by Maria Diazviana
For decades experts have debated whether or not marijuana should be legalized, but nothing seems to bring about a new outcome. We have had a classroom debate over the legalization of marijuana in every health class we’ve taken. In each classroom, the debate over the legalization of marijuana has generated the same responses from students. During the debate some members of the class argued that marijuana should not be legalized. This is because the educator in charge requested the students defend a one-sided negative debate. However, at the conclusion of each debate, the vote is unanimously in favor of the legalization of marijuana.
Use of marijuana has been done since ancient times. Marijuana was first documented to be used in China in 2737 B.C. (Narconon.org). It was from China that the popularity of marijuana spread to India, and reached Europe in A.D. 500 (Narconon.org). In China marijuana was used for its medicinal properties which aid in rheumatism, gout, malaria, and absent-mindedness (Narconon.org). It was the Spanish who introduced the Native Americans to marijuana in 1545 (Narconon.org). The first American flag was woven by Betsy Ross using marijuana hemp fibers (cannabisnowmagazine.com). Around this time the first and second draft of the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper (cannabisnowmagazine.com). Both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew hemp on their plantations (hemp.com). Henry Ford’s first model-T American car was built using hemp as plastics and even ran on hemp fuel (rense.com). Marijuana started gaining its popularity in late 1800 and by 1920 it was so popular that there were “marijuana clubs” springing up (Narconon.org). Also, “reefer songs” were created which were popular jazz songs at the time (Narconon.org). In the USA until 1942 marijuana was prescribed for various conditions including labor pains, nausea, and rheumatism (Narconon.org). As you can see, even back in ancient times the main importance of marijuana was medicinal. There has been documentation even back then about its euphoric properties, but its medicinal properties definitely outweighed the euphoric properties.
Marijuana is a real issue against the American people. It is a difficult job for Washington Legislature to come up with a final decision on legalizing marijuana. You can buy marijuana almost anywhere in the U.S. and it can also be home-grown. Despite or perhaps because of the popularity with Cannabis, it’s now been underlined as medical marijuana prescribed by a licensed medical practitioner in some states.
Although smoking or consuming marijuana produces some negative side effects, you’d be really hard-pressed to find any other medical drug that does it. There are also several legal substances such as alcohol that are not used for any beneficial medicinal purposes and are seemingly just as harmful, if not worse, than marijuana. Alcohol causes slurred speech, disturbed sleep, it impairs judgment and coordination, may lead to addiction, and yet it is legal. Some argue that because smoking marijuana can greatly increased lung cancer risks, it is too dangerous to be legalized even for medicinal purposes. That would be a very strong and convincing argument, however if so, then what excuse do cigarettes have to be legal? Smoking cigarettes pose many of the same health risks that smoking marijuana does, but it lacks the medicinal benefits.
Allowing marijuana to be legalized will not affect the ample amount of people who smoke it regardless of the law and we highly doubt that it will encourage the people who don’t smoke it to begin now. However, if the number of people who use marijuana but are not prescribed to it does increase, it is still not a valid argument. Adderall, a legal medication for Attention Deficit Disorder, is a great example of a aubstance that is legal only when prescribed to patients in need of it, yet it is abundantly sold on college campuses to help students study for exams (elementsbehavioralhealth.com). Therefore, for that argument to have any validity, all easily accessible medications that have possible negative and harmful side effects but are legalized for medicinal purposes should be made illegal. Our government is suffering in the battle with marijuana, the cost of tax revenues being wasted on something that is not just going to go away. Legalize marijuana or keep wasting a lot of money on the police & state to prevent those trying to make money. There is so much marijuana stored in state storage lockup that corruption within the facility will eventually come to play due to a high demand on the streets (cannabisnews.com). The end result of prohibition is always that criminal activity rises, And people being arrested leads to our jails and prisons becoming overcrowded. This is a waste of tax revenue and instead of Americans should exploit all the uses of marijuana that go far beyond medical role. Society already knows the dangers of tobacco and alcohol, and yes all you need is a license to sell it and to be over 21 years of age to buy it. But what is the danger in marijuana? Has it not been used for medicinal purposes, making clothes, making stronger plastic, and making fuel? The government will not legalize marijuana and now they cannot control the vast amount of people growing it. This raises the cost of the product from cents to thousands of dollars per plant (littlealexinwonderland.wordpress.com). If the government declares marijuana to be a legal crop, it would be controlled, taxed properly, and the price would be very low. Marijuana is so popular that anyone can grow it in their own home and in urban communities; marijuana is sold in almost every corner which becomes classified as being “uncontrollable” as this is usually the end result of prohibition.
No matter what the use, people are still using it and paying for it, so why not tax it and legalize it? In the business world, the marketing strategy would be to produce advertisements that show the positive commercial aspects of the many products it is turned into. If it becomes legal, farmers can then license their business in order to grow it and companies can order from them to make products like tea, cigarettes, rope, clothes, hemp ethanol, and paints. As a matter of fact, I have consumed hemp milk as a healthy vegan alternative. Of course cannabis will make its mark in the stock market and there will be taxes to pay just like any other products sold in the U.S. As long as the laws prohibit marihuana from being imported and exported overseas and sold, then we will continue to experience crime. When this product can be produced and sold here in the U.S., more jobs will be made available, thus raising tax revenues.
According to an article published on The Huffington Post, The government would save an estimated $13.7 billion on prohibition enforcement costs and tax revenue by legalizing marijuana (huffingtonpost.com). Including lost tax revenues, a 2007 study found that enforcing the marijuana prohibition costs tax payers $41.8 billion annually (huffingtonpost.com).
On February 8, 2011, a committee of the House of Representatives in Olympia held a public hearing on house bill 1550 to legalize marihuana and sell it through the state’s liquor stores to customer over the age of 21 who consume it in private (seattletimes.nwsource.com). The only problem with the bill was that it conflicted with Federal Law. If our government legalizes cannabis, then crime and violence will decrease as well as the price of it. As supply of the plant increases with the demand where it’s currently at, then it should be available at a lower price. The end result is that a private dealer selling 100 plants would not be making $100,000, but rather somewhere around $300 (littlealexinwonderland.wordpress.com). Big businesses will be able to take over and grow tons of hemp and the criminal element will wither away which will lead to less people in prisons. According to The Huffington Post, when hydroponic marijuana growing supply chain weGrow opens a new store it creates an estimated 75 jobs indirectly (huffingtonpost.com). There are drugs out there that are twice as harmful as and more addictive than marihuana. The people that oppose legalization are companies that make competing crops like cotton, strong plastics, and who grow corn for ethanol. Also, against legalization are companies that own prisons that earn billions on housing non-violent inmates involved in selling marihuana (republicreport.org). Inmates incarcerated on marijuana-related charges cost U.S. prisons $1 billion annually, according to a 2007 study (huffingtonpost.com).
Although I strongly believe that marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes and commercial applications as stated above, I have my doubts that it will happen anytime soon. However, there is a liberty and freedom revolution taking place in this country and new people must be elected to Congress and the Senate for this to happen. It is up to the younger generation to make a valid argument based on scientific evidence in order to win the argument against marijuana. Even though I know that the evidence in support of the legalization of marijuana is far stronger than the evidence against it, I don’t think the government will concede to legalizing it because it would force society to modify its views of a widely used illicit drug and possibly of society as a whole.