Legalize It Scott Norris English 112 Shelia Bennett March 14, 2000 Legalize It No man should have control about something he or she did not create, but that God created. We have minds, and we will choose for ourselves, whether or not we like it. Marijuana has an excellent medical forte. Marijuana also has a very strong historical significance in the United States. It is now used and has been used for centuries for relieving and helping to cure illnesses. There are also many economical benefits for legalizing marijuana. Thus, marijuana has historical significance, medical uses, and economic benefits.
Cultivation of marijuana in the United States dates back some four hundred years. Colonialist planted the first American marijuana crop in 1611 near Jamestown. They grew marijuana for its fiber content. King James I ordered the first ordered the cultivation of hemp in the colonies. A majority of colonial sails, bibles, clothing, and maps were made from hemp. Some historians believe George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew marijuana and promoted a hemp-base society.
Marijuana was first considered a mind-altering substance in the 1920s and 30s. During this time the drug was associated with mexican-american immigrants and African American jazz culture. This changed marijuanas image of being an excellent cash crop to being evil. With these accusations and false propaganda about marijuana leading to crime and being deadly, it was made illegal in 1937. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 made it illegal after only two one-hour congress meetings. Most of the information presented in these congress meetings has been proven false today by our medical society.
Today marijuana remains the third most popular recreational drug in the United States. Even though it has been illegal for sixty years. Government figures say 70 million Americans have smoked marijuana. The majority of these people are hard working law-abiding citizens that should not be treated like criminals. Today state police arrest a marijuana smoker every fifty-four seconds. There are harsh penalties inflicted on marijuana smokers, which include incarceration, loss of license even when not driving, loss of child custody, and loss of public housing.
As long as marijuana remains illegal, the United States looses money and effort trying to stop the use of plant that grows from the ground. Marijuana has the capability of being manufactured into twenty-five thousand environmentally safe products. This money making potential is being held from American farmers today. Industrial hemp is known as one of natures strongest and most versatile crops. The plant can be used in making various textiles, paper products, paints, clothing, plastics, cosmetics, foodstuffs, insulation, and animal feed.
France harvests around ten thousand tons of industrial hemp every year. Currently hemp is grown legally in almost every country in the world except America. Hemp produces a much higher yield per acre than common substitutes. Domestic sales of imported hemp are around 35 million dollars per year. The American Farm Bureau states, Hemp is one of the most promising crops in half a century.
American industries such as Adidas, Calvin Klein, and Ralph Lauren added imported hemp to their clothing lines. They have found it to be highly profitable. All of these economical benefits hemp has to offer and its still considered illegal in the United States. Marijuana makes a large amount of money for our economy legally and illegally. If it were legalized it could make more. Making marijuana illegal looses money for Americas government.
The government spends twenty-three thousand dollars a year incarcerating nonviolent marijuana offenders. The prohibition of marijuana looses this countries taxpayers 7.5 billion dollars a year. This large amount of funding should be put forth to target violent ones. Legalizing marijuana will help the issue of scarce jail space in this country and it will help stop clogging our countrys courts. On top of all these economical benefits of marijuana there are large medical benefits of marijuana. In the 1980s six different states sponsored studies all found that marijuana was an effective anti-emetic and an anti-nauseate for cancer chemotherapy.
There were over one thousand patients in these studies. Co-principle investigator for the latest NAS report in 1997 said, short term marijuana use appears to be suitable in treating conditions like chemotherapy-induced nausea. Marijuana is proven to alleviate nausea, vomiting, and loss of appetite experienced by many AIDS patients. The NAS claimed THC the active drug found in marijuana to be useful in treating intraocular pressure, which occurs in glaucoma patients. Marijuana has also been proven to alleviate muscle spasms associated with MS.
In 1998, Englands House of Lords Science and Technology Committee recommended legalizing marijuana for this reason. Between 1978 and 1996, thirty-four states have recognized marijuana as having a vast and useful medical value. In California and Arizona marijuana is legalized for medical use, but the ill people in the other forty-eight states have to take the risk of obtaining their medication illegally. Many people ask how does marijuana affect the drug and crime problem in the United States? The answer is that it does not, marijuana is proven not physically addictive and it is also proven to calm people down making them non-violent. By stubbornly defining all marijuana smoking as criminal, including that which involves adults smoking in the privacy of their own homes, we are wasting police and prosecutorial resources, clogging courts, filling costly and scarce jail and prison space, and needlessly wreckin Governmental Issues.