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Marijuana and its Legality

Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Sativa Indica, also known as Marijuana. A controversial subject with many positive and negative attributes. There are many people against it, but just as many for it, young, old, and anywhere in between. In my opinion, I believe that the legalization of marijuana is a good decision. Not only speaking from a previous users standpoint, but also from an economical and medicinal standpoint. The facts and information are readily available to anyone, it's just a matter of getting the right people to read it.

For most of human history, marijuana has been completely legal. It is not a recently discovered plant, nor is it a long-standing law. Its known uses go back further than 7,000 B.C. and it was legal as recently as when Ronald Reagan was a child. But when did it become illegal, and why? The Marihuana Tax Act passed in 1937 made the possession or transfer of cannabis illegal in the United States under federal law. It excluded medical and industrial uses, but with the cost of a hefty tax. The decision of the United States Congress to pass the Marihuana Tax Act of 1937 was based on hearings, reports and also in part on testimony derived from articles in newspapers owned by William Randolph Hearst, who had great financial interests in the timber industry, which manufactured his newsprint. In a nutshell, marijuana was made illegal because hemp was poised to take the place of paper and Hearst wanted to protect his investments in the timber industry. I believe the case should be reviewed because the decision was made based on a biased opinion of somebody trying to maintain their self worth.

The effects of marijuana are unique to that “drug” as are the effects of any other mind altering substance that is released into the human body. One unique characteristic about cannabis is that it cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity . It is said that one would have to consume an amount of marijuana equivalent to ones own body weight to experience an overdose. That is tens of thousands of dollars of marijuana. Not to mention the fact that you would pass out long before you could consume one five hundredth of that amount. Alcohol on the other hand, which is a completely legal mind altering substance is extremely easy to overdose on, its called alcohol poisoning. Approximately 50,000 cases of alcohol poisoning are reported in the United States every year. In 2001 there were 331 alcohol overdose deaths, and zero marijuana overdose deaths. The main argument that one would present in opposition to marijuana is that it is unhealthy for you, but there has never been a documented case of lung cancer, or any other cancer found in a marijuana-only smoker. Recent studies find that marijuana use is not associated with any type of cancer, it actually has the opposite effect, what is believed to be a protective effect. Alcohol on the other hand can cause cancers and cirrhosis of the liver. I think marijuana is starting to sound like the safer choice.

Cannabis, when introduced to the body causes one to calm down, relax a little bit, and enter a peaceful state of mind. Alcohol on the other hand can cause one to become mad, sad, and any other range of emotions in between. Studies find alcohol use contributes to aggressive behavior and acts of violence, whereas marijuana use reduces the likelihood of violent behavior. Alcohol use is highly associated with violent crime, whereas marijuana use is not. Three million violent crimes occur each year where victims say that the offender had been drinking at the time of the offense. Marijuana is a peaceful drug, legalization would reduce crime rates. Out of twenty random people I surveyed at my local Wal-Mart, twelve concurred that they believe marijuana should be legalized. Two people were undecided, that leaves six people who believe the current cannabis laws which are based not on facts and evidence, but on a single person trying to keep his business alive should remain in effect.

Economists say we face the greatest economic challenge since the Great Depression. But we can prevent it. Just like President Roosevelt ended prohibition in 1933 to stimulate the economy, bringing new jobs and more tax revenue, we can legalize marijuana and do the same thing through these hard times. The legalization of Cannabis is expected to bring $2.4 billion to $6.2 billion annually in regulated marijuana tax revenue. Not to mention the profit created by the new jobs that would become available. Marijuana would rival, if not surpass the profit generated by tobacco sales annually. Additionally marijuana's legalization would take part in the “go green” campaign by simplify the development of hemp as a valuable and diverse agricultural crop in the United States, including its development as a new bio-fuel to reduce carbon emissions. Marijuana arrests make justice more expensive and less efficient in the United States, wasting jail space, clogging up court systems, and diverting time of police, attorneys, judges, and corrections officials away from violent crime, the sexual abuse of children, and terrorism. Furthermore, taxation of marijuana can provide needed and generous funding of many important criminal justice and social programs. The money saved every year from not making marijuana related arrests combined with the profit and tax revenues would provide needed and generous funding of many important criminal justice and social programs.

One plant that can do so much. It can make fuel, rope, paper, plastics and much more. It has the ability to give our economy a very generous boost in the right direction. It is harmless, less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol, both of which are perfectly legal. Cannabis has many medicinal purposes as well, from treating nausea to glaucoma, it is a very versatile herb. Unemployment would decrease, the justice system could keep focused on what matters, it would do nothing but good things for people and for the economy. The facts are present, I believe that marijuana should be decriminalized and what better time than the present?


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