Clint seventy years of propaganda and lies spread
Clint Johnston 8/5/11 Legalization of Marijuana Marijuana is a very well known and controversial issue in society today. Although many claims have been made about cannabis in recent history, the truth is slowly starting to resurface. Marijuana could not only benefit our economy and industry but as well as our medical field. Unfortunately, these truths are under criticism due to the stereotypical view of what people view as the typical “pot smoker.
This biased perception of a lazy and unmotivated America is the result of over seventy years of propaganda and lies spread by private interests who needed cannabis illegal for their own personal gains. We must look at cannabis with an unbiased view with only the intention of bettering our country in mind. Utilizing cannabis for medicinal purposes is not a new find. In fact, written references to use medical marijuana date back 5,000 years. Western medicine experimented with marijuana’s medical properties in the mid-1800s, and by the beginning of the 20th century, physicians had written more than 100 papers recommending its use for a variety of disorders” (NORML). These disorders include pain relief, nausea, glaucoma, and movement disorders.
It is also used as a highly effective appetite stimulant of which helps patients that had HIV/AIDS or cancer patients going through chemotherapy. Today, thousands of patients are able to use marijuana as an efficient method of treatment for their ailments.This is possible because fourteen state governments across the country have recognized marijuana’s effective healing properties and legalized its consumption for medicinal purposes with the consent of a licensed physician. Unfortunately, these patients are at the mercy of the federal government and its authority.
One of the main positive impacts that the legalization of marijuana would produce is the reintegration of hemp into our society, and more importantly in current times, our economy.Hemp is a plant that is grown for industrial use only; in fact, hemp contains less that 1% THC and causes no “high” when smoked while marijuana plants can contain 10-20% THC. The hemp plant looks very similar to the cannabis plant but instead of having a short bushy form, hemp can have stalks up to 25 feet high. Though it cannot be abused as a recreational drug, it is related to the cannabis plant and is therefore also prohibited. From an industrial standpoint, hemp provides many advantages over a many existing resources that America utilizes.The most common use for hemp is the production of textile-based products.
Hemp fibers are extremely strong, so that makes it perfect for the production of many goods like paper, fabric, and rope. “Hemp produces a higher gain per acre than cotton and has a growing cycle of only 100 days instead of 160. ” “Hemp seeds provide more protein than soy”, and according to the U. S. Department of Agriculture, you can make four times as much paper from an acre of marijuana than an acre of trees (CannabisNews).
Perhaps the most important part of hemp is its capability to produce a large amount of cellulose.Cellulose is a compound that, in more recent years, has been converted into a biofuel called cellulostic ethanol. This biofuel can power everything that gasoline currently does and is being produced most commonly in the form of “energy crops;” mostly corn and cotton. Hemp has an advantage though, because it can be produced more frequently than cotton, and it “yields four times the amount of cellulose you can get from a corn stalk” (CannabisNews).
In today’s economic situation, hemp would be a huge revenue creator.Currently, the United States imports hemp from countries like Canada and China, who have no laws banning the cash crop. Not only would domestic hemp production stop the excessive but steady stream of American dollars into foreign industry’s pockets, but it would generate a massive amount of jobs for otherwise unemployed Americans. In these times of uncertainty, we need jobs and we need more domestic industry; hemp can accomplish both of those.
Recent times have also shown us the damage that we are doing to our environment and the realization that we can’t depend on fossil fuels anymore.With hemp being a major contributor to the alternative fuels movement, it makes one wonder why it’s still illegal to grow it. Because of the recent focus on marijuana legalization, many people are looking back to why cannabis was criminalized in the first place. Contrary to popular belief, the reason marijuana was made illegal had nothing to do with health issues. The real reason was simple, good old fashioned, American business. As the methods for processing hemp into paper and plastics were becoming more readily available and affordable, business leaders including William Randolph Hearst and DuPont stood to lose fortunes.They were faced with either spending massive amounts of money adapting their prominent, timber-based, industries to produce hemp, or be run out of business by the conveniences and low prices that came with these hemp producing innovations.
Instead of doing either of these, they both did everything they could to make their competition illegal. This wasn’t as hard as one might think because Hearst also owned a chain of well-known newspaper chains. DuPont’s chief financial backer Andrew Mellon was responsible for appointing Harry Anslinger in 1931 as the head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics.Hearst’s papers routinely fabricated stories about “marijuana-crazed black men” raping white woman, and with these types of horrifying acts reported all over the media, Anslinger testified before congress that, “Marijuana is the most violence causing drug in the history of mankind. ” (Washington). Later in history, during the Red Scare, Anslinger again testified to congress against marijuana, but this time he stated that marijuana caused people to become peaceful and passive, and the communists would use it to weaken America’s will to fight.
Another important factor to the criminalization of marijuana (and the term “marijuana” itself) was racism. In the 1930’s the Great Depression hit hard, and at the same time an influx of Mexican immigrants were coming into America. Unfortunately, like modern times, in the 1930’s these immigrants were not greeted with respect. Just like they are today, Mexican-Americans were accused of stealing work from “honest, hard-working Americans. ” Many of these immigrants smoked a Mexican weed called “marihuana. Marihuana was not cannabis.
It wasn’t until William Randolph Hearst used the name for the inhalant form of cannabis in his ludicrous newspaper articles that people started to associate Mexicans with the drug, too. People supported making the drug illegal because if the Latin-American people were caught consuming it, they would be deported back to their country of origin. As a kid growing up, you’re constantly told of the dangers of drugs, and since it is illegal, marijuana is a drug and therefore it is dangerous. In 1974, Dr.
Robert Heath of Tulane University conducted a test in which lab monkeys were given thirty marijuana joints daily to test for harmful side effects. After 90 days, many of the monkeys started to die and the university reported that the monkeys had died from a mass dying of brain cells and they concluded that the consumption of marijuana destroyed the brain. The official test observations and results, however, were withheld from the public for six years until finally, in 1980, they were released to NORML (The National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws) due to a lawsuit NORML had brought to the university.Upon further investigation of the study, it was revealed that Dr. Heath actually pumped the equivalent of sixty-three joints via gasmasks into the monkeys everyday in just a five minute time frame; much more than the first reported thirty joints a day. The monkeys were reported to have died because of brain damage, but in reality they died of suffocation; when the body doesn’t get enough oxygen, one of the first things to start dying off are brain.
To this day, there has been no test like the Heath/Tulane study.In 2006, alcohol contributed to” 85,000 deaths” in the United States. In 2000 alone, tobacco contributed to a disgusting “435,000 deaths”! In the entire history of mankind, marijuana has never been recorded as a cause of death. No one in recorded history has died from the consumption of cannabis (DrugWarFacts). However, marijuana has been linked to short term memory damage and to a slightly reduced lung capacity when regularly inhaled. Although nowhere near as severely as alcohol, marijuana does also impair judgment and motor skills.
As is the same with most other things, those who regularly ingest cannabis usually build up a tolerance to these side effects that which makes them even less hindering, but some individuals never develop one. Marijuana is also not as addictive as most media outlets would lead you to believe. “The most addictive drug, even above heroin, is nicotine. After nicotine and heroine comes cocaine, and then alcohol. Below that is caffeine, and at the very bottom of the chart is marijuana”; less addictive than your can of Dr. Pepper (Schaffer).
Marijuana laws, as they are now, cost taxpayers billions of dollars a year.The taxpayers have to pay for every individual that is sent to prison for possession of marijuana and nothing more. Most people are sent to prison for possession because they are on parole and it is a violation to have any illegal drugs on you or in your system. Because of the three-strike rule, they are only three joints away from spending life in prison, which is extremely expensive for the taxpayers, all because of marijuana remaining an illegal drug. Taxpayers also have to pay for every bit of litigation that leads up to the “offender’s” incarceration.It is estimated by a Harvard study, that over “$7 billion is spent annually on marijuana prohibition” (Prohibition).
If cannabis were legalized, and then regulated and taxed like other commercial goods, it would bring in huge dollar amounts to the federal government. It’s estimated that the tax revenue generated from marijuana would be upwards of “$2. 4 billion annually if it were taxed like everyday goods, and as high as $6.
2 billion annually if it were taxed like alcohol and tobacco” (Prohibition). There are a lot of arguments against the legalization of marijuana; many of which I have addressed.There are some arguments that have more to do with social problems than with personal values or health issues.
One prominent argument against marijuana legalization is that if cannabis is made legal, then it will get into the hands of our children. This has been proven untrue; there is even a counter-argument that states it is in fact easier for children to get marijuana than it is for them to obtain alcohol. “35% of students said marijuana was easily obtainable while only 5% said alcohol was easy to obtain” (StopTheDrugWar).
Many people, including politicians, have agreed with this data taking into account that drug dealers don’t ask for I. D. Many think that legalizing marijuana will only contribute to the black market economy of cannabis. If pharmaceutical companies distributed marijuana then drug dealers would eventually diminish.
The price of which people could get it with a prescription would be unbeatable and no dealers could add extra drugs into it. Making it legal makes it easier to moderate while also making everyone safer. Probably the biggest argument against marijuana is that it’s a “gateway drug. Many people claim that consuming marijuana greatly increases your chance of doing harder drugs like cocaine and heroin. This thought claims that two substantial events occur in relation of each other. Just because most people that do hard drugs started with marijuana does not mean that marijuana will cause people to do harder drugs. If someone wants to experiment with cocaine they are going to do it regardless if they have tried marijuana before.
People need to stop putting the blame of heavy drug users onto this harmless plant.No one wants to take responsibility for their actions and own up to their mistakes. By this logic, you shouldn’t eat meat because it leads to cannibalism. I mean I started with milk then I went to soda. However one’s habitual habits change, it is completely independent of prior endeavors. Also, it’s never reported that cigarettes are a “gateway drug.
” How many people do you think tried smoking a cigarette or drinking alcohol before smoking marijuana? By the “gateway drug” theory it should be cigarettes and alcohol that is leading people to meth and heroin, not marijuana.It’s hard to understand why cannabis is still illegal in the country. Most politicians are worried that supporting this controversial subject would be received with a negative reaction from their supporters. The public has gotten it into their heads that legalizing marijuana is the same as condoning it, which it is not.
One doesn’t have to condone the smoking of marijuana to vote for its legalization. The fact is many people would outlaw fast food, cigarettes, alcohol, and tanning beds because of the harm they cause. This is America and America is about freedom and about choice.
Give the people in our nation the choice to enjoy marijuana, which is not nearly as dangerous as those four things I just mentioned, without the concern of prosecution or criticism. In these economic times the government should be looking for ways to create jobs, produce ongoing revenue, and increase morality of its citizens. Recently I saw a headline that stated The House urged President Obama to legalize cannabis.
In light of the most recent near disaster with the debt limit, our economy’s fragile. Our Country is dire need for a fresh source of income and business.Marijuana offers the solution for all of that while also the medicinal benefits are absolutely invaluable. Marijuana has been a medicine for thousands of years; it has only been illegal for 70.
Don’t let the path our country has made decide where we are to go next. Marijuana is the biggest overlooked solution for our country; all that stands in out way is old stereotypes and tradition. This is a tradition made by a different time with different intentions. We are ages past that and our society has a new face. Legalization is a big step that will have a big effect, but that effect will be nothing but good for our lives.