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Since 1998, medical authorities including the editor of the New England Journal of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences have documented marijuana's unique ability to relieve both intractable pain and nausea."
We're in the Money
The prohibition of marijuana costs American taxpayers a fortune, in the tens of billions per year, much of which is channeled toward the cost of law enforcement and incarceration (Beatty, Holman & Schiraldi). Prominent economists including Milton Friedman point out that "Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year," ("Costs of Marijuana Prohibition"). In addition to the accruement of costs associated with law enforcement, prohibition of marijuana, like the prohibition of alcohol, gives credence to a vast underground economy. The black market trade in marijuana takes away potential tax revenues that could be diverted toward social service programs including addiction recovery.
Moreover, the proliferation of criminal elements in the underground drug trade further increases financial and social costs associated with prohibition. Black market traders often use violence as a means of protecting their business interests, requiring the intervention of special task forces. Although most marijuana-related incarcerations do not involve violence, the underground marijuana drug trade necessitates the creation of profitable yet often violent-ridden criminal organizations. The prohibition of marijuana directly bolsters the black market in America and abroad; furthermore, the association between marijuana and violence is artificial and supported by government policy. As with the prohibition of alcohol, marijuana prohibition may be increasing the rates of violent crimes in America because of the introduction of organized crime into the equation. "America had experienced a gradual decline in the rate of serious crimes over much of the 19th and early 20th centuries. That trend was unintentionally reversed by the efforts of the Prohibition movement," (Thornton).
The prohibition on marijuana is at heart un-American, an affront on common sense, reason, scientific evidence, and civil liberties. One of the main reasons to repeal the prohibition on marijuana either at the state or federal level is to help create the "more perfect union" alluded to in the opening sentence of the American Constitution. Though the United States is not entirely a libertarian state, the foundation of its political and social ideology is essentially about individual rights, freedoms, and liberties. The Marijuana Legalization Organization states that "Responsible individuals in a free society should be allowed to choose whether or not they use marijuana. Individual liberty is a fundamental value," ("Why Should Marijuana Be Legal?"). If marijuana does have proven medical benefits and if the only violence associated with marijuana stems from its being a top part of organized crime syndicates' revenues then cannabis should be legal. Keeping marijuana illegal in light of its medicinal benefits is alone outlandish. More importantly, the fact that non-violent marijuana offences have ruined the lives of millions of poor and disenfranchised persons throughout the nation indicates that prohibition has become a serious social problem, an insult to the values and principles upon which the nation was founded.
Tough-on-drugs policies that began with Nixon and culminated with President Reagan have served only to increase incarceration rates especially among African-American youth and high incarceration rates have led to not lower but higher rates of drug use (Beatty, Holman & Schiraldi). Like alcohol prohibition, marijuana prohibition simply does not work. Taxpayer dollars are wasted on promoting the war on drugs, which is also costing Americans their civil liberties and their right to find relief for pain and discomfort.
Marijuana is, above all, a plant. The drug is not synthetic, not processed using toxic solvents, and has never been known to cause an overdose. Banning a weed outright seems preposterous and yet the American government has for nearly a century clamped down on the recreational use of marijuana, classifying it among the most harmful narcotic substances known. Americans have access to a wide range of potentially deadly substances including alcohol, which is responsible for countless deaths every year due to overdoses or long-term abuse. Ordinary household cleaners contain chemicals more harmful than THC, the active ingredient in marijuana. If the American public retains the right to choose which chemicals to spray on their kitchen counters or how many drinks to have after work, then they also must possess the right to choose whether or not they want to grow and possess marijuana for personal consumption. Reworking marijuana laws would mean decriminalizing small-scale growth and possession of the plant: thereby driving out the criminal elements of distribution and sales. Regulation of the drug could follow similar laws that are currently in place for alcohol, which is not available to minors and which is taxed and regulated on a state-by-state basis.
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Marijuana Medical Marijuana: The Interplay between State and Federal Law History of Criminalization The Current War on Drugs Political Issues The legal status of medical marijuana in the United States is something of a paradox. On one hand, federal government has placed a ban on the drug with no exceptions. On the other hand, over one-third of the states have that legalizes the cultivation, distribution, and consumption of the drug for medical purposes. As such, the
Like alcohol, tobacco use is prohibited by minors but permitted by adults. Also like alcohol, tobacco use is detrimental to the health of the user, except even more so. Whereas alcohol consumption generally benign and only acutely harmful when it is overused, tobacco use (especially in the form of cigarettes) is extremely dangerous for practically all users. This is simply a function of the fact that "typical" use of tobacco entails
Marijuana is no more harmful to the individual than smoking cigarettes or drinking alcohol; in fact, it may be significantly less harmful than cigarettes in terms of the frequency and manner in which users typically consume both substances. Whereas marijuana may be consumed irregularly or once in a while by many of its users, virtually everybody who smokes cigarettes does so on a daily basis, usually consuming ten or twenty
Alcohol Prohibition from 1920 to 1933 did not work. There are many parallels from this failed effort and the current laws prohibiting drugs in the United States. Alcohol prohibition was undertaken to reduce crime and corruption, solve social problems, reduce the tax burden created by prisons and poorhouses, and improve the health of Americans. According to research, alcohol consumption of alcohol fell at the beginning of Prohibition, but then it
Alcohol How effective has the legal prohibition of alcohol been in controlling crime? A recent Department of Justice Report (U.S. Department of Justice) said that alcohol was a factor in 40% of all violent crimes and accounted for 40.9% of all traffic fatalities in the U.S.A. In the last decade. But these figures were 34% and 29%, respectively, lower than those of the previous decade. The Report further stated that arrests
Marijuana Legalization I have no doubt in my mind that a majority of Americans hold a stand similar to mine; that the criminalization of marijuana is indeed costing us more than its legalization would. Those sitting on the fence, or holding a contrary opinion have probably not thought of it this way; marijuana is the country's largest cash crop, and legalizing it will do nothing but yield a streak of
Even proponents of medical legalization concede marijuana cannot cure or even alleviate the symptoms of MS or glaucoma, merely act as a narcotic. True, other narcotics exist on the market today -- and like marijuana, they are also addictive. Whether they are more or less addictive than marijuana remains uncertain, but advocates say the chronically ill should be able to choose what works best for them while opponents say
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