Marijuana (Cannabis) is a natural growing flowering plant has been cultivated and used by for millennia throughout history by various cultures on nearly every continent. Today, as in the past, people use marijuana for industrial (hemp), medicinal, recreational and religious purposes. Historically the cultivation, possession and distribution of marijuana have been legal. However, in the 1900s many societies, including the United States, enacted criminal laws effectively banning the use, possession and cultivation of Marijuana.
The prohibition against Marijuana is hotly debated in the United States. Many argue that the criminal consequences of using marijuana are worse than the plant itself. For instance, thousands of individuals have criminal records for using and possessing small amounts of Marijuana. The criminal record may keep them from working certain jobs and may be cause for termination of employment. Additionally, the stigma of being a being a convicted criminal, even for a seemingly minor offense, can bring other serious consequences. Proponents of the continued prohibition of Marijuana have several counter arguments, including that Marijuana is a “gateway drug” leading to harder drug use, that children could be harmed if they use Marijuana, that driving a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs is dangerous, and that there are negative health consequences to using Marijuana.