Thursday, October 3, 2019
Legalize Marijuana Essay Example for Free
Legalize Marijuana Essay Marijuana has been vilified in America over the past 70+ years. Despite its many practical uses, medicinal and industrial, our Federal government insists on maintaining the status quo that the growth, possession and use of marijuana is criminal despite the evidence that the legalization of marijuana would have a positive influence on America. In this paper I will discuss the history of marijuana, the industrial uses of hemp, the prohibition of marijuana, the economic impact prohibition has on America, the effects of marijuana use on the mind and the body, marijuana for medical use, and how legalization of marijuana would have a positive influence on America. Although I support the legalization of marijuana I do not support the legalization of other Schedule I drugs, therefore this paper is not about the legalization of all drugs. Marijuana, as most people commonly know it, is really a plant called hemp, or cannabis sativa. There are other plants called hemp, but cannabis hemp is the most useful of these plants. Hemp is any durable plant used since prehistory for many purposes, and cannabis is the most durable of the hemp plants. The cannabis plant also produces three very important products that other plants do not, seed, pulp, and medicine. The cannabis sativa plant grows as weed and cultivated plant all over the world in a variety of climates and soils. Marijuana has been used throughout history; in 6000 B.C. cannabis seeds were used as food in China; in 4000 B.C. the Chinese used textiles made of hemp; the first recorded use of cannabis as medicine in China was in 2727 B.C.; and in 1500 B.C. the Chinese cultivated Cannabis for food and fiber. This time line goes on and on right through today. It is thought that hemp was first brought to the New World in 1545 by the Spanish; it was introduced in Jamestown by the English in 1611 where it became a major commercial crop alongside tobacco and was grown as a source of fiber. Our forefathers grew hemp; in fact it was the principal crop at Mount Vernon and it was a secondary crop at Monticello. There are recorded notes made by George Washington regarding the cultivation and harvesting of hemp. These hemp crops of course were grown for industrial use only and there is no indication that our forefathers were using their crops recreationally. Today the hemp grown for industrial purposes have extremely low levels of THC Delta 9-tetrahydrocannabinol delta 9-THC, the active component in cannabis therefore it is impossible to get high from such hemp grown for industrial use. During the Colonial Era Americans were legally bound to grow hemp. During the Second World War the federal government subsidized hemp and US farmers grew about a million acres of hemp as part of that program. Hemp is extraordinary in its diversity. There are over 25,000 different uses for the hemp plant. Because of how quickly hemp can be cultivated it is the EarthÃ¢â¬â¢s number one biomass resource. HempÃ¢â¬â¢s uses include but are certainly not limited to fuel; food, hemp seeds provide an incredible source of protein-not only for people but for birds who seek out hemp seeds which have been mixed with other seeds; paper; textiles, for example canvas, paper, cloth, rope; paint; detergent; varnish; oil; in; medicine; and building materials. Almost any product that can be made from wood, cotton, or petroleum including plastics can be made from hemp. In fact, hemp plastics are biodegradable. Besides its diversity, the practicality of utilizing hemp to its fullest potential is clear. Trees take from 50 to 100 years to grow; hempÃ¢â¬â¢s growth cycle is 120 days. It is estimated that if the hemp pulp paper process reported by the USDA in 1916 were legal today it would soon replace 70% of all wood paper products. Despite all of its proven uses, all of which are beneficial to the planet Earth, the growth of industrial hemp in the United States remains a criminal act thanks to the robotic ravings of our federal government. President and founder of Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) Glenn Levant Hemp is marijuana. Philip Perry, special agent in charge of the DEAs Rocky Mountain Division ignorantly states, (Levant 1) the effort to decriminalize hemp is no more than a shallow ruse being advanced by those who seek to legalize marijuana. It should be noted that the selling hemp products are not illegal and in fact the U.S. hemp-products industry does about $125 million in retail sales a year. Although most states had local laws prohibiting marijuana use and possession, it wasnÃ¢â¬â¢t until 1937 that the federal government passed the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act. Interestingly, the congressional hearings on marijuana prohibition lasted all of two hours in direct contrast to most congressional hearings on new laws which last for days and days. There were exactly three bodies of testimonies testifying at these hearings. The first was Commissioner Harry Anslinger, the newly named commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who happened to be appointed by his uncle-in-law, Andrew Mellon, who was the Secretary of the United States Treasury. Commissioner Anslinger testified on the governmentÃ¢â¬â¢s behalf. Not surprisingly he was working from a text which he had not written himself but which had been written for him by a New Orleans District Attorney. Reading directly from this text Commissioner Anslinger told the Congressmen at the hearings, Marihuana is an addictive drug which produces in its userÃ¢â¬â¢s insanity, criminality, and death. That was the CommissionerÃ¢â¬â¢s brilliantly insightful government testimony to support the marijuana prohibition. The second bodies of testimony to testify at this congressional hearing were industrial spokesmen. The first of these spokesmen was, believe it or not, a man representing the rope industry. This industry representative testified that it was cheaper to import from the Far East the hemp needed to make ropes and therefore the United States no longer needed to grow any more hemp to make rope. Five years later, in 1942, the United States was cut off from its sources of hemp in the Far East and, since we needed a lot of hemp to outfit our ships with rope for World War II, the Federal Government went into the business of growing hemp on gigantic farms throughout the Midwest and the South. The paint and varnish spokesmen didnÃ¢â¬â¢t seem to care either which way. The only industrial spokesperson who objected to the Marijuana Tax Act at all was the birdseed representative who sang the praises of hemp seeds for the birdsÃ¢â¬â¢ coats. Based on this objection the birdseed industry got an exemption from the Marijuana Tax Act for denatured seeds. Ã¢â¬Å"The third body of testimony was two representatives of the medical field. The first testimony came from a pharmacologist who claimed that he had injected the active ingredient in marihuana into the brains of 300 dogs, two of which died. When asked by the Congressmen if he choose dogs for the similarity of their reactions to that of humans the answer of the Pharmacologist was, I wouldnt know, I am not a dog psychologist. The active ingredient in marijuana was first synthesized in a laboratory in Holland after World War II therefore it is unknown to this day what this pharmacologist injected into the dogs. The second testimony on behalf of the medical field came from the Chief Counsel to the American Medical Association, Dr. William C. Woodward. Dr. Woodward was the hearing to testify at the request of the American Medical Association. His exact quote to the congressmen was, The American Medical Association knows of no evidence that marihuana is a dangerous drug. to which one of the Congressmen said, Doctor, if you cant say something good about what we are trying to do, why dont you go home? Remember, this testimony came from the Chief Counsel of the esteemed American Medical Association. It should be no surprise that the bill passed. The act did not itself criminalize the possession or usage of marijuana but instead levied a tax of approximately one dollar on anyone who dealt commercially in marijuana. The penalty provisions for violators of the proper procedures could result in a fine of up to $2000 and five years imprisonment. The intended result and indeed, the result of the 1937 Marihuana Tax Act was to effectively make it too risky for anyone to deal in the substance. During the war years the Bureau chose to concentrate on opiates and abandoned responsibility for most marijuana law enforcement to the states. In the post-war years, however, there was found to be a significant increase in narcotic drug abuse and the public began to be concerned with the spread of narcotic addiction, particularly among young persons. Congressional furor was aroused by the assertion that the use of marihuana inevitably led to the use of these harder drugs, particularly heroin. In 1951 Congress passed the Boggs Act, increasing penalties for all drug violators. It was at this time, for the first time in federal drug legislation, that marijuana and the narcotic drugs were lumped together, since the Act provided uniform penalties for the Narcotic Drugs Import and Export Act Boggs Act, ibid. and the Marihuana Tax Act. The states followed the federal lead. Then, in 1956, Congress passed the Narcotic Control Act, escalating the penalties still further. Once again the individual states followed suit. The current Controlled Substances Act (CSA), Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970 is a consolidation of numerous previous laws regulating the manufacture and distribution of narcotics, stimulants, depressants, hallucinogens, anabolic steroids, and chemicals used in the illicit production of controlled substances. The CSA places all substances that are regulated under existing federal law into one of five schedules. This placement is based upon the substances medicinal value, harmfulness, and potential for abuse or addiction. Schedule I am reserved for the most dangerous drugs that have no recognized medical use, and, of course, is the current classification of marijuana. Public opinion on the medical value of marijuana has been sharply divided. Some dismiss medical marijuana as a hoax that exploits our natural compassion for the sick; others claim it is a uniquely soothing medicine that has been withheld from patients through regulations based on false claims. Proponents of both views cite scientific evidence to support their views and have expressed those views at the ballot box in recent state elections. In January 1997, the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) asked the Institute of Medicine to conduct a review of the scientific evidence to assess the potential health benefits and risks of marijuana and its constituent cannabinoids. That review began in August 1997 and culminates with the report Marijuana and Medicine, Assessing the Science Base from the Institute of Medicine. This study was supported under Contract No. DC7C02 from the Executive Office of the President, Office of National Drug Control Policy. This report summarizes and analyzes what is known about the medical use of marijuana; it emphasizes evidence-based medicine derived from knowledge and experience informed by rigorous scientific analysis, as opposed to belief-based medicine derived from judgment, intuition, and beliefs untested by rigorous science. After their nearly two-year review, the investigators affirmed Scientific data indicate the potential therapeutic value of cannabinoid drugs for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation. Except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range tolerated for other medications. However, the authors noted that cannabis inhalation would be advantageous in the treatment of some diseases, and that marijuanas short- term medical benefits outweigh any smoking-related harms for some patients. A most comprehensive and informative report on this subject is, The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition by Jeffrey A. Miron, Visiting Professor of Economics, Department of Economics, Harvard University, which was published in June, 2005. This paper concludes. Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of legal regulation would save approximately $7.7 billion in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement $2.4 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at the state and local levels. Revenue from taxation of marijuana sales would range from $2.4 billion per year if marijuana were taxed like ordinary consumer goods to $6.2 billion if it were taxed like alcohol or tobacco. These impacts are considerable, according to the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. For example, $14 billion in annual combined annual savings and revenues would cover the securing of all loose nukes in the former Soviet Union estimated by former Assistant Secretary of Defense Lawrence Korb at $30 billion in less than three years. Just one years savings would cover the full cost of anti-terrorism port security measures required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002. The Coast Guard has estimated these costs, covering 3,150 port facilities and 9,200 vessels, at $7.3 billion total. A further comprehensive study which reports and analyzes national arrest data between 1995 and 2002 is, Crimes of Indiscretion, Marijuana Arrests in the United States, compiled by Jon Gettman, PhD, published by The NORML Foundation in 2005. There are many reasons for marijuana wanting to be legal. It isnÃ¢â¬â¢t just the stoners and illegal distributers that want it, but also the people that use it for medicinal use. In my perspective thatÃ¢â¬â¢s the reasoning for the bill not being passed. Just people seeing that one word marijuana, they take one look and think itÃ¢â¬â¢s just a group of pot heads that want to be able to smoke it legally. It can help many people probably everyone in the world if you think about it properly. Works Cited 1. Cruz, Veronica. Ã¢â¬Å"Gunmen Get Medical Pot from Home on NE SideÃ¢â¬ . Arizona Daily Star. 20 March, 2012: A1 A5. 2. Kurwa, Nishat. Ã¢â¬Å"Federal Agents Bust Marijuana School Ã¢â¬ËOaksterdam.Ã¢â¬â¢Ã¢â¬â¢Ã¢â¬â¢ NPR. NPR, 03 Apr. 2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2012. http://www.npr.org/2012/04/03/149937087/federal-agents-bust-marijuana-school-oaksterdam. 3. Legalizing Marijuana. Legalizing Marijuana. Web. 09 May 2012. http://www.uri.edu/personal/atro6990/. 4. Legalization of Marijuana. Legalize Marijuana, Legal Weed, Marijuana Facts. Web. 09 May 2012. http://legalizationofmarijuana.com/. 5. Schlosser, Eric. Reefer Madness, TheAtlantic: 1994. 6. Ã¢â¬Å"Up In Smoke.Ã¢â¬ The Economist. The Economist Newspaper, 14 Apr. 2012. Web. 12 Apr. 2012. http://www.economist.com/node/21552609.