Controversy Surrounding the Marijuana Use

            Specific issues, such as the controversy surrounding the use of marijuana have throughout recorded history increasingly been looked at from different points of view. Our beliefs concerning the non-medical use of drugs, more specifically marijuana, have largely been dependent on what type of information is available for us, and whom we are receiving it from. The beginning of the marijuana controversy throughout North America, in reality, did not even surface until the early 1920s. In 1922, Emily Murphy, Canada's first female judge and respected figure, generated awareness when she wrote, "The Black Candle”, Canada's first book on drug abuse. Since then, attitudes concerning the use of marijuana have been constantly changing, and thus have created ongoing arguments between two opposing forces within North American culture. Through an assessment of the material provided, this paper will focus on and explain how attitudes towards the use of marijuana have evolved over time. .

             In her article, Murphy includes a variety of evidence concerning the use of marijuana. Her evidence consists of information provided by doctors, authority figures, fictitious literature, and writers who chose to express their feelings towards either marijuana or hashish. The conclusive evidence reported by her sources basically says that marijuana produces "trance like symptoms” , "a staggering walk” , "acute mania” , "paranoia” , "a tendency to commit violent crimes” , and that "it can also cause death.” This type of evidence, which was basically the only evidence available at this time, surely would have been believable coming from a judge, thus creating fear throughout society. However, at this stage in time there had not been any scientific experiments performed on the side effects of marijuana, and, as a matter of fact, the first experiment was not conducted, in reality, until 1939. It has also been suggested that the extreme side effects, mentioned in Murphy's book, as well as many others, could have been attributed to indulging too heavily in the drug, thus qualifying as an overdose.

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