The Role of Hipsters in the Legalization of Marijuana
The internet is full of facts and statistics of how many college students are really smoking the herb these days, but it’s hard to believe that a pot smoker would be willing to tell a statistician or doctor they are partaking in illegal activities. Time News claims that 42% surveyed claimed to had tried marijuana. I would argue this percentage is much higher, especially among the younger generations. If the number is in fact much higher, then why do Americans continue to be punished for smoking weed if so many people aren’t even following the laws?
On top of the obvious disregard of the general consensus, the government continues to throw “criminals” into jail cells for participating in these scandalous crimes. Instead of American tax dollars going toward after-school programs, we are paying for these petty crimes. If marijuana was legalized and regulated by the government, this cash crop alone could provide over $10 billion tax dollars to Americans annually. Not to mention the medicinal benefits it can provide to millions of sick people. There is no reason marijuana should be illegal any longer, and it is time for people to stand up for what they believe and know is fair.
Every revolution must begin somewhere. The word revolution comes from the Latin root “revolutio”, meaning “a turn around. ” In a political sense, a revolution is a time of fundamental changes in organizational structures and a shift in power. Revolutions have occurred throughout all of human history, and the result is usually a modification in an existing constitution. This in turn affects a wide range of the culture, political, economic and other aspects of that society. People of a society find many reasons to start a revolution.
Almost every decade of the 20th century had some kind of revolution, from the beat generation to the hippies and even punk and grunge. Every single group of young people wanted to band together and show society that something had to adjust to better fit their needs. The three major theories of sociology can help develop a deeper understanding of why these revolts may begin. Conflict theory is the belief in forces of inequality and equality cause contradictions. Functionalism is the idea that positive systems are working well and the negative systems are not working well.
Symbolic interactionism is a focus on meaning and to create a “self-fulfilling prophecy. ” If people define a situation or problem as real, it is a real problem. In the news today, there is a lot of hearsay about groups of kids called “hipsters. ” Some may refer to this as a stereotype of some kind, but others like to believe it as a new counter-culture emerging onto the scene. Like other generations past, these hipsters are very misunderstood. The media has used adjectives such as apathetic and smug to describe them, which can be very misleading.
Almost every journalist will try to classify a hipster by the type of clothes they wear, the music they listen to, the stores they shop in, the food they eat or the places they hang out. As soon as you think you’ve spotted one and ask them about their hipster ways, they enter a complete denial mode and don’t want to own up to this persona. Then again, who would want to be a hipster when they are portrayed so negatively by the media and culture? While all these things are important, there is a much more important theme I couldn’t find in any article or news clip.
What do hipsters stand for? No matter how much research I would do, I still came across the same answer. Hipsters stand to not stand for anything. I have a hard time wrapping my head around this. Every counter-culture movement must stand for something. Otherwise, what’s the point of being so rebellious? I’d have to say many of the articles I read are very biased on their opinions of hipsters. Hipsters are clearly mistaken because of their attitudes and rebellious ways. Adults tend to view them as snobs, especially the ones who chose not to participate in government policy and activities.
This is clearly a way to show their distaste for the practice and way things are being run in society. Unfortunately, this is not a very proactive way of getting things done. It can be assumed that many hipsters partake in illegal activities, such as smoking weed and mass drug consumption. This generation of people feels their apathy and lack of motivation will cause a revolution in itself. Many hipsters believe in postmodernism and practice existentialism. This is apparent in their non-motivated committed action ways and independent ways of thinking.
Showing the government they don’t care about their policies, and making a point to show the system is not working is a clear representation all of the sociology theories. Conflict theory is represented in the contradictions in their ways verses the ways of other members and previous generations of society. The hipsters, more specifically, are a great representation of symbolic interactionism. What they stand for is real, and it must be treated as a real issue. Furthermore, the functionalist theory is evident when our government system is causing problems for itself when it could be creating a solution.
Prohibition has always been a cause of concern in America. Whether it is alcohol, marijuana, or the vast array of drugs now available, the government at some point felt these things were causing problems among its citizens and therefore should be illegal and banned. The hemp plant has been harvested and grown in America since the 1600s. Marijuana and the hemp plant have many uses and it is recorded being used as far back as the 7000BC. The Mexican Revolution in 1910 was the beginning of many biases over the use of marijuana.
Many Mexican’s started to cross the border into America, and with them they brought the marijuana plant. Mexican’s were infiltrating towns and taking over jobs and the American citizens were not pleased. The issue of racial biases was the major cause for states passing marijuana prohibition laws in Wyoming, Texas, Iowa, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Nebraska, and Arkansas from the years 1915 to 1927. Many American’s believed that marijuana made Mexican’s crazy, when really it was just that they were different and American’s were not used to their ways. Again in the 1930s, alcohol prohibition was on the rise.
Urban centers like Chicago, Harlem and New Orleans became a center for black jazz culture. With this music scene came the marijuana use; this made other white non-jazz listeners very uncomfortable. Racism yet again played a very prominent role in the criminalization of marijuana use. It was said in newspapers in 1934, “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice. ” There were also rumors spreading the marijuana made people act in violent manners and anyone convicted of crimes was sure to be smoking weed.
In 1930, the Federal Bureau of Narcotic was established in the United States and directed by Harry D Anslinger. This marked the beginning of the war on drugs and there was no stopping the extremely ambitious Anslinger from making marijuana illegal in all of the United States. He used tactics such as yellow journalism to convince the general public that only the “degenerate races smoked marijuana” and “it is an addictive drug which produces in its user’s insanity, criminality, and death. ” On August 2, 1937 the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was passed and Marijuana was officially illegal in the United States.
Many of the statements made in the trial were not based off fact and were complete lies. This law is a complete joke to the American constitution and law system. Anslinger made a mockery of the court room and judge with his tricks and conniving ways. After all of these years have gone by, extensive medical and social research has been done, yet there has been no action taken by the government. Many of the facts were based off of racial biases. After the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, American’s have learned to become more united and remove racial prejudices.
We should also remove any racial injustices we have written into our constitution, specifically the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937. It is only courteous after all the dedication that many men and women put into passing laws and uniting all Americans. As soon as we enter the social education system, we are taught right from wrong. We learn very quickly how to pick out the good kids from the bad. Usually the bad kids are caught doing the wrong more than acting right. Eventually we come to learn of the criminal justice system, through personal experience or curiosity.
Down the road, the words legal and illegal enter one’s vocabulary, and we can assimilate those words with right and wrong respectively. I can’t speak for previous generations, but I would have to say that the majority of 10 year olds I know have a basic knowledge of marijuana. Unfortunately, not all of them know it is illegal or the repercussions if they or someone they know is caught selling or smoking this herbal plant. There is a huge problem with young kids having access to marijuana through way of “drug dealers”.
These dealers are making huge untaxed profits on children and adults alike. If marijuana sales were regulated by the government, it would produce a combined savings and tax revenue of over $10 to $14 billion in just one year according to a report by Dr. Jeffrey Miron, an economics professor at Harvard University. Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of legal regulation would save $7. 7 billion on government expenses for prohibition enforcement. Depending on the way marijuana would be taxed, it could have returns between $2. and $6. 2 billion. These numbers do not even begin to include the money being spent on the criminal justice system to incarcerate drug traffickers and users. According to an article in TIME news, America spends $68 billion per year on corrections, and one-third of those being corrected are serving time for nonviolent drug crimes. We spend about $150 billion on policing and courts, and 47. 5% of all drug arrests are marijuana-related. This is a ridiculous amount of money the government is dealing with.
All these profits could be put toward much more contemporary and relevant issues, such as the global warming crisis or the war on poverty, or a even cure for AIDS. The problem with finding health benefits of marijuana is the government does not even want to fund clinical trials to prove marijuana can promote health and cure pain. In 1999, Paul Consroe, a professor of pharmacology at the University of Arizona, could not get the FDA to approve a clinical trial of marijuana for aids and cancer wasting. He believes the FDA turned him down because of political pressure.
Consroe said, “If you want to study its harmful effects, you can get all the money you want, but for this one, I would have spun my wheels forever. ” An FDA spokeswoman declined to comment on this issue. Fortunately, there have been some studies done in the past years that have had great results. No one has ever died from an overdose of marijuana, which is more than you can say for alcohol, and even that is legal. It is proven to relieve nausea and increase appetite, reduce pressure within the eye, reduce muscle spasms, and relieve chronic pain.
Therefore, medical researchers and professionals deem it beneficial for patients with AIDS, glaucoma, cancer, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy, and chronic pain. There was even a recent study done that showed marijuana many even stimulate the growth of brain cells, and can be used to help treat anxiety and depression. The main chemical in marijuana, THC, is brought up in almost every scholarly article about this plant. It is obviously the source of this great debate. THC is what keeps everyone wanting more of this great plant.
It has been suggested that THC may even prevent the formation of plaque in the brain, and this could be very useful for declining Alzheimer’s patients. There are very few people who feel the need to smoke every day. The United States Department of Health and Human Services reported that less than 1% of Americans smoke on a daily basis. Most people who do smoke marijuana do not develop a physical dependence to the drug. If they do, the withdraw symptoms are incredibly mild, if there are any at all. However great the benefits, there are still are some risks to smoking marijuana, as with the use of any recreational drug.
Some marijuana users experienced impaired thinking and memory, loss of coordination and balance, increased chance of heart attack, increased risk of lung cancer, increased risk of respiratory infection, and possible hallucinations. Marijuana may be linked to aggression. Many people smoking weed who claim they are trying to quit report irritability, lack of sleep, and anxiety. Many of these risks could be directly linked to smoking weed, but many of them are just assumed side effects. It is hard to prove that they are all a direct effects of smoking weed and they should not be determinant factors for marijuana to remain illegal.
Almost every drug approved by the FDA has equal or greater side effects than these, and some of those drugs are not even as useful as the marijuana plant could be for millions of people. There are countless facts proving there is no reason the government should be denying our access to marijuana; which is exactly why all these “hipsters” are smoking weed anyways. They don’t care what the government says about foreign policy or filling out the US Census. They make it apparent they don’t care what everyone thinks of them by the way they dress and the music they listen to.
The specific things they do care about are themselves and having access to the things they enjoy. If everyone is going keep smoking weed anyway, then it should be regulated by the government to make sure everyone has equal access and in the end the benefits could be countless. It’s time for the government to change some policies around and make a non-functioning system work again. In California, medical marijuana licenses allow anyone with symptoms of chronic pain, cancer, or the list of various diseases to receive weed out of a marijuana vending machine. This concept has virtually eliminated drug dealers.
If every state would catch on to this great idea, the world of weed would enter a whole new reality where kids wouldn’t have access to dope and drug dealers wouldn’t be driving around in Bentleys. Maybe the hipster’s attitude needs to evolve in to a more proactive and committed to action style, but I have positive aspirations that soon the legalization of marijuana will soon be a reality.