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Why Legalize Marijuana?
The Case for Marijuana Legalization
Legalizing marijuana is a topic that hasn't received the attention it deserves because so many people dismiss it as the delusional rants of Cheech and Chong individual and dropout high school students who (it's irrationally implied) would be the 4.0 geniuses if they just hadn't stumbled onto this evil, evil, weed. Now before jumping fully into this, just to make sure I'm not overstepping some vague legal rules: this hub does not endorse doing anything illegal, but is here to make a true rhetorical argument for why legalizing pot should at least be considered.
While billions of dollars are being spent on cheap drugs, even though compared to medical marijuana, cheap pharmaceutical drugs are insanely dangerous, many with side effects that are fatal. It's nearly incomprehensible that a natural plant that has been used as medicine for centuries is banned while drugs that cost up to or over $100 a pill, and can damage the kidneys, liver, heart, or even cause death, are seen as good things, even though some work a paltry 30% of the time or less.
News media tells us marijuana rehabilitation is critical, and that pot is dangerous. Look, if you're truly addicted, go ahead and get help. But marijuana does not have the chemical dependency that other drugs have - meaning if there is addiction, it's never physical, the way many prescription drug addictions are.
There is a great case for legalized marijuana, not only on the medical level, but on the economic, societal, and common sense levels, as well. Maybe "marijuana recovery" should stop being hoisted as propaganda, and should be a service for those few who truly need it. How many alcoholics would go to AA if Prohibition was still in effect?
There is a lot of propaganda out there about pot, and all I'm asking for those reading this is to give the argument for (and against) legalization a fair shake, and to not let beliefs founded on propaganda, someone else's moral standards, or beliefs unfounded in fact to sway you. Look at the arguments and decide for yourself. There are plenty of individuals who don't smoke marijuana (or don't smoke it anymore) and still think it should be legalized, so let the facts help you make your decision, not the propaganda.
And for those who are yelling at me that there is no propaganda: watch the movie Reefer Madness and remember that often times marijuana was referred to in the 1920s as "Mexican Murder Weed," proving that government propaganda can also be racist.
Marijuana Plant PhotosClick thumbnail to view full-size
Marijuana Reference Books
Legalized Marijuana: 5 Arguments For Legalization
1) Prohibition of Marijuana has failed MISERABLY. There are millions of regular pot smokers in the United States despite increasingly harsh laws, and it's estimated that as many as 50 million may have tried pot - and those numbers are probably low since people tend to be less eager to admit to a practice that is so harshly punished.
Even the government admits use by over 25 million annually. Pot is the largest cash crop in the United States, yet none of that money gets taxed and most of it goes out of the country because of drug laws. Marijuana has been used for centuries - short of finding a way to brainwash and control the entire world, its use will never be wiped out. Prohibition of alcohol created the mafia: harsh drug laws have helped to create drug cartels. Getting rid of the anti marijuana laws will get rid of the worst problems.
2) Arrests for Marijuana possession are disproportionate to minorities. One study shows that police are more likely to "let it slide" if the person in possession is a white college student. Pure statistics show that the arrests for drug use are disproportionate by race - and don't give me the "minorities use drugs more" bull crap. Disproportionate means disproportionate.
African-Americans make up only 13% of the population, and only about 15% of annual marijuana users. But they're 26% of all marijuana arrests for use. Hispanics make up an even higher amount of arrests, despite being 15% of the population. So 28% of the pot smoking population makes up over half the arrests, while approximately 70% of pot smokers (white) account for less than half of arrests. The punishments are also disproportionately light on white offenders, and heavier on minorities.
3) Regulated legal markets for marijuana would reduce teenage exposure. Yes, there are teens who pay adults to buy beer for them, and pot would probably work the same way, but there are millions of teens who smoke pot now when it's illegal. It's big money for other teenagers who can hook up with dealers to sell it. If marijuana was legal and regulated, it would be a lot less valuable, making it far less profitable for the lazy teenage entrepreneur. Legalized marijuana would not only likely cut down on the number of teenage dealers, but that would also keep them further away from exposure to more serious drugs that should remain outlawed.
4) Legalized Marijuana keeps money in the U.S. and out of foreign cartels. One argument I hate is "Marijuana funds terrorism." Really? Marijuana is not grown in Afghanistan. Or Saudi Arabia. Or Iran. Or Sudan. Or Libya. ((UPDATE: As this hub is five or six years old, this has changed as Afghanistan now is one of the world's largest producers of marijuana, which was not the case at the time of publication)) Yes, money from the U.S. ends up with cartels, while the U.S. spends billions of dollars more prosecuting marijuana offenses when PCP, cocaine, LSD, and meth are far more dangerous drugs that should be getting more attention. If marijuana was legal, it would be cheapest grown, processed, and produced in the United States, putting marijuana based cartels out of business and allowing government agencies to focus on far more important matters while a giant source of new income could be used to fund education, help to balance soaring deficits, and even be used to stamp out meth.
5) Like it or not, Hemp has enormous potential and use. Hemp can make great natural rope. It can be used for clothes, and some of the most efficient and cleanest bio fuels in the world could be produced from hemp. This would allow incredibly efficient ethanol and butanol for vehicles to run on, while keeping crop prices affordable AND allowing the few surviving family farms to grow this cash crop instead of corporations. So legalized marijuana could save the environment and the family farm in one move.
These are just a few of reasons to consider reversing the current policy of outlawed marijuana. Consider these, and maybe if you were previously opposed to the legalization of marijuana, maybe the outlawing of this plant begin to seem foolish when compared to the potential benefits of regulated legalization.
Should Cancer and AIDS patients suffer so pharmacies can pad profits?
Legalized Regulated Marijuana: 5 More Arguments
1) Propaganda, misinformation, and blatant lies are the basis for illegalized marijuana. Marijuana is less harmful than aspirin and peanut butter as far as directly causing deaths. Are we going to outlaw all food from food poisoning? Aspirin because of Reyes Syndrome? Peanut butter because some people are allergic? The dangers of marijuana, especially compared to legal prescription drugs, are next to nothing. Alcohol is far worse. Chocolate and refined sugars are more dangerous. Peanut butter is more dangerous. Marijuana was once referred to by our government as "Mexican Murder Weed." Enough is enough, and the reason anti-marijuana propaganda uses fear is because the facts don't benefit the position.
2) Marijuana is NEVER lethal. Marijuana is not toxic and lethal the way the other drugs are that it is often grouped with. Scientific studies show that marijuana is not toxic to humans, and the "overdose" amount is so unrealistic as to be laughable. As in 1,500 lbs. in 15 minutes. Smoking that much pot is impossible. One thousand people couldn't do it. Alcohol and tobacco are both more addictive and dangerous than marijuana. Look at the chart at the bottom of this hub to see some statistics on the many common and uncommon causes of death that outrank marijuana. Mary Jane is certainly safer than both tobacco and alcohol - it's not even close in comparison.
3) The cost of fighting marijuana is ridiculous considering budget shortfalls. There are schools in inner cities that have history books printed before the moon landing, with references to segregation as a necessary part of current society. But there's no money for education. There's meth running amuck causing robberies, violent crimes, and killing sprees, but that's not important. But there is time to bust 750,000 people a year for possession, at a cost of over $36,000 a prisoner per year. This wastes jail space, clogs up court systems, wastes time of judges and law enforcement, and funnels badly needed time and funding from far more needed causes. Add that to the fact of the sheer amount of money that could be made from taxing marijuana, and getting more cops on those 25,000 murder cases a year instead of busting a guy who likes to work 40 hours a week, go home and smoke a joint and stare at a Pepsi can...there might be something to that. The economics are ridiculous.
4) Marijuana and hemp have multiple positive attributes. Marijuana is nothing like meth, which destroys lives, families, homes, and societies. Marijuana has been used for its medicinal properties for centuries, and has shown incredibly effective painkiller (and appetite stimulant) for cancer and AIDS victims, offering a much higher quality of life as well as more life after suffering from these ailments. Aside from that hemp can make an incredibly efficient form of bio diesel that doesn't cut into the world's food supplies.
As a recreational choice for adults, marijuana is far less harmful than tobacco, and tends to have a calming and mild effect, while alcohol makes many adults violent and verbally and emotionally abusive. Between these three, marijuana is by far and away the least harmful. Which would you prefer: a guy listening to Pink Floyd trying to match it up to The Wizard of Oz, or a drunk getting angrier and angrier before he looks for his gun?
Legalizing Marijuana separates it from the real problem drugs, and allows society and law enforcement to concentrate on them. Marijuana is nowhere close to being in the same league as LSD, PCP, crack/cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, or meth. In fact, tobacco and alcohol are closer to most of those drugs than marijuana is. Meth and crack/cocaine absolutely destroys communities, people's lives, and brings violent behavior and crime. Marijuana does not.
There might be a very tiny minority that are for complete legalization of all drugs, but that's not what most pro-legalization of Marijuana people want. Legalize it, tax it, and regulate it the way you would alcohol or tobacco. This is much more reasonable, and then money can be spent on hammering the meth problem and on much more important matters. Not to mention that the sheer amount of taxable income from this could even make a dent in balancing budgets.
Why Legalize Marijuana? Here are More Reasons to Legalize Pot.
Interesting site giving advice and information on helping people to free themselves of the addiction of heroin.
- The Science of Medical Marijuana
Fantastic site actually showing the results of scientific studies, and even the ones slanted by "unfriendly" sources (like the Bush White House) even came to the same conclusion. Look at the studies for yourself.
- Great "Legalize Marijuana" Flash Video
Includes ten cartoons on arguments for legalizing marijuana, using great satire. If you're tired of propoganda and stupid excuses, these mini films are great!
- Should Pot Be Legalized?
A good approach to trying to figure out through logic (and not emotion) whether or not marijuana should be legalized.
- National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws
A great organization using common sense and *gasp* facts and actual examples to help support the argument for the reform of harmful marijuana Prohibition laws in the United States.
- 10 States Decriminalized Marijuana
Find out what states have actually decriminalized marijuana, as many more states continue to vote on the matter.
You might not agree with everything on here, or maybe you do, but it's an interesting website either way you cut it.
- 101 Reasons to Legalize Marijuana Blog Post
Plenty of food for thought to chew on regarding the legalization of Marijuana.
- 750,000 Die a Year Because of "Medicine"
It's a startling statistic that doesn't get nearly enough attention.
How Becoming a Christian Led to Me Supporting Legalized Marijuana
Marijuana is not physically dangerous. More people have died from prescriptions drugs, firearms, alcohol, aspirin, or peanut butter than from marijuana. No one dies directly from smoking marijuana. I think the problem with the debate over marijuana is that propaganda and beliefs play too much of a role as opposed to facts and common sense. My personal irony of this is that I believed the myths and was adamantly opposed to marijuana until halfway through college.
When I was a sophomore in college I had my first major religious experience and converted to Christianity. This actually became the catalyst that changed my mind. Jesus talked about always being truthful, so I set about reading up on subjects, and as I read up on the arguments it became clear to me that the arguments for keeping marijuana illegal weren't logical or based on facts.
The more I studied, the more clear this became. Aside from that, common experience told me that stoners were generally just hanging out, doing their thing, watching "Alice in Wonderland" over and over and "stimulating our economy" by spending paychecks on food. The drinkers, some of whom would later be lauded as conservative moral leaders, shattered bottles on my door, picked fights in the hall, vomited in the bathroom sinks, and had huge loud fights for everyone to hear.
The stoners were much better company, and their get togethers never ended in fights. They also had a higher combined GPA than the drinking frats.
Since at that point in my life I wanted truth, logic, and fact to dictate the way I thought, I switched from being against legalized marijuana to being very strongly for it. The arguments for legalization are too strong to ignore.
Common "Facts" Against Marijuana Debunked:
"It's a gateway drug." There is no chemical dependency from marijuana. First of all, if there is an end all be all gateway drug, it's alcohol. Second, you are more chemically addicted to Pepsi, Marlboro, or Budweiser than pot. Some people are going to try anything no matter what, and some people have addictive personalities, but Mary Jane is not a gateway drug the way it is portrayed.
"If we legalize it everyone will run out and become an addict." 25 million people already admit to smoking pot regularly. 15 million more admit to occasionally partaking. Yet students still graduate college, work still gets done, and the economy hasn't collapsed ((well it is, but due to rich scumbugs running corporations who would rather have everyone scream about a drug they don't use as opposed to watch our 401-k while they rape the economy before demanding million dollar bonuses & bail outs)). Where are all these new pot smokers going to come from? There are already 40 million smokers in a country of 300 million. That's not taking into account the 75 million under the age of 18, or the 39 million over the age of 65. Plus since so many people are already against it, they're not going to admit it. There will be a surge, but that will be more to people admitting to a legal action than actual new smokers.
"Crime will go through the roof." Stoned people buy colored Christmas tortilla chips, eat Twinkies, and stare at Pepsi cans. The sheer amount of people who would no longer get arrested for possessing marijuana will lead to a sharp drop in crime in and of itself. Add in the people switching from alcohol (so less fighting, spousal abuse, child abuse, assault, sexual assaults, and murder) and all those wasted crime fighting resources towards actual serious crime and the truth is that crime will go DOWN by quite a bit.
There are many more myths, and this page includes several resources, including links to pages showing how these "conclusive studies" showing the harm weed causes are anything but.
I hope this at least gives you something to chew on when considering this debate topic. If you have any thoughts on the legalize marijuana debate, please feel free to comment - just keep the language clean and respectful, please.
Number of people who died from (per year avg):
Tipping over a vending machine: 2
Red Bull & Vodka: 0-5, depending who you ask
Peanut Butter/Peanut allergies: 7
Snake bite: 12
Struck by lightning: 26
Giving Birth: approximately 600
Aspirin & similar anti-inflammatory drugs: 7,600
Car accidents: 26,000
Alcohol & alcohol poisoning: 85,000
Medical malpractice: 195,000 a year (in the U.S. alone)
Heart Attack: 460,000 a year (U.S. alone)
Prescription drugs (overdoses, side effects, wrong prescriptions, etc): 783,936 (yes, that number's right - I double checked several times to be sure)
Marijuana overdoes deaths: ZERO!