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HIST/HUMAN 230: Reflections Format Sample

Films in American Culture - Carmen Hoover

Sample "A" Paper

Week one reflection

            Last week when watching the film Prohibition I thought it was very interesting that beer was advertised as a health drink. I thought how strange that people would believe that pregnant women should drink a beer for their babys health. I also thought it was informative how those in the Temperance moderation movement (Prohibition film) started using schools and text books to show how alcohol causes health problems and delirium. It was very interesting how they said just one cup of alcohol could cause death. It is also interesting to think about drug education in schools now. How much of it is accurate?  Does education on drugs lead to drug use? Pros and cons of D.A.R.E http://dare.procon.org/#Background

            The fact that prohibition of alcohol did not stop people from drinking instead it caused a lot of people to break the law makes me wonder if the war against drugs in general is a lose cause because people are willing to break laws to get drugs. Could this be another one of those things that just causes more lawlessness? What if we made drugs legal and regulated them like we do alcohol and tobacco? I know this would not get rid of drugs but then I think making them illegal didnt either. However I think we could make it safer for those who do choose to use drugs. Just like alcohol we could set an age limit. Another thing that seemed educational was that those who did drink, drank more during prohibition than before it. According to the Pew Research Centers data, a historic number of Americans -- a majority of 52% --  now support marijuana legalization, and even more -- 60% of Americans -- say the federal government should not intervene in state-sanctioned marijuana laws.  While younger Americans (65% of Millennials and 54% of Generation Xers) are the most likely to support marijuana legalization, Baby Boomers (50%) and the older Silent Generation (32%) are increasingly favoring marijuana legalization, too.(http://www.alternet.org/poll-most-americans-not-buying-feds-drug-war-propaganda)

            When I read the prologue I was shocked to read about an ex-cop who wanted to legalize drugs. Then reading that after eighteen years on the force he never once received a call for help from a battered housewife or anyone else because of marijuana. I started thinking about whether or not I had misconceptions about people who use marijuana. Are we as a country wasting money and time searching cars for marijuana that could be used elsewhere? Convinced that the laws against marijuana were a lot wackier than the weed, Wooldridge and several ex-cops formed a group called Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) in 2002,(Lee 2). Here is a video asking the president if there will ever come a time that we will talk about end the war on drugs.  http://copssaylegalize.blogspot.com/2011/01/in-youtubes-ask-obama-contest-drug.html

            The father of traditional Chinese medicine Shen Nung recommended marijuana, for more than a hundred ailments, including female weakness, gout, rheumatism, malaria, constipation, beri-beri, and absent-mindedness, (Lee 4). I had no idea that marijuana was part of traditional Chinese medicine. Beri-beri is a caused by a deficiency of thiamin (vitamin B1) and characterized by impairment of the nerves and heart. Symptoms include loss of appetite and overall lassitude, digestive irregularities, and feelings of numbness and weakness in the limbs and extremities,(Britannica.com). http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/61908/beriberi I can see were marijuana would help people with beri-beri because the drug causes appetite to increase. There seems to be a lot of evidence supporting medical cannabis makes me wonder why the government did not keep medical cannabis all along.

            I thought it was very enlightening that Domestic hemp industry prospered during the early days of the American republic in large part because black slaves were utilized to plant, harvest, and process the crop,(Lee 18). I also had no idea that hemp had so many uses and I wondered why we switched to cotton? Then I read that the cotton gin made harvesting the cotton easier. While fiber hemp decline in commercial value that plants curative reputation was surging during the Civil War. (Lee 19) I can imagine that with all the wounded soldiers in need for a painkiller. The introduction of marijuana probably could have help a lot of soldiers to be relieved of their pain which, would also have been a substitute for hard liquor as a means of pain suppressant.

            In 1860, the Ohio state Medical Society conducted the first official U.S. government study of cannabis, surveying the medical literature and cataloging an impressive array of conditions that doctors had successfully treated with psychoactive hemp, ranging from bronchitis and rheumatism to venereal disease and postpartum depression,(Lee 26) I found it very amazing that founder of modern medicine Sir William Osler endorsed cannabis as the best treatment for migraine headaches, menstrual cramps and insomnia. Its oddly strange that the U.S. made all forms of cannabis illegal and that states had to fight for the right to have and sell medical cannabis. The results of the report on medical cannabis by the Institute of medicine (of the national Academy of Science) are being disseminated, and controlled studies will soon be undertaken and published. As a result, the US government will have to modify its policy of insistent denial that cannabis has medical uses,(Grinspoon). http://web.ebscohost.com/ehost/detail?vid=12&sid=418b005d-570a-4fd7-9695-da02668a85bc%40sessionmgr198&hid=125&bdata=JnNpdGU9ZWhvc3QtbGl2ZQ%3d%3d#db=aph&AN=3984420

            Ludlow was the first American scribe to stake his reputation on the claim that certain substances, especially cannabis, can enliven consciousness and arouse creativitya belief that many young people would embrace with fervor in the 1960s,(Lee 33). I think a lot of people tried cannabis because they read about somebodys experience while on the drug. I thought it was very interesting that the movies made to stop people from smoking cannabis actually ended up getting some people to try it.

            The Harrison Act of 1914 extended federal control over narcotics so that a nonmedical consumer could not legitimately possess opiates or cocaine,(Lee 41) For the first time there was a legal distinction between medical and recreational drug use in the U.S. Though it seems that this act was used to trick physicians into giving narcotics to police informants pretending that they needed a painkiller. This also laid the foundation for drug prohibition. It seems to me that this did not stop drugs from being sold in the U.S. instead 25,000 doctors were arrested, 3,000 served prison sentences, and thousands more had their licenses revoked. Targeting doctors for prescribing medicine to those in need instead of looking for street dealers and their suppliersstrikes me as a cheap shot only to impress the news publications and government leaders looking for votes.