Most nonviolent offenders of marijuana receive longer sentences in prison than individuals allotted to violent offenders. On the other hand prohibition of marijuana cost the federal government a lot of money which could be used in targeting violent crimes rather than marijuana offenders (Gallup & Newport, 60). Prohibition of marijuana applies to every individual including the sick and terminally ill persons. Several studies show that marijuana is a therapeutic in the treatment of a number of diseases yet the federal government denies patient to access this drug.
Cultivation of marijuana in the United States date back 400 years ago. Farmers in the United States grow marijuana in the name of hemp for its fiber content. Hemp crop was first grown in the United States in the year 1611 by colonists near Jamestown in Virginia. This was after king James 1 of Britain ordered wide scale farming of the plant. Most of the ropes used in colonial ships, clothing, bibles and maps were made from hemp (Booth, 62). According to some literature Thomas Jefferson and George Washington cultivated hemp and ordered marijuana based economy.
Some of the colonies made the cultivation of marijuana to be compulsory and argued that its cultivation was necessary for the wealth and protection of the economy of the country (Ruschmann, 188). Through the turn of 20th century cultivation of marijuana was continued in the United States as an agricultural staple. In 1920s and 1930s marijuana was first recognized as intoxicant. Use of marijuana for recreational purposes become associated with the immigrants workers from the south and jazz musician communities of African American origin (Califano, 9).
During this time the crop was replaced with new image and it was regarded as the devils weed. The new image of the crop contributed to the formation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotic (FBN) in 1930 in the federal government. Following the formation of FBN tabloid news paper and Hollywood services were enrolled to spread campaigns against the drug. It was during this time when the nation started to publish alleged violent and insanity crimes committed by marijuana smokers (Ruschmann, 196).
There were also popular accounts of exaggerated crimes allegedly committed by immigrant intoxicated by the drug. Many publications reported that the user of the drug know no fear and loose all the inhibition once under the influence of the drug. The steady steam of propagandas was spread across the nation and this lead to 127 states to enact laws against the drug. In addition the federal government passed marijuana tax act in the year 1937 to prohibit the use of marijuana.
Despite many laws outlawing the use of marijuana it remain the third most popular drug of choice used for recreational purposes in the United States (Califano, 13). On the other hand it is only alcohol and tobacco that are used by a greater percentage people in the United States. It is clear that efforts made by the federal state to significantly deter or eliminate the use of marijuana have failed. In reality smoking of marijuana is a common phenomena and it is used as a drug of choice by millions of people in the United States.
A recent data from the department of health and human services in the United States indicates that approximately 70 million people across the nation have smoked marijuana at least once during their life time (Booth, 65). According to this report 18 million people have smoked marijuana at their past year and 10 million individuals are current smokers. The department of health and human services found out that more than 58 percent of users of illicit drug users reported that marijuana is the only drug they have ever used.