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Decriminalize marijuana

Discussion in 'Legalization and Activism' started by Superjoint, Jun 9, 2003.

  1. by Chris Iberle http://www.spectator-online.com/
    June 07, 2003

    If I smoke marijuana, I will kill someone in a car accident. If I smoke marijuana, I will get pregnant or get someone else pregnant, possibly by rape. If I smoke marijuana, I will shoot my friend with a gun. And my personal favorite: if I smoke marijuana, I am supporting terrorism. Although the last of these ideas has been scrapped for now, the others remain in advertisements and television spots, sponsored by the money-guzzling Partnership for a Drug Free America and the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP).

    All of these allegations of violent, pot-smoking "terrorists" are quite misleading, especially compared to other drugs which legally exist on the market, such as alcohol. The United States seems to have a problem in discerning its good drugs from its bad drugs and we pour millions of dollars every year into programs meant to discourage people from using marijuana. In turn, the target audiences increase the use of the target drug.

    The multimillion dollar campaigns are simply becoming ridiculous. The "supporting terrorism" argument was the faultiest and was thankfully done away with quickly.

    The image of a violent, vengeful pothead should be one foreign to many, especially in contrast to a depressant such as alcohol, where date rape and car accidents are much more common.

    The health effects of marijuana are also not to be taken lightly, but they are something that should be discussed openly between parents and children, without misinformation and propaganda to get in the way.

    At the very least, the advertisements could involve actual information and logic rather than scare tactics, which simply raise the level of use, as a few studies have shown.

    As far as health effects much of the harm remains to be seen. A study came out in 1995 by the British medical journal, Lancet, after 30 years of research, stating that "the smoking of cannabis, even long term, is not harmful to health." Many more research projects have shown that marijuana doesn't kill brain cells, is not highly addictive, is not a "gateway drug".

    The extenuating effects of these propaganda machines include our overcrowded prison system, where average offenders serve more than 3 years. Under some circumstances, life sentences have been handed out. Don't want to keep paying for prisons and legal fees? Decriminalize marijuana. About 734,000 people were arrested in 2000 for a marijuana-related offense. Of those, 88 percent were simply for possession. The War on Drugs, which is being waged on many drugs other than marijuana, has been a failure. In many cases, by decreasing the supply of the drug, the street value has increased significantly. It seems as if everything the government does simply wastes money and adds to the problem of drug use.

    I am not advocating using marijuana. I am advocating a factual, logical, and open dialogue about marijuana and its effects.

    America needs to recognize the lives that the criminalization of marijuana has ruined, the money it has wasted, and the ignorance it has bred.

    Compared to alcohol and binge drinking, marijuana's dangers are significantly lower. Our culture has set the wrong priorities, searching to destroy a menace that doesn't exist through scare tactics, while alcohol companies are able to sit by and reap the profits. The prohibition of alcohol didn't work. Why should the prohibition of marijuana? Educating on health effects should be left up to schooling and parents, not profiteering anti-drug companies. The legal age for both alcohol and marijuana should be 18, allowing for proper experience and education to occur, with a lesser chance for exposure in less than educational settings. I can vote, smoke my way to cancer, and die for my country, but I can't have a beer or light up a joint. Seems kind of backwards to me.
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