by Charlie Naylor,
I believe that marijuana should be legalized. I believe that if the government did so the National debt would be greatly decreased by the money it would make from the taxation of marijuana and also from the decrease in law enforcement and jail cost that is caused by the “criminal” aspects of marijuana. I believe that the use of marijuana would be more likely to go down than up with the legalization of it. I believe this because half the reason some people use it is the appeal of doing something illegal. I think that marijuana is no more harmful that alcohol or nicotine and these are perfectly legal “drugs” in today’s society.You have never heard of someone overdosing on Pot but you do hear of people get deathly ill from alcohol poisoning. People all over the country whine and complain about the use of Pot but at the same time hold George Washington, Ben Franklin, and the rest of our founding fathers in such high regard. Do these people not realize that these men both grew and used this “drug” they hold in such disgust.
Today you see commercials on the TV about how bad marijuana is and how it impairs your judgment and can cause car accidents. A researcher at the University of Toronto by the name of Alison Smiley in March of 1999 showed that people who use marijuana in moderate dose are more cautious drivers than those who have a moderate amount of alcohol. She found that the marijuana users are more aware of their impairment therefore they drive slower than those under the influence of alcohol. Even the National Institute on Drug Abuse, Bureau of Mortality Statistics studies show that more people have died do to the use of aspirin (500) than those of marijuana (0).
As for the cost of what it takes to deal with the “criminals” in reference to marijuana it would baffle most people if they knew the facts. The facts are this, in California only in 1998 marijuana accounted for 14,344 felony and 46,600 misdemeanor arrests for a total cost of some $100 million to the state. Over the past 20 years there has been a 2000% increase in prisoners due to marijuana while some serious criminals or paroled due to overcrowding. It has also been shown that CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) has destroyed a 1/4 of a million marijuana plants in 1999 alone. The value of the crop was estimated at around some $1 billion lost to foreign smugglers rather than gained by local growers. It has also been shown that Californians consume about $3-$6 billion of marijuana per year, which would yield between $250-$500 million in sales taxes. So to me the economical pluses are enough.
Advocates against the legalization have also made many other claims on why it should not happen such as; It’s a gateway drug, That it weakens the Immune system, That it make it’s users sterile, That it causes birth defects, It cause brain damage, It’s addictive, It decrease the drive to excel and succeed, and once again It cause car accidents. In a paper published in October 1995 through The Hindemith Center; which was written by Lynn Zimmer, an Associate Professor of Sociology at Queens College and John P. Morgan, a Professor of Pharmacology at the City University of New York Medical School these myths are proven untrue.
A few facts that they state are; Over the years no matter if “hard” drug use has increased or decreased marijuana use has almost always done the opposite or stayed the same, In a 1988 study marijuana users showed an increase in responsiveness of white blood cells when exposed to immunological activators, In scientific studies there has been no link to marijuana use and being sterile, Researchers have found no difference in the IQ of those who were born to mothers who used marijuana while pregnant, Rodents and monkeys had to be given 200 times the amount even a heavy user of marijuana gets to cause brain damage.
In 1993 a study show that among Americans 12 years old and above 34% had tried marijuana in their life but only 9% of that had used it in the past year,4.3% in the past month and 2.8% in the past week, In studies it has been shown that ,among High School students, there was no difference in GPAs of users and non-users and ,among college students it was shown that users had higher GPAs than non-users. In another study it showed that users would work more hours and be more productive than non-users, In a study sponsored by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration it was shown that out of 2000 accident analyzed that only 6.7% were positive for marijuana and of that more than 2/3 were positive for alcohol also.
In closing I would like you to think about these two things 1) Why is it that many countries in the world have legalized marijuana and have, by most accounts, far less problems than the U.S.? and 2) Why is it that you can buy rolling papers, pipes, and bongs that are typically used for marijuana use at stores all over the country but it is illegal to smoke it?