Last year, over 850,000 people in America were arrested for marijuana-related crimes. Despite public opinion, the medical community, and human rights experts all moving in favor of relaxing marijuana prohibition laws, little has changed in terms of policy.
There have been many great books and articles detailing the history of the drug war. Part of America’s fixation with keeping the leafy green plant illegal is rooted in cultural and political clashes from the past.
However, we at Republic Report think it’s worth showing that there are entrenched interest groups that are spending large sums of money to keep our broken drug laws on the books:
If you’re anti-marijuana, you need to reassess your priorities. To clarify: It’s one thing to not want to smoke/ingest it (you do you, choose your choices, etc and so forth). It’s another to side with corporations and privatized prisons to keep racist, classist anti-marijuana laws on the books.
While I’m not on the side of “corporations and privatized prisons [working] to keep racist, classist… laws on the books”, I’m not really in favor of legalizing marijuana, wouldn’t mind seeing more of an argument as to why it SHOULD be legalized just than that some people want to smoke it or that those fighting against it’s legalization are in the wrong…
I would be happy to. Most arguments for legalization relate to the precedent that, if we have prescription narcotics, alcohol, and cigarettes, there’s no reason marijuana should be illegal. There are also legal implications and financial and health-related reasons. I don’t have a *ton* of time to write about this write now, but here’s an overview:
(Please note this is not all directed just at the poster above me. A lot of people have raised this question. This is in no way a personal attack on you, texarshead - I legitimately want to address the question and try to answer it for you.)
1) Marijuana is less addictive and has a lower mortality rate than cigarettes and alcohol. If they’re legal, weed should be legal.
2) Marijuana was outlawed largely thanks to William Randolph Hearst, who saw hemp fiber as a threat to his tree-growing paper-making empire. He helped start the “reefer madness” myth and the myth that marijuana is a gateway drug. If pot was banned under false pretenses, it should be re-legalized.
3) The Founding Fathers grew hemp, and actually considered an individual mandate that all Americans must grow hemp for the good of the nation. In other words, it’s what the Founding Fathers would have wanted. (Quick primer: hemp is the male equivalent of the marijuana plant. The plants that actually grow buds of marijuana are female plants. There is some THC in all hemp plants, so every kind of hemp plant, even ones that don’t grow smokeable weed, are banned.)
4) Two thirds of people in prison right now are non-violent drug offenders. Almost all of them are there for weed, and almost all of them are PoC. Many of them are also poor. Anti-marijuana laws disproportionately affect PoC and poor people.
5) Do you have any idea how much money we’d save on prison costs ALONE if we legalized marijuana? Justice system, DEA agents, etc.
6) If you sell it, you can tax it. California has estimated tax income in the billions if the state were to fully legalize marijuana.
7) Hemp can be made into paper, cloth, and about a hundred other things. It’s faster to grow than trees and more sustainable.
7) Marijuana is not a gateway drug to harder drugs.
8) Studies are varied with regards to marijuana’s benefits, but some studies have found that cannabinoids inhibit cancerous cell growth.
9) Marijuana increases appetite, which is very helpful to people who can’t keep food down due to chemotherapy or other ailments. Marijuana decreases pain and relaxes the muscles, which is helpful to migraine sufferers, glaucoma patients, and people with other chronic pain issues. Marijuana is good for people who suffer from chronic anxiety and OCD.
10) Why is “some people want to smoke it” not a good enough reason? Things that are WAY more dangerous than marijuana are legal. Things that are way less fun than marijuana are legal. Drugs much stronger than marijuana are legal. I guess this comes back to precedent, but yeah. I mean, why are ATVs legal? Because people want to ride them. Why is alcohol legal? Because people want to drink it. “Just because people want to” is actually a pretty legit reason for legalizing things.
So, in sum, marijuana should be legal because laws against it cost us millions of dollars imprisoning non-violent/non-white/poor people disproportionately, it was banned under false pretenses, and it’s less harmful than already legalized recreational substances.