Marijuana has been known to exist since ancient times. Throughout history, it has been used for medicinal purposes as well as for providing "highs." In colonial America, the hemp fiber of the plant was often used for making rope and textile products. Today, however, marijuana is more commonly known as an intoxicant drug. In the 1930's, laws were passed in the United States restricting its growth, sale, and consumption. At that time, marijuana was regarded as a dangerous narcotic, on the same level as substances like heroin or morphine. The 1960's counterculture saw a resurgence in popularity for the use of marijuana. Since that time, millions of Americans have tried marijuana, and a large number have continued to use it on a regular basis.
Despite its popularity, marijuana plays a key part in the government's "War on Drugs." The "Zero Tolerance" policy, for example, allows the police to confiscate automobiles and other vehicles for the possession of even small amounts of the drug. In addition, all-out police raids are conducted on marijuana farms located in Kentucky and Northern California. Considering marijuana's popularity in America, this type of assault is clearly a waste of time and resources as well as being an abuse of civil rights. In fact, there is really no reason why marijuana should be illegal at all. With this view in mind, lobbying groups such as the National organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and Help End Marijuana Prohibition
(HEMP) are actively seeking the legalization of marijuana in America.
It may be noted, however, that there are also many people in America who are opposed to the legalization of marijuana. The arguments on both sides of the debate indicate that there are negative as well as positive aspects to legalization. For example, it is claimed that marijuana should be kept illegal because it poses a health threat to users. In this regard, smoking the drug can cause...