Burning More Green for Prohibition
The war on drugs in the United States has been going on since President Reagan was in ofﬁce. Marijuana seems to be the warʼs main focus. Marijuana or cannabis is less harmful and more useful than alcohol and tobacco combined, yet the government spends over 10 billion dollars a year on prohibition. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man (US Department of Justice). The legalization of marijuana would save the government billions of dollars, and can be used in many other ways besides as a recreational drug.
Cannabis/hemp was our planetʼs largest agricultural crop and an important
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However, most of these harmful effects are myths such as, marijuana kills brain cells. In 1974, a study by Dr. Heath of Tulane University was put into action to study this myth. In this study, monkeys were pumped full of marijuana equal to 30 joints a day. The monkeys began to die after approximately 90 days (The Union). Brain damage was determined after counting and comparing the number of dead brain cells in the monkeys subjected to the marijuana and those that had not. The cannabis smoking monkeys had enormous amounts of dead brain cells in comparison to the control group. However, what was not mentioned in the study was that Dr. Heath pumped 63 columbian strength joints through a gas mask without additional oxygen. He suffocated the tested monkeys then correlated the dead brain cells to smoking marijuana. “With the concentration of smoke used, the monkeys were a bit like a person running the engine of a car in a locked garage for 15 minutes at a time every day” (Herer). The government has continued to fund biased research they believe justiﬁes the prohibition.
Another much disputed effect from marijuana smoke is that it causes lung
cancer, like tobacco. There has been no proven cases of cannabis causing lung cancer. Cannabis smoke does cause irritation to the large airways of the lungs, but the symptoms dissipate when smoking is discontinued. Tobacco smoke causes long term and permanent damage. There are about 400 chemical compounds in cannabis smoke.
Sixty of these are known to have therapeutic value (Herer). There are over 430 thousand deaths a year caused by tobacco diseases, but there are zero recorded deaths attributed to marijuana (The Union). To ingest enough marijuana to suffer an overdose, one human being must smoke around 15 thousand joints in 20 minutes (The Union). This raises the question; why is the government subsidizing tobacco but spending billions of dollars on the prohibition of marijuana?
More kids are in addiction clinics for marijuana than any other substance (The
Union). This leads society to believe that marijuana is an addictive substance. Most of the kids in the clinics were caught using marijuana and given the option of treatment or jail. Almost all of them choose treatment for a perceived non-addiction instead of spending time in prison. Two researchers were asked to rate drugs in the order of addiction with Nicotine coming in ﬁrst, then alcohol, heroine, cocaine, caffeine, and marijuana coming in last (The Union). The user of marijuana, when deprived of the drug, will not experience the agonies of withdrawal (Subject Narcotic).
Another argument is marijuana is a gateway drug. Marijuana has no inherent
psychological pharmaceutical properties that pushes the user towards another drug. Only one in every 104 marijuana users will move on to cocaine (The Union). Legalizing marijuana could considerably reduce the possibility of moving on to harder drugs. Regulation of the drug could keep it off the...