Marijuana Reform

According to government figures, nearly 70 million Americans have smoked
marijuana at some time in their lives. 18 million have smoked marijuana within the last
year, and ten million are regular smokers. Almost all of the people arrested for marijuana
are arrested for possession. And because of harsh federal and state penalties, these people
may be sentenced to lengthy jail terms. This is an abuse of drug laws in a great nation. The
marijuana laws need to be reformed, and the war against marijuana rethought.

One reason these laws need to be rethought is for medicinal purposes. Most people
think marijuana is a dangerous drug that can kill. This is true if taken in heavy doses but
thats also true for aspirin, alcohol and ibuprofen, which are all largely legal. Doctors have
discovered that under controlled and medical supervision, marijuana has is one of the safest
therapeutically active substances known to man says Dr. Grinspoon, at the University of
Florida. This is just one reason why it should be allowed for medical purposes. Marijuana
has been proven to help cancer patients recover from the results of chemotherapy.

Sometimes these results of chemo are so great that cancer patients cant continue with the
procedure and walk away from it. Marijuana has also been used successfully to help
people with anorexia. It has given these people appetites and in some cases almost
completely cured them. And another medical use for it is glaucoma. Marijuana has been
known to help glaucoma sufferers greatly and to enhance their lives. Although marijuana
has all these positive qualities that dont seem to have bad side effects, federal law allows
physicians to prescribe far more dangerous drugs to patients. And yet refuses marijuana into the
medical field.
Another reason to reform the marijuana laws is to help our country socially and
economically. America spent 20 billion dollars on the anti-drug budget last year, and the
governments own research says that drugs, including marijuana, are more cheap, pure and
available than before. This large amount of money that comes out of taxpayers pockets
could be used for more useful things like schools, roads, and cancer research. Over half a
million people in our nations jails are in there on drug charges, 53% being charged for
marijuana possession. These overcrowded jails could be holding much more serious
criminals. It takes 23,000 dollars to hold each prisoner in jail for one year, which is also
very costly to America. Marijuana offenders can loose their drivers license, their occupational
licenses, loss of child custody, loss of federal benefits and even face removal from public
housing. They can even lose their cars, cash, boats, land, and houses.
Another reason for marijuana reform is because the laws dont work. The
prohibition against marijuana hasnt stopped marijuana use by teens, or anyone else.

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Research has been done on high school seniors in decriminalized states compared to states
with marijuana penalties since the mid 1970s. These studies show that decriminalization
has had virtually no effect on marijuana use. Another thing to think about is: Why is this
country trying to end marijuana use when studies show that the prohibition is bringing
crime with it? If laws were reformed, the black market would disappear and many
marijuana dealers would surface overnight. International studies also indicate that if
marijuana laws were to be removed crime actually declines instead of increasing. Another
thing is that casualties from marijuana are very rare. In fact, deaths from all illegal drugs is
less then 20,000 annually. Compared to 450,000 people who die from alcohol and
tobacco, this is a tiny number. Should alcohol and tobacco be prohibited? Of course not,
that would bring utter chaos. The Netherlands are a living model to solve the marijuana
problem America today. Since 1976 marijuana possession has been allowed by the
government of the Netherlands. Investigations show that marijuana use or crime relating
to marijuana hasnt gone up. Who is to question that the same wouldnt happen here?
Overall, the marijuana laws need to be rethought and the fight opposing marijuana
needs to end. There are many important reasons that for this, including the medicinal use
for marijuana, improving crime rates, and superior budget spending for the country. Also,
illegal drug use would go down and the policemen and law enforcers could spend more
time on serious criminals. The nations jails would be much less crowded and money on the
prisoners could be used elsewhere. Its not crazy to think that if America followed the
Netherlands and other countries footsteps, our country would be a better place.

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