Legalize Marijuana Essay, Research Paper
The question of marijuana being legalized has been a very controversial issue for a long time. It?s been controversial because of the bad track record it has sustained over the years. Marijuana is considered to be a schedule one drug. That means that it has a high potential for abuse and lacks an acceptance for legal medical use, as it is clearly stated under the controlled substance act. It is estimated that 200,000,000 people have consumed the drug worldwide for pleasure, escape from reality, and relaxation. The main active principle of cannabis is tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and is what give the ?high? that is obtained from smoking or oral consumption of the drug. Marijuana is not a narcotic and is not mentally or physically an addicting drug. One can use mild cannabis preparations for years without physical or mental deterioration. When one weights the pros and cons of re-legalizing marijuana, the logical result is to abolish the senseless ban on pot because it has been proven to be less harmful than other legal drugs, it would decrease violence and crime, boost our economy, and be used as an effective form of medicine for the treatment of many fatal illnesses.
Every year, 400,000 Americans die of complications caused by tobacco products. Smoking kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, murder, suicide, car accidents, fires, and AIDS all put together. Alcohol abuse contributes to almost 50% of all traffic accidents, suicides, and homicides. Drinking also is known to cause liver damage and liver cancer, which is in many cases fatal. The bottom line is that tobacco
and alcohol are very high-risk drugs, much higher than marijuana. However, despite the proven dangers of these ?socially acceptable? drugs, they are still legal. Research has yet to pin any specific dangers to marijuana and it still remains illegal while the dangerous drugs with proven effects remain legal. The bottom line is that tobacco and alcohol are very high-risk drugs, much higher than marijuana.
Alcohol prohibition tore America apart once and now it is the war on drugs, particularly marijuana. Harsh laws and the threat of lengthy jail sentences still do not stop the distribution and drug use of marijuana. All they do is drive the price of the product up and give dealers a reason to sell, making it an impossible war to win. Just as Prohibition created organized crime, today’s drug laws keep organized crime thriving and all the violence and corruption that goes along with it. Before drugs were illegal, Americans handled them with few problems. Let us respect people?s right to control their own bodies. Decriminalize marijuana, help those who need it, and let the police spend their time protecting us from real crime. Making drugs illegal drives up their prices, so addicts steal to support their habit. People rarely steal to buy alcohol or cigarettes, although these substances are addictive too. Decriminalizing marijuana will end the stealing and make our streets safer.
Marijuana smoking is extremely common and for millions of mainstream, middle-class Americans is the recreation drug of choice. Our ex-president, professional athletes, movie stars, and many other successful Americans were or are avid pot smokers. A national survey conducted by United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) estimates that at some point in their life, 70 million people have tried marijuana.
They also say that 18 million people have smoked in the past year, and that 10 million people are current smokers. These numbers are extremely large considering that marijuana is illegal. Wouldn?t it make sense for the government to take over the cultivation and distribution of marijuana? If they played it right, they could make billions of dollars from this one plant. Think about this, the number one legal cash crop in 1990 was corn and it brought in 16 billion dollars to the U.S. Marijuana, that same year, had an estimated value of over 24 billion. That?s 24 billion in revenue of illegal money that the U.S. Government could be using to pay of debts or put toward education, but they wont see any of it. Instead they spend billions of dollars trying to keep it out of the U.S. Wouldn?t it make sense for the government to keep track of marijuana and sell licenses to farmers to grow it? Another way our government could benefit is by putting a steep tax on it, much like the tobacco industry. Could you imagine what a cash crop with the demand and industry of marijuana could do for our economy? Marijuana is going to generate large amounts of money, whether legal or illegal. What is going to be the difference is who is going to profit the U.S. economy or drug dealers.
Not only would the harvest of marijuana produce a massive industry from the smoking aspect, but also industrial hemp can be manufactured into 25,000 different products. Often described as marijuana’s misunderstood cousin, industrial hemp is from the same plant species (Cannabis sativa) that produces marijuana. Unlike marijuana, however, industrial hemp has only minute amounts of delta-9 tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive ingredient that gives marijuana its euphoric and medicinal properties. An indispensable raw material throughout our nation’s history (In 1640, the
Governor of Connecticut declared that, “Every citizen must grow the plant.”), industrial hemp is acknowledged as one of nature’s strongest and most versatile agricultural crops. Various parts of the plant can be utilized in the making of textiles, paper, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, and animal feed. In France, where approximately 10,000 tons of industrial hemp is harvested annually, companies even use coated hemp hurds to restore and build houses. Besides its spectrum of commercial uses, hemp offers other advantages as well. It produces a much higher yield per acre than do common substitutes such as cotton and requires virtually no pesticides. In addition, hemp has an average growing cycle of only 100 days and leaves the soil virtually weed-free for the next planting. Currently, hemp is grown legally throughout much of Europe and Asia and is being cultivated successfully in test plots in both Australia and Canada. Domestic sales of imported hemp products raked in an estimated $25 million dollars in sales in 1994 alone and the American Farm Bureau Federation recently called hemp “one of the most promising crops in half a century.? Fashion giants Adidas, Ralph Loren, and Calvin Klein recently added hemp goods to their clothing lines and Klein also has predicted that hemp would become “the fiber of choice” for the home furnishing industry.
The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes is an extremely controversial subject. There are many supporters, as well as many that are in opposition to the use of marijuana in any situation. California was the pioneer state for medical marijuana; they passed Proposition 215 that allows the use of marijuana to be used for medical purposes under a doctor?s supervision. Since then, Alaska, Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington have all passed laws of their own making the possession and use, cultivation,
and distribution of marijuana legal if prescribed by a physician. The intoxication, or ?high? acquired due to the smoking of marijuana, has two phases. These phases are initial stimulation followed by pleasant tranquillity. The initial stimulation includes giddiness and euphoria, then sedation and relaxation. Another result of marijuana is an increase in appetite known commonly as ?the munchies.? These side effects prove to be very effective for treatment of many common illnesses. Cannabis is thought to be effective in a wide range of conditions, including appetite enhancement for the wasting syndrome of AIDS, control of nausea and vomiting associated with cancer chemotherapy, relief of spastically and pain associated with MS (multiple sclerosis), a decrease in intramuscular pressure in glaucoma, and control of migraine headaches and epileptic seizures. The list goes on and on for the medical uses of marijuana and for the medicine world not to use this plant?s wide range of benefits would be foolish and unfair to the sick.
I, too, want to live in a society where people are healthy and productive, not destroying their lives with drugs. Marijuana is clinically determined to be not adictive and has many positive uses. I believe that the legalization of marijuana would not only benefit our economy and our sick, but our future generations with a decrease in violence and use of drugs. Let’s legalize marijuana so we can stop the violence and add a much-needed boost to our economy and medical technology.