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Opinion Relays Edition

Reefer Madness

Hamilton is a first-year creative advertising major and can be contacted at hilary.hamilton@drake.edu.

The possibility of legalizing marijuana has been of interest to the public for quite a few years now. This is because the public is starting to realize the many benefits it really has. I, in no way, advocate using illegal substances, but I do believe that there are many overlooked benefits of marijuana.

First, let’s get some facts straight. Marijuana is not physically addictive like cigarettes are. It lacks the chemicals that make it physically addictive. Some people could claim that it is emotionally addictive, but so are things like soda, the Internet, shopping and eating. It’s not the fault of the substance; it’s the fault of the user.  Another common misconception is that marijuana causes damage to the lungs. Again, this is not true. The American Thoracic Society studied the drug and concluded that even heavy users of smoked marijuana did not have any evidence of increased risk to lung cancer or problems.

Legalizing marijuana would also stimulate the economy. Because this substance is illegal in the United States, millions of people go to other countries to get it. This means that money normally flowing through the U.S. is going to drug cartels in different countries. If marijuana were to be legalized it would be grown, processed and produced in the United States. This would give a boost to the economy and also make marijuana safer and more regulated because there would be concrete standards as to how it must be produced. Additionally, the United States government would be able to decrease its spending. According to the Office of National Drug Control Policy the federal government spent $25 billion on the War on Drugs in 2010. Since many of these drug cartels would be put out of business due to legalization in the United States, the government would have to spend considerably less on this part of its budget.

Another well-known advantage of marijuana is its wide use for medical reasons. I know you skeptics out there are thinking that this is the worst excuse in the book. How could a drug possibly do anything good for you? Well, the U.S. Government Accountability Office provided a list of numerous illnesses and diseases that could be helped with the use of marijuana. A few of these included arthritis, epilepsy, glaucoma, multiple sclerosis and Crohn’s disease. Marijuana has been used for centuries by ancient cultures because of its powerful medicinal abilities. It’s about time we get in touch with our ancestors and reap the benefits of marijuana.

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1 Comment

  1. Jillian Galloway April 26, 2011

    When the government banned stores from selling marijuana it unwittingly eliminated all legal competition to drug dealers. Without competition, these criminals can demand any price they want which draws them into our communities and makes our children LESS safe.

    The federal marijuana prohibition costs taxpayers $40 billion a year, generates 800,000 unnecessary arrests every year, diverts $10 billion a year to the Mexican drug cartels, is directly responsible for the death of more than 35,000 people in Mexico in just the last four years, and lures drug dealers into our neighborhoods selling their stinking weed to our children. And worst of all, it doesn’t even stop kids from smoking marijuana!

    We need legal adult marijuana sales in supermarkets, gas stations and pharmacies for exactly the same reason that we need legal alcohol and tobacco sales – to keep unscrupulous black-market criminals out of our neighborhoods and away from our children. Marijuana should be legal to sell to adults everywhere that alcohol and tobacco are sold.

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