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“In 1995 0 people died from marijuana use. That same year 20,000 people died from alcohol. Tobacco kills more than 440,000 people each year.” (Briancbennett.com) After hearing this statistic, does it make sense that the use of marijuana, would be prohibited over the use of alcohol or cigarettes and cigars? No, it does not. The government demonizes marijuana without conclusive proof as to its supposed horrible effects, instead of educating people about it. As Ethan A. Nadelmann says,
“Drug warriors' tactics include arrests, seizures, incarceration and the intimidation of doctors who would prescribe pot for the terminally ill. Although marijuana can be dangerous if used irresponsibly, most who have used marijuana have not been permanently harmed. The government still discourages research that might not support its stand against marijuana. Research shows that increased potency of marijuana does not increase its danger, and no evidence proves that marijuana influences sexual development or permanently damages memory or other cognitive functions. Moreover, the ‘gateway theory’ which suggests marijuana leads to more dangerous drugs has no basis in fact.” (Opposing Viewpoints)
You might be thinking right now, “This makes no sense, the government wouldn’t lie to us and hide information from us.” If your thinking this right now I ask you to think about the fact that the government and its representatives lie and hide facts every day for their own ends. This situation is no different. Marijuana should not be illegal since there is no conclusive evidence that it is any more harmful than alcohol or smoking cigarettes, and is instead a choice of escape.
Before I explain why marijuana should be legal, we must look at why cannabis is currently illegal. One reason people use to defend cannabis’s illegality is the fact that it is a form of self-destruction. If this is the case then the government is extremely hypocritical, because if banning a substance were based purely on health risks then smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol would also have to be banned and they have not been. Professor Lynn Zimmer, a sociologist at Queens College, in New York approaches the issue of marijuana’s prohibition from a different perspective, “The war on drugs is really a war on marijuana… You can't scare middle-class parents with a war on heroin and cocaine. These drugs are too removed, too remote. Marijuana brings it home." (Opposing Viewpoints) So is marijuana prohibited because middle class America will not fully support a war on drugs unless it directly affects them? This would be a scary truth, because a person could never know whether any illegal substance is really harmful or whether it is illegal because the government declares it so to meet other ends. However, in the end, it is not totally clear why marijuana is illegal. I have presented two possible reasons from both those who oppose and support cannabis’ legalization. No formal logical explanation has ever been released.
Many issues concerning cannabis’s prohibition could be solved through simple testing and research. Ethan A. Nadelmann points out that,
“Since the early 1970s, the government has funded studies that have ended up proving that pot is not harmful, then disavowed the findings. In 1988, following an extensive review of the scientific evidence on marijuana, the Drug Enforcement Administration's own administrative-law judge, Francis Young, concluded that marijuana ‘in its natural form is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.’ Virtually every independent commission assigned to examine the evidence on marijuana and marijuana policy--including the Shafer Commission appointed by President Richard Nixon, a National Academy of Sciences committee in the early 1980s, and numerous others both in the U.S. and abroad--have concluded that marijuana poses fewer dangers to individuals and society than either alcohol or tobacco and should be decriminalized.” (Opposing Viewpoints)
Even government sponsored research and agencies have concluded that marijuana is not harmful. One would think that because of this the government would legalize marijuana for personal use. However, they have not, which leads me to believe that they are ignoring their own research. If the United States government’s own agencies recommend marijuana’s legalization, it would not make any sense to continue to ban its use or possession. However, the government could have other reasons for disavowing findings, but they have never explained these reasons. The research has been done by the government to find out the truth about marijuana and results have been obtained, but for unknown reasons the government renounces its own findings.
Two very important issues in the debate over whether or not marijuana should be legal is the issue of drug potency and the famous “gateway theory”. Ethan A. Nadelmann explains the potency issue perfectly,
“Even if marijuana potency had increased, that would not mean the drug has necessarily become more dangerous. It is impossible to consume a lethal dose of marijuana, regardless of its THC content. And in laboratory studies, smokers often fail to distinguish variations in potency of up to 100 percent. Increases of 200 percent to 300 percent in potency result in only 35 percent to 40 percent increases in smokers' "subjective high" ratings. "Bad trips" and other adverse psychoactive reactions typically have little to do with marijuana potency. Moreover, when potency increases, smokers tend to smoke less, thus causing less damage to their lungs.” (Opposing Viewpoints)
As for the “gateway theory”; there is no basis for this theory. In fact, it is usually true in opposite. People who take drugs such as cocaine and LSD often begin to smoke cannabis after these hard drugs. It is because people do not take drugs and then move up to less common ones, if anything they take less common drugs such as cocaine and then try more common ones such as marijuana. It is not clear as to how the “gateway theory” began since, as Ethan A. Nadelmann explains, “for a large majority of marijuana users, marijuana is a terminus rather than a gateway drug.” Meaning most users take marijuana instead of other drugs once they begin.
After examining the facts presented and the government’s own research one can easily see that it makes more sense to legalize marijuana than it does to criminalize it. The government spends millions of dollars a year to try and end the use of marijuana. It is all for naught, as Brian C. Bennet says, “…over 99 percent of the money spent annually on marijuana eradication may as well just be lit on fire directly,” (Briancbennett.com) because marijuana is no harder to get, even with all this tax money spent on its eradication. So with all the before mentioned research and evidence, I say; in the immortal words of Sublime, “Legalize it.”
im your daddy
im that *censor* in the alley
im your doctor
when in need
want some coke
have some weed
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