Marijuana Should Be Legalized Essay

1590 words - 6 pages

According to Martin Luther King Jr., “There are two types of laws: there are just and there are unjust laws” (King 293). During his time as civil rights leader, he advocated civil disobedience to fight the unjust laws against African-Americans in America. For instance, there was no punishment for the beatings imposed upon African-Americans or for the burning of their houses despite their blatant violent, criminal, and immoral demeanor. Yet, an African-American could be sentenced to jail for a passive disagreement with a white person such as not wanting to give up their seat to a white passenger on a public bus. Although these unjust laws have been righted, Americans still face other unjust laws in the twenty-first century.
In America,—the so called “home of the free” and well-known for being just and right—the federal law states that it is illegal to possess, grow, sell, or anything else related to marijuana—a natural, safe, and beneficial substance. If anyone is found guilty of these actions, they could face a fine anywhere from one thousand dollars to four million dollars and/or serve a prison sentence anywhere from fifteen days to life. However, the sale, use and even abuse of alcohol or tobacco—which is scientifically tested not natural, safe, or beneficial—is not seen to the government as illegal and is only punishable if sold to a minor or if the use of the substances causes a crime to occur. The illegal status of marijuana is an unjust law. The DEA (Drug Enforcement Administration) currently lists marijuana as a schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substance Act (CSA). The CSA states that, “Schedule I drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse, no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States, and a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision”(citation). Contrary to popular and legal beliefs that marijuana is associated with malignant health factors such as brain cell death and addiction, the use, possession, and growth of marijuana should be legal because it has industrial and medicinal benefits.
Hemp, a variation of the marijuana plant, can be used in the making of thousands of beneficial, industrial by-products. Until its prohibition in the mid twentieth century, marijuana was once the main source of fiber which was used to make paper and fabrics. Hemp fibers are longer, stronger, more absorbent, and more mildew resistant than other fabric fibers. The tetrahydrocannibanol substance—a chemical that protects the marijuana plant by blocking UVB rays—allows fabrics made from hemp to block more UVB rays than cotton fabrics. This use of hemp can be beneficial to humans by blocking the UVB rays that ultimately cause skin cancer. Another by-product of hemp is paper. Hemp can be used to make a durable paper product. According to the HIA (Hemp Industrial Association), “Hemp fiber paper resists decomposition, and does not yellow with age when an...

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