for abuse, but have accepted medical uses. We have studies showing that these are acceptable for medical use in certain scenarios, and we have studies showing marijuana is as well. The only question that remains is, why hasn’t the federal government recognized these studies and change the classification of marijuana?
About 52 percent of Americans have tried marijuana and most of those who’ve tried it continue to use it. Marijuana is natural, actually helps people and lots of people are already using it. It’s time for America to embrace something green other than money.