The History of Marijuana Laws in the United States as viewd from a conflict and functionalist perspective Essay

1773 WordsMar 1, 20098 Pages
According to Conflict theory all social problems are the result of a power struggle, those that are in power and control the resources want to continue to be in power and control the resources, while those that are not in power and do not control resources want to (Kendal 17). The functionalist perspective argues that society is a stable system. In this stable system of society everything serves a valuable function, if an aspect of society fails to serve its function, or its function is no longer needed, it will be eliminated from society. The reason for elimination from society is that, according to functionalism, all aspects of society are interconnected; thus if there is a break down in one part of society, all other parts of society will be adversely affected (Kendal 15). Marijuana refers only to the leaves of the cannabis plant. The drug delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC as it is commonly referred to, is contained on the marijuana leaves. When ingested, THC produces a mind altering state, commonly referred to as a “high” (U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration). The history of laws regarding marijuana is interesting because their formation and implementation can be looked at from both the conflict and functionalist perspective. During the seventeenth century thru the early 1900’s, the production of the cannabis plant was actually encouraged by the United States Government. The reason for the production of cannabis was that hemp is made from the cannabis plant, and can be used to produce durable rope, clothing, and sails. From the functionalist perspective, the production of Marijuana served a valuable function to society. So much so that in 1619, Virginia passed legislation that required every farmer to grow cannabis. Furthermore, hemp was considered legal tender in the states of Virginia, Maryland, and Pennsylvania (PBS.org). It was not until

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