The Case for Maintaining Prohibition

THE LAW

The Marijuana Reform Act of 1977 classified possession of small amounts of marijuana up to 25 grams as a violation. The penalties range from a $100 to $250 fine and/or up to 15 days in jail depending upon whether it is a first, second or third offense, etc. Possession of more than 25 grams but less than 8 ounces is a misdemeanor. Possession of more than 8 ounces is a felony. Sale of less than 25 grams is a misdemeanor; sale of more than 25 grams is a felony.

Prohibition

There are many reasons why many people want marijuana to remain illegal. These reasons are often similar. Below are just a few agencies or individuals seeking to do so:

The DEA

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. It claims legalization would be a devastating defeat to the committment that so many have made to living free, healthy and unfettered in our nation.

Anti-Legalization Forum

In a two-day Anti-Legalization Forum in Virginia in 1994 attended by several police chiefs and representatives from government agencies and private sector authorities to name a few, a few key issues were brought to the forefront. They include:

  • Who will be responsible to pay for the many drug addicts that will be created under legalization?
  • Who will support the addicts' habits?
  • Who will pay for the social, criminal and other costs of legalization?

    Other issues discussed at the forum included the argument: legalization proponents make better use of media in getting their point across than anti-legalization proponents. This makes their side of the argument better heard and their opinion better known. Also discussed were facts such as legalization proponents are often well-prepared and credible people who use lawyers and public relations firms to help them get their point to the public. Forum attendees also discussed how the debate is often fueled by misconceptions, especially that the drug problem in America is too high.

    Forum attendees talked about how they felt legalization proponents highlighted public mistrust of government and misconceptions about government agencies being fragmented and having no clear-cut direction as to how to tackle the drug problem. Anti-legalization proponents also believe the legalization issue is being fueled by social frustrations with the "drug problem" in America. Some feel those in favor of legalization seek to legalize all drugs and not just marijuana. Others feel there are ulterior motives, such as the potential for profit-making through selling marijuana. Many attendees felt that those in favor of legalization are just seeking to protect their individual rights to take drugs.

    Drug Warriors

    Government agents have historically opposed legalization initiatives. "Drug warriors" in the Clinton administration have been giving medical legalization proponents a good fight. A major "warrior" is labeled:

  • Barry McCaffrey, Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP). But although everyone has the right to an opinion, McCaffrey seems to have attempted to influence others' opinions in devious ways. This former general is accused of using underhanded methods to oppose legalization efforts--also using taxpayer money. Also, "McCaffrey seems to have violated federal law by using public funds to influence the outcome of an election." There is currently an extensive list of charges concerning McCaffree, most of which include ethical violations.

    Religious Opposition

    Besides government agencies, religious groups also take stances against the legalization of marijuana. According to a group called, *"Agressive Christians," "Through the innocently appearing guise of the 'natural herbal high' called marijuana, Satan has found an open doorway for invasion into the minds of millions of people." OK, so this group may be a little extreme. In general, very few religious denomenations or groups support the legalization of marijuana. They basically oppose it on moral terms believing drug use is against the will of God. But there is at least one church that does support the use of marijuana in its religious rites. See Religious Use.

    There is definitely at least 10 times more information about why marijuana should be made illegal than vice versa. Maybe the forum attendees were right. It definitely seems as if legalization proponents are making their voices better heard. Other than government agencies and religious groups, there are not many other groups taking an active stance against legalization.

    Marijuana: History, Effects and Controversies

    Hemp Production

    Physical and Psychological Effects

    Religious Use

    Health Use

    THE "OTHER SIDE"

    The Case for Legalization

    References