Benefits of Legalizing Marijuana
Every year, 400,000 Americans die of complications caused by tobacco products. Smoking kills more Americans each year than alcohol, crack, heroin, murder, suicide, car accidents, fires, and AIDS all put together. Every week, eight children under the age of eighteen die from alcohol related crashes. Alcohol abuse contributes to almost 50% of all traffic accidents, suicides, and homicides. However, despite the proven dangers of these "socially acceptable" drugs, they are still legal. Marijuana, a much less acceptable drug, is not legal however, despite the fact that research has yet to pin any specific dangers to this drug.
Aside from the health issues of marijuana, there are the many other aspects to consider when one broaches the topic of legalizing pot. Many arguments exist as to why marijuana should be legalized. Among these arguments exist the campaign of false propaganda that led to the ban on marijuana, the extreme harshness of marijuana laws, and the positive utilizations of the drug. The initial prohibition on marijuana was a mistake, and it is ridiculous that this recreational drug remains illegal after 63 years. When one weighs the pros and cons of re-legalizing marijuana, the logical result is to abolish the senseless ban on pot.
The events that led up to the prohibition on marijuana in 1937 are shady to say the least. For hundreds of years marijuana was noted as a cash crop from which clothing, rope, ship sails, and even bibles were made. During the 1920's and 1930's, the utilization of marijuana as a recreational drug became primarily associated with the Mexican-American immigrant workers and African-American jazz musician communities (http://www.natlnorml.org/facts/crazy.partI.shtml). The time old plant name of "Hemp" was replaced with "Marihuana" and was also referred to as "The Devil's Weed." This period of time saw the creation of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, which immediately launched a misinformation campaign that exploited Hollywood and several tabloid newspapers in order to exaggerate the effects of marijuana on society. Inflated accounts of the effects of marijuana included violent crimes, users going crazy, and death from marijuana usage.
This propaganda led to 27 states passing marijuana restriction laws. The Marijuana Tax Act, which would make use of marijuana a criminal offense, was introduced in April of 1937. The two congressional hearings combined totaled less than one hour. Oddly enough, these hearings were bases solely on the propaganda of the media. When the American Medical Association (AMA) came forward to state, among other things, that there was no proof that marijuana was at all harmful and that prohibiting the drug would severely compromise physicians' abilities to utilize the therapeutic qualities of the plant, AMA Legislative Council Dr. William C. Woodward was told:
If you want to advise us on legislation, you ought to come here with some...