Although marijuana was once a part of American heritage, Americans today have the common assumption that the bases of the laws mandating marijuana to be illegal are backed by scientific, legal, and political documentation. Most Americans are also not aware of the many benefits of marijuana’s counterpart-the hemp plant. Such misconceptions have cost Americans billions in potential revenue.
The laws on marijuana were fueled by propaganda.
This is an excerpt from the San Francisco Examiner: “Marihuana makes fiends of boys in thirty days — Hashish goads users to bloodlust.” To anyone in today’s society this seems far-fetched and outrageous but, unlike today, many people were not familiar with the drug marijuana. Many furthermore did not even associate it with its male counterpart, the hemp plant, which was a profitable and useful crop.
Although marijuana does have an adverse effect on its users, its effects are no more incapacitating than that of alcohol or caffeine. Incarceration of offenders of marijuana violations have crowded prisons and cost the taxpayers billions of dollars every year to convict and incarcerate users and distributors. It is documented that in 2003 the United States spent 19 billion dollars on the war on drugs. That averages to a rate of 600 dollars per second.
In hard economic times better uses can be made with this revenue. With pressure relieved to convict marijuana offenders, the war on drugs will be more focused and efficient.While he was a senator, Barack Obama stated in 2004 “The war on drugs has been our failure and I think that we need to decriminalize our marijuana laws”. Legalization might seem like a far-fetched idea for the average conservative to grasp, but what about decriminalization?
Decriminalization is the reduction or abolition of severe penalties. Regulated permits or fines will be applicable instead of imprisonment. Obama just recently made statements regarding the dangers of marijuana versus alcohol. In an interview with the New Yorker’s David Remnick, Obama stated,” I don’t think it is more dangerous than alcohol.
Marijuana is embedded throughout American history and although, it is not a healthy habit, it has just as much potential to aid our country in economic growth as tobacco. It is documented that hemp is the primary crop grown by George Washington himself. It was the secondary crop grown by Thomas Jefferson in the early 1700’s. The U.S census report of 1850 counted 8,372 hemp plantations with a minimum of 2,000 acres. This figure does not include all of the other smaller hemp farms or patches.
One acre of hemp can produce as much raw fiber as 4.1 acres of trees. Just think of the endless possibilities. According to Popular Mechanics in 1941, Henry Ford’s first Model-T was built to run on hemp gasoline. Documented research regards hemp oil as a clean burning fuel. Any new innovations were brought to a screeching halt in 1937 when the Marijuana Tax Act was approved. We now import 80% of our hemp supply from Russia.
Marijuana must be decriminalized. The laws mandating marijuana are out-dated and fueled by propaganda. It may not be healthy to smoke. But is anything healthy to smoke? It may not be a healthy habit to indulge, but is any habit healthy to indulge? It is obvious that the pros outweigh the cons.