Marijuana Mondays: Ep. 4: LEGALIZE IT
Well, ladies and gentlemen, we continue with the fourth episode of Marijuana Mondays. If you don’t know what I am talking about it, read this: Marijuana Mondays. I want to take a break from the usual format and discuss more specifically about LEGALIZATION. Email me your questions, issues, or concerns at anthonytaurus(at)hotmail.com.
We all know someone who smokes marijuana. If you think you don’t know someone who smokes marijuana, you just haven’t been told anything yet. Unfortunately, there’s a stigma regarding marijuana users as being mostly lazy. Fortunately, so many millions of people, in the US alone, smoke marijuana that it’s impossible to maintain such a negative stigma. A large portion of society, from your blue collar janitor to your white collar businessmen doctors, lawyers, and politicians smoke marijuana. How can we justify the criminalization of so many millions of people including your friends, your family, your coworkers, and so on?
Let’s talk LD50. LD50 stands for Lethal Dose at 50%. It refers to the the amount of a substance it would take to kill 50% of the test population. For example, the LD50 of alcohol is about 10.5 grams per kilogram. This amounts to BAC (Blood Alcohol Content) level of 0.4 which is liberal as some research shows that even a .25 could be fatal to some. The legal limit for alcohol in NY is 0.08. However, marijuana toxicity is nonexistant. Don’t take my word for it: DEA Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young wrote this in 1988:
At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.
[source; pg. 55-56, Findings of Fact #8]
Yes, the Drug Enforcement Agency, the same agency that will break down your door and point assault rifles at your children, knows that marijuana is NOT dangerous. In fact, there are absolutely no recorded deaths from marijuana use alone. However, there are many recorded deaths from tobacco, alcohol, aspirin; and, have you ever heard of water toxicity? Yes, people have died from drinking too much water. Ask Jennifer Strange.
On another note: I’d like to see a 1500-pound joint!
It’s always a sort of good joke to hear a marijuana user say they smoke because of their glaucoma although they may have perfect vision. But, the truth is that marijuana has been used medically for a very long time. Unfortunately, it’s well covered up. Fortunately, government is succumbing to pressure from the medical and science community to do further research on marijuana. However, other nations around the globe are far ahead of the United States when it comes to marijuana research. Nations such as Israel, Spain, and Germany have found that marijuana’s compounds have many medical uses including pain relief, arresting and regressing cancer growth, epilepsy, anti-inflammatory and tons of other applications. [source, source, source, source, source]
Crime and Punishment
Local, state, and federal agencies spend approximately $70 billion per year trying to fight marijuana. This is pitiful. It’s pitiful because these agencies haven’t even put a dent into the marijuana market. For example, in 2006, over 800,000 people were arrested for marijuana and approximately 3 million plants were “eradicated” along with grow houses and so on. However, the price of marijuana didn’t change. The variety of marijuana didn’t change. In fact, nothing changed. It took local, state, and federal authorities $70+ billion dollars, the cost to arrest and detain 800,000+ individuals, and a full year to do… NOTHING. Imagine what you could do with $70+ billion dollars – education, healthcare, jobs, roads, etc etc etc. Instead that money is just gone. And, it’s a yearly thing. The people of the United States are duped into burning money on a system that simply fails.
To make matters worse, there is a human cost to prohibition. Families are broken up. Property is seized. Individuals who are genuinely good law-abiding people have their lives ruined. If they go to jail, they run the risk of being dealing with truly dangerous criminals. Also, there is death on both sides of the equation. We’ve learned this lesson from alcohol prohibition from 1920 to 1933. Al Capone and Elliot Ness were major figures responsible for an increase in death around the nation as authorities tried to prohibit alcohol use. We learned back then that prohibition doesn’t work. We should have remember that lesson.
Governments can look at marijuana from two points of view: income and cost. Under the current laws, the US has absolutely no income when it comes to marijuana sales. It’s a crime. You can’t tax crime. But, you can tax legal marijuana. Imagine how much revenue local, state, and federal government could receive is marijuana were legalized.
Marijuana has many uses outside of medicine and leisure. Keep in mind the only thing smoked from the marijuana plant are the flowers. This leaves the actual leaves, branches, seeds, and stems which are simply thrown away. Those throw away parts have many uses as food, clothing, rope, shampoo, paper, biofuel and so much more. The important thing about marijuana is that it grows extremely quickly. Marijuana can mature, from seed, in approximately 4-5 months producing plants as tall as 6 feet. If in a perpetual system, marijuana can be harvested approximately every 2 months. That kind of turn around is important because of marijuana’s many uses.
We have to ask ourselves a very simple question: Who benefits from the prohibition of marijuana? And, we’ll have to look at it from the point of view of those who lose money if marijuana were legal and widely available
I think this is pretty clear, the absolute advantage criminals have under marijuana prohibition. If the people can take marijuana out of the hands of the criminal, we can do a better job of controlling its supply, distribution, and economy much like we do with alcohol and tobacco. It’s important to understand. Criminals don’t care about you. They care about money. They will sell to whoever will buy including your children. At least if the people have control over it, they can dictate who can sell and who can buy.
Alcohol and Tobacco
I lump these two together because they both do the job of inebriating the people. But, marijuana does a better job than both. The problem with alcohol and tobacco is that both are very addictive and both can kill you. Marijuana is not addictive and marijuana, as our favorite DEA judge mentioned, is not likely to kill you. While alcohol is a depressant and tobacco is a stimulant, marijuana can cover BOTH sides because Indicas help in relaxation while Sativas help in stimulating the mind. [source]
With the known benefits of medical marijuana, it pays for big pharma to help keep marijuana out of the hands of the people until they can find a way to make money from it. Think of it like cocaine or heroin. While they’re both illegal drugs by themselves, they make up a significant amount of billion-dollar prescription medication in the form of codeine, adderall (ADD), oxycontin, hydrocodone, percocet, and so on. Now, apply that example to other medications across the board. These companies stand to lose billions from a plant that is quickly grown and easily available.
Let’s be honest. We know these guys have the money to buy out any politician with the weight of their bankbooks. And, they throw that money around willingly. The oil industry does not want any govt to seek out energy alternatives. Marijuana is one of those plants that provide a solution to our energy concerns.
There really is no reason that marijuana should be criminal or prohibited. Any argument available is easily countered with honesty and common sense.