Marijuana grows throughout temperate regions, with more potent varieties produced in dry, hot, upland climates. Marijuana is defined as a cannabis plant; and or a preparation made from the dried flower clusters and leaves of the cannabis plant, smoked or eaten to induce euphoria (“marijuana,” 827, Webster’s). Euphoria is a feeling of great happiness or well being (“euphoria,” 468). Chronic marijuana users may develop a motivational syndrome characterized by passivity, decreased motivation, and preoccupation with taking drugs. The relationship of this syndrome to marijuana use, however, has not been established.
Like alcohol intoxication, marijuana intoxication impairs judgment, comprehension, memory, speech, problem-solving ability, and reaction time. The effect of long-term use on the intellect is unknown. There is no evidence that marijuana induces or causes brain damage (“marijuana” 2, Microsoft). The Drug Enforcement Agency estimates that we presently have 20 million regular users of marijuana in the United States (Heerema 130). The inclusion of drug users within society is in turn based on the premise that the desire to alter consciousness is a normal human trait, a drive as deep as the need for food, shelter and love (Siegel 1989). Humans perceive the use of marijuana to alter their state of consciousness as being a basic instinct that seems harmless and natural.
Prohibition creates crime; it does not solve crime. It creates a tension within society that society cannot long bear. However, because some members of society are more tolerant of drug use than others, the attempt at prohibition inevitably tears society apart. It seems to work, for a while, but sooner or later the prohibition approach becomes untenable if society is to grow rather than stagnate. In the long run, society gradually adapts to the changes made necessary by the failure of the War on Drugs; and the new drugs appear, and then the cycle starts over (Aldrich 548).
Therefore, if society wants to continue to grow, we must allow its inhabitants to alter their state of consciousness by using marijuana. A legal, regulated drug supply (as alcohol, tobacco, coffee, tea, and prescription drugs) encourages people both socially and personally to use the smallest dosage and the lowest potency that will be effective. It encourages normalization and control of drug use, and discourages abuse. It accepts a certain social cost in that the use of these drugs will cause problems for some members of society; but it does not deny that drug use is human, and instead works through the problems presented by drug use in such a way as to minimize their harm. In exactly opposite fashion, the criminal approach to drug use encourages drug abuse, by attempting to cut off supply.
This policy restriction makes the desired commodity scarce and difficult to obtain. In turn, the user wants as much as possible, in the highest possible potency, for hoarding as well as immediate use. This policy ignores the basic human urge to get high, discourages the controlled use of drugs, and offers no normal socialization, no internal or external controls, and no possibility of harm reduction. It puts even the casual or experimental user into the illicit drug subculture where abuse is more likely; and any attempt to encourage self-control, that is, showing people how to use drugs intelligently and in the least harmful way, is seen as condoning abuse (Weil and Rosen 1983).
Therefore, the illicit drug scene, created by drug prohibition laws, encourages high-dose, high-potency drug seeking, and discourages moderation and self-regulation. The process of dilution is possible when drugs are legally regulated; but not when they are criminally distributed. In fact, dilution of strength is the basis for mass marketing of legal .