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Marijuanna, A Different Approach

Updated on May 5, 2016

Marijuana in the United States

Marijuana is treated differently in the United States than it is in Europe. For years marijuana has been viewed as a criminal act in the United States, many have gone to jail for its use and possession. Americans need to take a step back and give it a hard look, are we making any headway by criminalizing it? Are we treating it properly? Marijuana use isn’t going away any time soon it has been in use for thousands of years now in all kinds of capacities. Everything from the use of cannabis seeds for food in 6000 BC to make clothing and other textiles in 4000 BC. Medicinal usage can be traced back as far as 2727 BC.

In America we have waged a war on drugs that started in earnest in the mid 1980’s with President Ronald Reagan. We have been on again off again with how to treat the use of marijuana since the 1930’s. It seems that we calculate our progress in the war by how many people we have in jail. Is that helping, are we making any headway in this so called war? I would venture to say not, but great strides have been made recently to turn things around.

I do not advocate illegal drug use of any kind; I need to clarify that. But we have to ask ourselves, is it going away? If it’s not going away then is our approach working for us? Sadly the answer to both of those questions in my opinion, is no. In order to take control of the situation we must be pragmatic in dealing with it.

What’s the answer? I feel that legalizing it and controlling it is the only way. It would be a great way to increase income to the states, and possibly the federal government. Treat it the same way that you would cigarettes, tax it to the maximum.

Marijuana in Europe

On the other hand we have Europe; in most countries it’s illegal but decriminalized. This means that you wouldn’t go to jail for possession. In Europe they take a different approach to drug problems. Europeans treat drug abuse as a public health issue, the offender is treated as medical patient instead of a criminal.

Most of Europe agrees that education and prevention are the best ways to tackle the drug problem. In some countries like Spain and the Netherlands marijuana is considered a soft drug – along the lines of alcohol and tobacco. They take three stage approach, health care, law enforcement and education. The police zero in on the drug dealers more than the users, and this seems to work for them, so why wouldn’t it work for us in the United States?

I would never say the Europe has all the answers or that they are getting it right all the time, but I think it would be in our best interest to take another look at what they are doing and how it’s working for them.

History tells a story about prohibition in America in the 1920’s, one that we should take a better look at today. It didn’t work then with alcohol and I don’t believe it’s working today with marijuana. Just like in 1933 when the Prohibition Act was repealed, no one at that time said that alcohol was good they just came to the realization that the law was impossible to enforce and could spend their time and money better elsewhere. Isn’t it time we understood that about marijuana now, we are fighting a war we can’t win. So what would it hurt to change our approach?

Marijuana in Colorado

Marijuana - Conclusion

One of the fastest growing industries in the United States is that of legal marijuana. There will always be controversy over the legalization of marijuana; there will always be concerns of course. However I believe the cat is out of the bag and there’s no stopping marijuana legalization. Over the years marijuana has held some stigma, many thought of so called pot smokers to be nothing but unmotivated teenagers with the munchies. But times they are a changing’ and public opinion is shifting.

What will happen in the next five years or so will be interesting, the legalization movement has begun and the tidal wave will be unstoppable.


Do you believe marijuana should be legalized?

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    • velzipmur profile image

      Shelly Wyatt 19 months ago from Maryland

      Mel Carriere I totally agree with you, this is a war that cannot be won.

    • Mel Carriere profile image

      Mel Carriere 19 months ago from San Diego California

      We've wasted far too many resources on trying to end the Marijuana 'problem,' and where has it landed us? I think the negative effects of alcohol far outweigh those of Marijuana, and this is coming from a beer drinker who has never smoked a joint. Great hub!

    • velzipmur profile image

      Shelly Wyatt 19 months ago from Maryland

      Thank you HSchneider

    • profile image

      Howard Schneider 19 months ago from Parsippany, New Jersey

      Very reasonable and considered approach, Shelly. Marijuana use is not going away so let's put some smart controls on it. We do this with alcohol which is probably worse than marijuana. Excellent Hub.