Connor Biro - 2577567 English 102 Price 4/5/13 Why Marijuana Should Be Decriminalized in the U. S. “Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the most therapeutically active substances known to man” (qtd. in Rosenthal and Kubby 49). The DEA’s Administrative Law Judge, Francis L. Young, stated this in the matter of Marijuana Medical Rescheduling Petition, in 1988 when attempting to list marijuana as a Schedule II drug (Keene 93). Marijuana, or “weed,” is made from the leaves and flowers of the hemp plant cannabis sativa.
In 1937, cannabis was made illegal with the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act. Since it was criminalized, billions of dollars have been spent in marijuana –related incarcerations. Marijuana consumption should be decriminalized in the United States for both medical and recreational use because it could prove medically, economically, and socially beneficial for the nation. The first reason marijuana should decriminalized in the United States is for its medicinal value. Marijuana can be used to treat an assortment of diseases and disorders, and also helps in pain relief.
Patients suffering from glaucoma, an ocular disease where the eye is subject to increased pressure that damages the optic nerve, eventually leading to blindness, can be treated with marijuana to help reduce the pressure on the eye (Keene 92). For individuals suffering from epilepsy, a brain disorder in which an individual may has repeated seizures over time, marijuana can potentially prevent seizures at a very affordable price (Rosenthal and Kubby 50). Marijuana also helps relieve the side effects of chemotherapy, which include loss of appetite and nausea (Keene 91).
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Finally, marijuana helps individuals suffering from chronic pain caused by diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and cancer (Rosenthal and Kubby 50). Although, it appears that marijuana should be available at every pharmacy, behind every counter, after reading about its medicinal properties, it is not. The second reason marijuana should be decriminalized in the U. S. is because it can improve our nation economically. So far marijuana has been legalized in 14 states, for medical use only. If marijuana were to be legalized more jobs would be reated, more money would be made in advertising businesses, and a significant amount of tax revenue made (Bradford). By comparing the taxes of liquor and cigarettes, it is concluded that the government could make about seven billion dollars a year in revenue just from state licenses, taxes and fees (Rosenthal and Kubby 26). Marijuana does not only provide medical uses, but industrial uses as well. Hemp, the nonpsychoactive sister of marijuana, is a very unique plant that has many useful qualities. Hemp has the longest fiber in the plant kingdom and is also known for its very strong and durable characteristics (Rosenthal and Kubby 28).
The industrial applications that hemp can be used for include insulation, textiles, clothing, paper and most importantly, rope (Rosenthal and Kubby 28). In ancient China (around 8000 or 7000 B. C. ), archaeologists have found proof that hemp was a main crop for thousands of years, originally used as fabric, then eventually the Chinese found other uses like using the hemp fibers for rope and paper, and even mixing it with other grains as a food source (Keene 29). If marijuana were to be legalized, the manufacturers could export products such as the ones previously mentioned.
As long as marijuana remains an illegal import, there is no way for the government to regulate its sale as well (Rosenthal and Kubby 75). The final reason marijuana should be decriminalized in the U. S. is because it can prove to be socially beneficial to the nation. Marijuana is listed as a Schedule I drug, along with heroin, LSD, and PCP, meaning the government believes it has a high potential for abuse, there is no current medical use in treatment in the U. S. , and that there is no acceptable use even under medical supervision (Rosenthal and Kubby).
Millions of arrests and thousands of people are thrown in jail for marijuana charges, ranging from minor offenses, such as paraphernalia, to major offenses like illegally importing marijuana into the U. S. Police officers shouldn’t be wasting their time arresting youths with minor offenses like marijuana possession. If marijuana was decriminalized, teenagers arrested with minor charges related to marijuana would not have their lives ruined with marijuana-related crimes on their record (Rosenthal and Kubby 81-82). Another reason the nation’s society would be improved is by removing the young adults from the marijuana business.
These young entrepreneurs succumb to the fast, easy money involved in dealing marijuana and ruin their chances of having a bright future. Marijuana should be decriminalized so the nation can benefit medically, socially, and economically. Legalizing marijuana just seems like the most logical thing to do, especially when the nation’s government is in such a tremendous amount of debt. It is presently legal to own and smoke small amounts of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. Over 65 million Americans use marijuana either occasionally or regularly (Rosenthal and Kubby IX).
So why waste millions of dollars on the criminalization of marijuana charges, and lose the opportunity to make money off of this highly used plant? Citations Keene, Ann. Marijuana: It’s Effect on Mind & Body. New York: Chelsea House Publishers,1992. Print. Rosenthal, Ed, and Steve Kubby. Why Marijuana Should Be Legal. New York City: Thunder’sMouth Press. 2003. Print. Bradford, Harry. “14 Ways Marijuana Legalization Could Boost The Economy. ” The HuffingtonPost. TheHufiingtonPost. com, Inc. 7 November, 2012. Web. 1 April. “Should Marijuana Be a Medical Option? ” Medical Marijuana. ProCon. org, Inc. 6 May, 2009. qWeb. 28 March.
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