Legalize Marijuana | Teen Ink

Legalize Marijuana

February 11, 2010
By Jordan901278 BRONZE, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
Jordan901278 BRONZE, Long Pond, Pennsylvania
1 article 0 photos 22 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Moloch! Burns down the love of the world." - Allen Ginsberg

You see marijuana leaves posted everywhere, don’t you? You see them on myspace profiles and stamped upon public building and proudly printed upon the waving signs of protestors throughout the country. Since 1937 this certain leaf has caused a formidable amount of controversy in this country of yours and mind, and the time has come to settle this ancient debate. The time has come to disregard the lies and dissipate the propaganda. The time has come to legalize marijuana.

Marijuana, the proper term being cannabis, has been used throughout history for a number of reasons. Ancient Chinese used it for religious or spiritual reasons. They also built with the hemp that’s contained in the cannabis plant. Hemp is a valuable alternative source for wood, paper, and even car fuel. The forefathers of America grew mass fields of the cannabis plant, for smoking as well as the production of hemp. Yes, George Washington had a grown cannabis field at Mount Vernon for many years. Benjamin Franklin processed hemp, as did Thomas Jefferson, at one of the first paper mills in America. In fact, this quote from Thomas Jefferson, proves it, “Hemp is the first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country.” Marijuana was legal until the campaign against it began in 1930, letting Thomas Jefferson’s famous quote down.

In 1930 Harry Anslinger, the Assistant Prohibition Commissioner of the Bureau of Prohibition enacted a campaign to criminalize the Possession, Cultivation, and Sale of the cannabis plant. He enacted this campaign in order to eradicate the minorities of early 20th century America as time would later tell. Since rich, white, land-owning males were beginning to exchange money to Mexicans and blacks and other minorities in ghettos for pot, Anslinger was outraged and launched the war. Not only was the campaign to eradicate America’s minorities, but also it was meant to monopolize the timber industry and DuPont industry, run by William Hearst. Hearst and Anslinger had joined hands to take down cannabis in order to eliminate competition of the timber, paper, fuel, and construction industries. Their campaign lasted seven years until cannabis was made illegal.
Anslinger published outright lies, such as that within one inhalation of marijuana smoke, you will die. Or such as, later in his campaign, one inhalation of marijuana smoke will turn you insane. Anslinger and his legion of followers proceeded to create “documentaries” on the dangers of marijuana. Such as the 1936 propaganda film “Reefer Madness”, which portrays young men and women jumping to their deaths and murdering each other after smoking marijuana. Scare-tactics and massive propaganda had horrified the American public. Men and women had become frightened to the point of running the opposite way of any seen cannabis plant, and due to this finally, in 1937, the Marihuana Tax Act was created, criminalizing the possession of marijuana. This later was repealed and became the Controlled Substances Act. Marijuana was now illegal in the United States.
So marijuana was said to be dangerous, but is it really? Truth is, no. In the United States alone, a combined average of 527,600 people die annually from the legal substances such as alcohol, tobacco, and over the counter medicines such as Aspirin. The number of people who have died from marijuana use: 0. Marijuana cannot cause death from overdose. In fact, scientists have disclosed that in order to find a lethal response from marijuana smoking, one would have to inhale several tons of marijuana in less than 15 minutes. Cannabis can be used to induce intoxicating effects in a number of ways, it can be smoked, drank, vaporized, and eaten. The only harmful way of using Marijuana is smoking it, which can cause some damage to the lungs, as with all inhaled smokes. Although, studies have shown marijuana smoke is extremely less dangerous than tobacco smoke, and actually instead of causing serious illnesses such as lung cancer, marijuana has been shown to kill cancer cells of many of it’s users. When marijuana is eaten, vaporized, or drank, it is virtually as harmless as drinking a cup of coffee. What kind of effects does it induce when eaten, drank, vaporized or smoked?

Marijuana can differ its effects depending on the way in which it is consumed. Usually, the positive effects of marijuana include: sudden feeling of joy, fits of laughter, sagacious protection, and in some cases, minor hallucinations. Negative effects include: dry mouth or throat, reddening of the eyes, sudden hunger (a.k.a the munchies), loss of perception, and minor loss of motor control. Insanity does not occur, nor does sudden urge to kill, much to the dissatisfaction of Mr. Anslinger and marijuana prohibitionists. Alas, a new form of marijuana prohibition emerged later in the 20th century under Ronald Reagan.
Under the Reagan administration the War on Drugs was launched. Which was meant to exterminate drugs from across the country and save the public’s lives. While the War on Drugs meant well, it has been established as a disaster. Innocent men and woman have been ripped away from their family and thrown in person for doing nothing more than sitting at home and smoking this plant. There have been cases of police breaking through homes and, once, even killing a family dog, as they raided the home for marijuana. Police busted indoor grow houses of marijuana and sentenced men and women to years in prison for doing nothing more than growing a few plants. Evidence of this comes with the sentence of Tommy Chong, American actor, comedian and marijuana activist. Chong had been sentenced to 9 months in federal prison in 2003 for doing no more than selling glass pipes and bongs on his website. Federal government officials had told media that Chong had also been processed for making fun of the American drug laws and marijuana prohibition in his movies and comedy acts. As it turns out free speech isn’t too important after all. Due to our economic recession, which has struck America the past few years, even more reasons have risen to legalize the cannabis plant.

Each year, even in our hard economic times, America spends billions of dollars funding the War on Drugs, which has proved to do nothing but strengthen drug cartels and organized crime lords. Since marijuana is illegal, the money spent on it funds criminals instead of funding the country, and the money spent on marijuana is no joke. In 2008, the illegal substance was the most Prosperous cash crop in the country, topping perfectly legal vegetables such as corn. The marijuana industry raked in about 35.8 billion dollars in 2008 continues in that same standard. Imagine what we could use nearly 36 billion extra dollars for in the United States economy? That, plus the 150 million dollars spent to cover court costs of marijuana offenders, PLUS if you tax marijuana, that’s even more money being brought into the American economic system. Furthermore, with our police officials not having to worry about petty marijuana smokers anymore, how much extra time would they have to capture real criminals? Murderers, kidnappers, child abductors could be locked away for years instead of filling our prisons with people who just smoked a plant. Ladies and gentlemen, the evidence is overwhelming. It is time to legalize marijuana.
Stop innocent people being ripped away from their homes and thrown in jail! Stop spending the taxpayers money to fund a failing War on Drugs! Stop the ignorant discrimination of the American pot-smoker! Begin the reform, the revolution of the pot leaf and help to legalize marijuana!

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This article has 41 comments.

Bob Marley said...
on Feb. 17 2010 at 2:41 pm
For sure dude. Solid article.

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