Posted spring 2008
Marijuana is the most commonly abused illicit drug in the United States. A dry, shredded, green/brown mix of flowers, stems, seeds, and leaves of the hemp plant Cannabis Sativa. It usually is smoked as a cigarette (joint, nail) or in a pipe (bong). It can also smoked in the form of blunts, which are cigars that have been emptied of tobacco and refilled with marijuana. It might also be mixed in food or brewed as a tea. As a more concentrated, resinous form, it is called hashish. As a sticky black liquid, it is called hash oil. Marijuana smoke has a pungent and distinctive smell, usually being a sweet and sour odor. There are countless street terms for marijuana: pot, herb, weed, grass, widow, ganja, and hash. There are also terms derived from trademarked varieties of cannabis, such as: Bubble Gum, Northern Lights, Fruity Juice, Afghani #1, and a number of Skunk varieties. The art of smoking marijuana or “weed” entails many details. When one begins to smoke this plant they must keep many aspects in mind: what device to use when smoking it, the quality of the weed, weed measurements, and what effects marijuana will have on your body.
Most countries have laws regarding the cultivation, possession, supply, or use of cannabis. Since the beginning of the 20th century, most countries have enacted laws against the cultivation, possession, or transfer of cannabis for recreational use. There are many regions in the world where the handling or possession of marijuana is legal or licensed. Several recent laws have lessened the penalties for possession of marijuana, so that it is punished by confiscation or a fine rather than imprisonment. Some jurisdictions use mandatory treatment programs for frequent known users. In the United States, federal law states that it is illegal to possess, use, buy, sell, or cultivate marijuana in 49 of the states (the exception being Alaska). The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning that it has a high potential for abuse and is not accepted for medical use. Some states and local governments have established laws attempting to decriminalize cannabis. In November of 2004, Montana voters (by a significant margin of 62%) passed Initiative I-148, which allowed certain patients with specific medical conditions to alleviate their pain through the limited use of marijuana under medical supervision. Possession of sixty grams or less of marijuana in Montana is a misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a fine of $100 - $500 for the first conviction. For succeeding convictions, the penalties increase to up to three years in prison and a fine up to $1,000. Possession of greater than sixty grams carries a sentence of up to twenty years in prison and a fine up to $50,000. Production or manufacture of one pound or less of marijuana in Montana is punishable by up to ten years in jail and a fine up to $50,000. For amounts greater than one pound, or more than thirty plants, the penalty includes a two year mandatory minimum sentence to life in prison, and a fine of up to $50,000. Subsequent convictions can double the possible sentence. Sale or distribution of marijuana in Montana carries a penalty of one year to life in prison, and a fine up to $50,000. Sale to a minor carries an additional penalty of 2 years to life in prison, and a fine up to $50,000. Any sale within 1,000 feet of a school also adds an additional 3 years to life in prison, and a fine up to $50,000.
I was going to finish this paper, but then I got high. It’s very burdensome…
People who have tried marijuana have different experiences. Some say the effects are not pleasurable while others argue the opposite and that they feel very at peace with themselves when using it. The plant itself is not what should be considered “bad” or illegal. It should be the people who abuse marijuana's good qualities. Weed cannot only ease pain emotionally and physically, but it can also give a calm to those who are uptight or stressed. If you use marijuana regularly, the thought of getting caught can weigh heavily on the mind. Users experience the illegality of smoking marijuana in numerous ways. The fact that it is illegal means that the drug is not readily available to them. A person can not go to the grocery store to pick it up. They have to spend time finding and tracking down other people who supply or deal marijuana and then purchase it from them. Smoking marijuana must also be done in private. They cannot walk down the street, take breaks at work, or go public places (such as restaurants or bars) smoking this drug, while they could do it with a cigarette. If someone wants to participate in this activity, then they have to go out of their normal, legal, daily routine to do so.
In an interview with an acquaintance of mine, this is what they had to say about their experience with marijuana:
“It calms my nerves and makes me feel better about my life. It mostly just makes me forget about it. It makes me less inhibited and my true creative being comes out. Things I normally wouldn’t think of come to mind. It is a cheap alternative to getting drunk. It’s fun to do with friends. If weed was legalized in the United States everyone would be happy and less uptight. I also smoke to relieve emotional as well as physical pain.”
Some people assume that marijuana is a terrible drug and that it destroys people's lives. These people who do assume are the ones who have had no experience with marijuana. Many people around the world would like to see the drug become legalized, which is the first step towards minimizing the hold that juridic controls possess over people who use the drug. Through this, there would be less moral and ethical issues behind it. If it is not in the cards for marijuana to be legalized, then there are other alternatives. For instance; there are twelve states in the US that have bendable laws when it comes to the use, production, and sale of marijuana. Those states include: Alaska, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maine, Montana, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Washington, and Vermont. Eleven of those states issue ID cards to patients who provide their doctor's recommendations to a state or county agency. Perhaps even one day smoking marijuana could be equivalent to smoking a cigarette. The juridic burdensomeness could be lightened by moving to one of these states. Another option is to grow your own. This could be a risky process, but again it is legal in some of the above listed states. These ideas along with many others can help with the burdened feeling of “I’m doing something wrong”.