Marijuana prohibition revolves around certain facts – or maybe we should call them claims, since there is no strong evidence to support them – that suggest the drug is dangerous, can cause illnesses and addiction.
Harry Anslinger was the first man who tried to impose a ban on cannabis. He created the Marijuana Tax Act in 1937, which has been influencing the restrictive laws on the plant up until today. He claimed that marijuana could cause psychosis, illness, and in the end insanity, turning young people into addicts and violent criminals.
Although he had no scientific claims, the media was influenced and the possession and commercialization of cannabis became illegal. In 1970, marijuana was designated as a Schedule I drug, just like LSD and heroin. Recently, the officials admitted that it is safer than heroin, but it is still on the list since the lawmakers consider it devoid of medical value and with a potential to develop abuse.
Thus, one of the alternative facts that lawmakers bring into discussion regarding marijuana is its so called lack of medical value. However, medical reports showed that it can be effective in the treatment of chronic pain, muscle seizures that occur in multiple sclerosis, nausea from chemotherapy, or appetite loss.
Moreover, cannabis might be better as a pain management solution that opioids. Heroin is also an opioid and the abuse of such substances causes more than 27,000 deaths per year.
A second alternative fact is related to the high likelihood of marijuana to cause substance abuse. After all, any drug may lead to abuse, but this does not mean that cannabis has a high potential for abuse, it is barely normal.
Also, the officials claim that criminalizing cannabis reduces access to the drug, which can be easily argued against by high school students. They find it rather easy to have access to marijuana. Thus, people should really wonder how the officials manage to limit the access to the drug but at the same time they cannot prevent teenagers from getting it.
One last fake claim links marijuana use to violent crimes. However, the statistics show that the majority of people that commit crimes are usually under the influence of alcohol and not of other drugs. The cannabis users that are usually arrested end up like this only for marijuana possession and not for committing other crimes.
Thus, we can see that a big part of the stigma revolving around marijuana is based on facts that have not been proven scientifically. The drug can be beneficial in certain cases and it can be used in the treatment of certain diseases and conditions.
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