Marijuana. Friend or Foe?

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Marijuana is a drug that is illegal to consume or purchase in the United States, whether or not you are of age. Despite this fact, millions of people still use these drugs. It’s a simple cycle. Dealers from around the world, mainly South America, smuggle drugs into the USA, and sell them to anyone who will pay for them. Police try to chase them down. Who is right? Recent analysis has proven that marijuana has medicinal values and contains the potential to improve the economy. Thus, it is strongly suggested that marijuana should be legalized.

Also known as Cannabis Sativa, marijuana dates back to as early as 2700 B.C. in ancient China. It was first introduced to America in 1545 when European explorers visiting the new world observed the crop. In fact, it was so useful, for both medical and household purposes, by the time there were a decent amount of settlers in Jamestown in 1607, farmers were actually fined for not growing the marijuana plant. By 1617, marijuana was introduced to England, where it was used medically for treating ailments such as headaches, menstrual cramps, and toothaches. Marijuana had numerous daily purposes. From 1919 to 1938, a stronger form of marijuana was planted to be sold in American drug companies (“Marijuana-History” Science Encyclopedia). Since numerous people purchased the drugs, correspondingly, the economy flourished. Today in the 21st century, we can apply legalize marijuana to improve our medical and economical systems.

Let’s begin with the economy. The U.S. Census has roughly predicted that 62 million people in the United States consume marijuana annually (not including marijuana traffickers and marijuana producers), meaning that over the past 15 years, about 930 million people have used marijuana. Of this, only 22, 938, 241 people have been arrested, including 1,362, 571 marijuana traffickers and salesmen (Borden). Mathematically speaking, this means less than 2.5% of all marijuana users, traffickers, and salesmen have been arrested. In other words, the law is not being properly enforced. However, according to researcher Jon Gettman, Ph. D, we are spending about $10.7 billion in direct law enforcement, and another $31.1 billion as marijuana law enforcement taxes. Gettman admits that even this estimate of $42 billion a year may be an underestimate! Think of all America could do with $42 billion dollars, in just one year? For one thing, we could hire about 880, 000 teachers at the average US wage of $47, 602 a year. If not, we could plan a massive tax cut, putting about $150 per person back in taxpayers’ pockets. This means a family of four can get back $560 in taxes (Kampia). Perhaps, we can use the money to start paying off the $12 trillion debt the US is in. At any rate, there are better things to spend $42 billion on than ineffective marijuana drug enforcement squads.
Besides, by legalizing marijuana, the immense marijuana producing companies, which consist of millions of people, could become legal taxpayers, and so would the numerous consumers. This would majorly benefit our economy by providing us with not only more jobs in the new marijuana industry, but also an increase in collection of taxes for the government every time marijuana is sold and also an upsurge in the circulation of good and money. From another perspective, it will significantly clear jail cells, providing us with space for more dangerous criminals, while reducing the expenses of feeding and providing necessities for the jailed druggies.
Marijuana is an easy-to-grow crop with numerous household purposes. If legalized, it can be as useful as it was for settlers in the 1600s (Marijuana wasn’t used recreationally until the 1900s). The earliest known woven fabric was made of marijuana – that’s something new for we could try if we’re bored of the same old cotton clothes; marijuana clothes! Nevertheless, since marijuana is such an easy plant to grow, and there is such a great quantity of it despite its illegalization, marijuana clothes will be cheaper than cotton clothes. The plant can also be used, as it was for centuries, as food, incense, rope, and much, much more. (“Legalize Marijuana”) Pretty much, we could start a new industry.
As mentioned before, marijuana will also significantly contribute to the medical society at large. Just like Tylenol or Advil, if used properly, marijuana has vital medical benefits. This doesn’t necessarily mean curing toothaches and stomach aches like in the 17th century, but curing more significant side-effects of cancer treatments. For instance, Dr. Moe Afaneh, the COO of Cannabis Science, leads the creation of lotions that use oil extracted from Cannabis, the marijuana plant, to cure skin irritation, sunburn, and act as a sunscreen. It was also used to provide relief to conditions such as eczema (Business Wire). Cannabis has also been used to relieve muscle pain and glaucoma. It can cure some side effects from cancer treatments, such as lack of appetite, and is used as analgesia, or pain reliever (Deem). Most vitally, because marijuana has great medical safety, it can be used without much concern, as long as it is not abused. It has little physiological effects, there is no known case of lethal overdose, and it is far less subjective to overdose (“Cancer and Medical Marijuana”). Thus, marijuana should be legalized for its medical benefits.
All in all, marijuana may not be the widely formidable drug as the image the American government has imposed upon us by forbidding it. From medical uses to economic uses to household uses, marijuana may actually be a highly useful drug. Thus, it should be legalized for the benefit of medical patients, the benefit of taxpayers, and the benefit of all of America. Like everything, marijuana has its pros and cons. It’s about time we see the positive side.

Bibliography
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Borden, Mary J. "Crime - Tables." Drugwarfacts.org. Drug War Facts, Sept. 2011. Web. 3 Mar. 2012. <http://www.drugwarfacts.org/cms/Marijuana#Tables>.

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Kampia, Rob. "The War on Pot: America's $42 Billion Annual Boondoggle." Alternet.org. AlterNet, 9 Oct. 2007. Web. 27 Feb. 2012. <http://www.alternet.org/drugs/64465/>.

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