Burning More Green for Prohibition
The war on drugs in the United States has been going on since President Reagan was in ofﬁce. Marijuana seems to be the warʼs main focus. Marijuana or cannabis is less harmful and more useful than alcohol and tobacco combined, yet the government spends over 10 billion dollars a year on prohibition. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man (US Department of Justice).
The legalization of marijuana would save the government billions of dollars, and can be used in many other ways besides as a recreational drug.
Cannabis/hemp was our planetʼs largest agricultural crop and an important
industry of products and enterprises up until 1883 AD (Wallach).
Hemp has many environmental, industrial, and medical uses. It can be used to make food, fuel, clothing, cosmetics, paints, paper, building materials, and more. Hemp is the standard ﬁber of the world. It has great strength and durability and is used to make over 5,000 textile products (Wallach).
Paper made from hemp is stronger, ﬁner, and longer-lasting than wood-based paper. Using hemp instead of other harmful materials could save millions of dollars.
Hemp has been used as medicine for ages. In India, the use of hemp extracts as
a remedy was described before 1000 B.C. (Mikuriya 34).
In 1839, the therapeutic use of cannabis was introduced to Western medicine. Cannabis was described to have medicinal properties such as analgesia, anticonvulsant action, appetite stimulation, ataraxia, antibiotic properties and low toxicity. It has been used for the management of
... does the federal government still forbid the cultivation of cannabis? Marijuana is much safer, more effective, and less costly than ... on than cracking down on marijuana users. The most resourceful crop on earth, cannabis yields industrial hemp for canvas, oil, fiber, ... than waging war on marijuana users, this resourceful crop should be legalized and utilized. The cannabis sativa plant produces more ...
pain, chronic neurologic diseases, convulsive disorders, migraine headache, anorexia, mental illness, and bacterial infections (Mikuriya 35).
With many important medicinal uses, we should take advantage of this remarkable plant.
What are the harmful effects of marijuana? Many people believe different things,
because the government has done biased research. However, most of these harmful effects are myths such as, marijuana kills brain cells. In 1974, a study by Dr. Heath of Tulane University was put into action to study this myth. In this study, monkeys were pumped full of marijuana equal to 30 joints a day. The monkeys began to die after approximately 90 days (The Union).
Brain damage was determined after counting and comparing the number of dead brain cells in the monkeys subjected to the marijuana and those that had not. The cannabis smoking monkeys had enormous amounts of dead brain cells in comparison to the control group. However, what was not mentioned in the study was that Dr. Heath pumped 63 columbian strength joints through a gas mask without additional oxygen. He suffocated the tested monkeys then correlated the dead brain cells to smoking marijuana. “With the concentration of smoke used, the monkeys were a bit like a person running the engine of a car in a locked garage for 15 minutes at a time every day” (Herer).
The government has continued to fund biased research they believe justiﬁes the prohibition.
Another much disputed effect from marijuana smoke is that it causes lung
cancer, like tobacco. There has been no proven cases of cannabis causing lung cancer. Cannabis smoke does cause irritation to the large airways of the lungs, but the symptoms dissipate when smoking is discontinued. Tobacco smoke causes long term and permanent damage. There are about 400 chemical compounds in cannabis smoke.
Sixty of these are known to have therapeutic value (Herer).
There are over 430 thousand deaths a year caused by tobacco diseases, but there are zero recorded deaths attributed to marijuana (The Union).
... tobacco-user smokes in relation to a normal marijuana smoker. There have been many assumptions that marijuana will cause long term brain damage ... one has EVER died of a marijuana overdose."Marijuana is a "gateway" drug that leads to hard drugs." This statement is a recurring ... skin effects, and muscle and nerve effects to these drugs.Drugs administered to treat the side effects of nausea, and vomiting ...
To ingest enough marijuana to suffer an overdose, one human being must smoke around 15 thousand joints in 20 minutes (The Union).
This raises the question; why is the government subsidizing tobacco but spending billions of dollars on the prohibition of marijuana?
More kids are in addiction clinics for marijuana than any other substance (The
This leads society to believe that marijuana is an addictive substance. Most of the kids in the clinics were caught using marijuana and given the option of treatment or jail. Almost all of them choose treatment for a perceived non-addiction instead of spending time in prison. Two researchers were asked to rate drugs in the order of addiction with Nicotine coming in ﬁrst, then alcohol, heroine, cocaine, caffeine, and marijuana coming in last (The Union).
The user of marijuana, when deprived of the drug, will not experience the agonies of withdrawal (Subject Narcotic).
Another argument is marijuana is a gateway drug. Marijuana has no inherent
psychological pharmaceutical properties that pushes the user towards another drug. Only one in every 104 marijuana users will move on to cocaine (The Union).
Legalizing marijuana could considerably reduce the possibility of moving on to harder drugs. Regulation of the drug could keep it off the streets, and out of the hands of drug dealers who offer their buyers harder drugs. Additionally, it would help eliminate the possibility of marijuana being laced with cocaine, acid, or meth. Americaʼs largest illegal cash crop is grown exclusive by unregulated criminals, often in environmentally damaging
locations such as national parks and wilderness areas. Such problems are unknown with legal, regulated crops such as tobacco (MPP).
The prohibition is costing the government nearly $7.7 billion annually on law
This is a small number compared to the amount of money marijuana brings into the black market. Marijuana costs more than gold, at about $200 an ounce (The Union).
The prohibition of marijuana costs taxpayers $41.8 billion annually (Hardy).
In British Columbia, Canada, the illegal business of marijuana employs anywhere from 90 to 150 thousand people (The Union).
... million other adults who used marijuana last year can make is the martini ("Against Drug Prohibition" ix). The legal acceptance ... Prohibition"). Drug smugglers tend to carry and sell hard drugs in extremely potent form (i. e. cocaine) for the same reason. The federal government ... Journal of Medicine, August 1997). American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Foundation of Northern California co-counsel Ann ...
Is the prohibition worth this much money, and is it working?
In 1920 there was a national prohibition of alcohol. The plan was to reduce crime
and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve health and hygiene in America. The results were the complete opposite. During the prohibition, alcohol consumption went up, organized crime increased, court and prison systems were stretched to breaking point, and corruption of public ofﬁcials was rampant (Thornton).
If the alcohol prohibition was such a failure, the government shouldʼve known the prohibition of marijuana would not bring different results.
Marijuana production has been considered a gift of revenue to organized crime
and tax payer burden.
There have been almost 9.5 million arrests in the United States since 1995, Including 872,720 arrests in 2007, which is more than all violent crimes combined. One person is arrested for marijuana every 36 seconds. About
of all marijuana arrests are for possession, not manufacturing or distribution (MPP).
The growers and drug dealers are making anywhere from 150 to 300 thousand dollars a year (The Union).
Neither of them wish to see marijuana legalized. Without the prohibition, thousands of people will lose their jobs including, dealers, growers, clippers, and many more. The prohibition is fueling the black market. Dealers want to see the penalties become stiffer because they will proﬁt more. This makes it harder to regulate areas of concern, like keeping marijuana out of the hands of minors. Dealers donʼt care how old the buyer is, theyʼll sell to six year olds as long as theyʼre making money. Every year about 85% of high school students consider marijuana “very easy” to obtain (MPP).
Shouldnʼt this be the governmentʼs main concern? Vigorous enforcement of the marijuana laws forces the toughest, most dangerous criminals to take over marijuana trafﬁcking, linking marijuana sales to violence, predatory crime, and terrorism (MPP).
Current laws enforcing marijuana prohibition further overcrowd jails and divert scarce public safety resources away ... . C.'s most valuable farm industry at $245 million per year So far, 26 states and the District of Columbia have ... is no known case of lethal marijuana overdose, marijuana is safer than aspirin. One thousand people a year die of aspirin overdose. The ...
More than 41,000 Americans are in state or federal prison on marijuana charges,
not including those in county jails. Thatʼs more than the number imprisoned on all charges combined in eight individual European Union countries (MPP).
The U.S. nonviolent prisoner population is larger than the combined populations of Wyoming and Alaska (Irwin).
Legalization would reduce the amount the government spends in prisons. Federal spending to incarcerate drug offenders totals around $3 billion a year (ONDCP).
Most of the arrests made for marijuana are for possession and distribution. Few of these arrests are for violent crimes. A person must serve a ﬁve-year mandatory minimum sentence if federally convicted for the cultivation of 100 marijuana plants. This is longer than the average sentences for auto theft and manslaughter (MPP).
The government needs to take advantage of the cannabis plant, instead of
spending ten billion dollars a year on prohibition. Legalization would save a lot more than money. Using hemp for paper instead of trees is only one of many things that would help our environment. The US economy is down, and legalizing marijuana could be part of the solution. Studies show that marijuana is virtually harmless and it has many medicinal uses. Keeping the prohibition is making marijuana dangerous because it is put into the hands of criminals. Legalization would also open up many jobs. Considering the income cannabis plants could bring the government, it seems only logical that ending the prohibition would be a solution.
Work Cited Rosenthal, Ed, and Steve Kubby. Why Marijuana Should be Legal. New
York, NY: Thunder’s Mouth Press, 2003. 1-179. Print. Ofﬁce of National Drug Control Policy, “National Drug Control Strategy: FY 2003 Budget
Summary” (Washington, DC: Ofﬁce of the President, February 2002), Table 3,
pp. 7-9. Thorton, Mark. “Alcohol Prohibition Was a Failure.” CATO institute 157
(1991): n. pag. Web. 31 Mar 2010. Hardy, Quentin. “Cost of Marijuana Prohibition: $42 Billion Per Year.”
Green Change (2007): n. pag. Web. 31 Mar 2010. “Marijuana Prohibition Facts.” Marijuana Policy Project (2009): n. pag.
... legal drugs with illegal drugs Prohibition Ensures Misuse (November 22, 1996) web Donald Tashkin, Physician, New England Journal of Medicine Is Frequent Marijuana Smoking ... no doubt. But the 20 years to life is for the marijuana, and the added 5-year sentence is for the weapons charge ... staff writer for The Birmingham News reported that a 46 year old man could face life in prison after pleading guilty ...
Web. 31 Mar 2010. Sanders, Denis. Subject: Narcotics. Sanderʼs Production company, 1951. Herer, Jack. The Emperor Wears No Clothes. 11th. Van Nuys, CA. : Ah Ha
publishing, 1998. 1-291. Print. Mikuriya, Tod H. . “Marijuana in Medicine.” January 1969: 34-40. Print. US Department of Justice, Drug Enforcement Administration, “In the Matter of Marijuana
Rescheduling Petition,” [Docket #86-22], (September 6, 1988), p. 57. Irwin John, Ph. D., Schiraldi Vincent, and Ziedenberg Jason, America’s One Million
Nonviolent Prisoners (Washington, DC: Justice Policy Institute, 1999), pg. 4. Wallach, Elicia. “The Power of Hemp.” (2007): n. pag. Web. 12 Apr 2010.
. The Union: The Business Behind Getting High. Director Brett Harvey,
Adam Scorgie. 8 June 2007