Drugs and Crimes

The occurrence, use and abuse of drugs in our society are evolving issues. Marijuana, a Schedule 1 drug like
heroin, lysergic acid diethylamide (LSD/acid), and ecstasy, was once widely viewed as a gateway drug and
extremely dangerous for individuals (consumption) and society (public health and safety). However, currently
four states, Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska have legalized use and sale of small quantities of
marijuana for recreational use (so long as the drugs are purchased from a licensed distributor and the
appropriate taxes are paid). Several other states have decriminalized possession of small quantities of
marijuana (in Maryland, less than 10 grams of marijuana is a civil offense). In many other states, as well as in
federal law, the possession of marijuana is still a criminal offense. The wide range of views in our society,
especially in light of the differing governmental stances, adds additional confusion and inconsistency to this
The current change in attitude toward marijuana from negative to semi-positive is not a new phenomenon in
our country. The reputation and enforcement stance on many other drugs has changes from acceptable to
unacceptable or the reverse.
Using this week’s reading assignments as your source material, choose one of these drugs (Heroin, Cocaine
or Marijuana) and describe the following:
How did the drug initially arrive in the United States?
Was the drug received favorably or negatively by main stream society?
What historical impact has legislation had on the availability (legality) of the drug (example: Harrison Narcotic

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