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the next paper (it's long)

Discussion in 'Seasoned Tokers' started by bud stuffer, Apr 17, 2003.

  1. Clang! It is the sound of the steel bars being shut behind a prisoner as he is introduced to his new home. It All started three years ago when this man developed severe arthritis, he was in constant pain with little help from medication. He heard that marijuana may help his ailment, so he decided to try it and found the first relief he had since he developed the condition. To avoid all the terrible things he had heard on the television; he decided to grow a couple of plants for his personal use and to keep his medical costs down. The local police got wind of his plants and stormed his house, he is now serving up to five years in a federal penitentiary, lost his house, car, and had his assets seized. The laws in America for marijuana were based on fear and ignorance when they were created; we are now better informed as a whole and many people are starting to realize that pot is not as bad as it has been portrayed in the past; yet the laws remain the same. It is time to reduce the laws concerning marijuana.
    \tThe laws in this country are outrageous concerning cannabis, this also includes hemp which has virtually no THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, the active ingredient in marijuana) and only has industrial implications. Federal law states that anyone caught with any amount of marijuana can face up to a year in prison and a hefty fine for a first offence. Cultivation of a small amount will result in a felony and up to five years of incarceration. Even the laws concerning the plants medical applications are extreme. Marijuana is currently classified as a schedule I drug under the Controlled Substances Act, this means that it has no medical value and may prove addictive; the goal of Jerome P. Kassirer, editor-in-chief of The New England Journal of Medicine, is to have marijuana classified as a schedule II drug along with morphine giving physicians the ability to prescribe it for medical use (Fackelmann 15).
    \tMedically speaking, marijuana is one of the most promising untapped resources known to man. It has many known applications and may have many more. Some of these applications include treatment for nausea and vomiting linked to chemotherapy, loss of appetite from AIDS, and ocular pressure from glaucoma that can cause blindness when left untreated. There have been many examples of the medical benefits of marijuana, one such case came from Robert Randall who suffers from glaucoma, he is one of only eight people in the United States to be federally allowed to use the drug legally for medicine;
    In 1994, Randall was diagnosed late-stage AIDS. For a year, because his health was deteriorating, he stopped smoking marijuana. “From April of `95 to `96, I didn't use marijuana, and during that period of time I lost more eyesight than I had in the previous 20 years,” he recently told Science News. Randall's weight also slipped during that period, from a healthy 170 pounds to 125. In April 1996, his doctors put him on the new antiviral drugs called protease inhibitors. Many HIV-infected people can't tolerate these drugs because they cause extreme nausea. Randall turned back to marijuana. He now weighs 180 pounds, and his eyesight has stabilized. He credits marijuana for the improvement. (Fackelmann 15)
    Marijuana also has applications for minor problems that affect large numbers of people, such as arthritis, muscle spasms (from many different diseases such as multiple sclerosis, Huntington's disease, and dystonia), inflammation, and it is a useful pain killer. Thousands of other uses may be discovered if the government would allow research. “The National Institute on Drug Abuse (the only legal source of marijuana for research) has been blocking clinical trials by refusing to provide marijuana to FDA-approved studies”. The only way that research will be able to be done legally in the United States, is if the people or politicians rise up against these ludicrous laws.
    \tUnfortunately, politicians don't stray far from the herd for the most part; they will sway with the majority of the population out of fear of losing the support of their constituents and thus ending their career. And on top of this, the government has been putting out ads over the television filled with half truths and worse case scenarios that boil down to irresponsibility to scare the public into believing that marijuana is the scourge of society. Of course many Americans don't have any experience or contact with the drug, so they only have a couple of sources to learn about it. Most of those who have no experience with marijuana will not actively search for information, so consequently they only hear about it from the propaganda ads produced by the government.
    \tA lot of these ads have the information correct, they just blew it so far out of proportion or left out enough important details to make it seem that the drug is evil. Look at the ad that says that one joint has four times as much tar as a cigarette for example; it is true that if you put a gram of tobacco against a gram of pot, the marijuana would have four times as much tar. However, most joints contain about half the plant matter as a cigarette, and most people stop with one, which is not the case with cigarettes. Plus, there has never been a recorded death directly related to smoking marijuana where as cigarettes kill 430,000 people annually in the United States alone. This is one of the least disturbing commercials.
    \tThe really outrageous commercials are the ones that blame the marijuana user for other people's deaths that were the result of gang wars that may have been connected to drugs in some way. Or the ones that link drug users to terrorism with out even giving an explanation; the whole basis behind that ad is ‘we said so, so it is true'. Even if these commercials aren't mind altering propaganda, the best way to solve the problem is to take marijuana off the black market by legalizing it and federally controlling the market.
    \tMany people do not believe that kind of action would help the situation though; these people claim that legalization would only increase drug use and create more problems than we had initially. Evidence implies a different scenario, in the Netherlands, twelve American states, and southern Australia where marijuana was decriminalized; no increase in marijuana use was found (Lowry N/A). In fact, the legal status and the danger status are so far apart, that people may think that the laws exaggerate the danger of all drugs; this may cause people to try other more dangerous drugs that can cause serious harm to themselves and those around them such as methamphetamine, cocaine, and heroin (Ainsworth 12). This is the true aspect of the gateway theory.
    \tOne of the most effective and substantial arguments against marijuana is that it is a gateway to harder more dangerous drugs; this theory scares more people than any other. The only problem with this theory is that it was based off of the idea that marijuana would alter the mind to a state that is more ready to do harder drugs. This however, is not why marijuana is a gateway drug; it holds that status because the places where one has to go to find marijuana may also be a source for other drugs. If marijuana were removed from the illicit drug market the gateway effect would be greatly diminished if not eliminated. Decriminalization of marijuana, in conjunction with education on how to use pot responsibly and proper information on each individual drug could completely eliminate this problem.
    \tEducation is the key to the drug problem; today kids are being told lies and exaggerations about marijuana and other drugs. The best way to teach anyone anything is to tell the truth and give straight facts; unfortunately, because of the legal status of marijuana this becomes difficult. Especially with the hypocritical use of cigarettes and alcohol (which have devastating social implications compared to marijuana) by the very same people who have kept marijuana illegal (Rowe 91).
    \tAlcohol is an addictive, dangerous drug that kills thousands of people a year, ruins many more, and is detrimental to ones health. It destroys the liver and permanently damages the brain. Cigarettes are extremely addictive, destroy the lungs, are highly carcinogenic, and kill hundreds of thousands of people a year. Marijuana on the other hand, has very few addictive properties; in fact they are almost non-existent. Pot does have a few carcinogens as does any burning plant; however, no case of cancer has been linked specifically to marijuana. There have never been any recorded deaths due entirely to marijuana consumption. Many suggest that marijuana claims lives at the wheel.
    \tOnce again this is not entirely true; perhaps driving does take a few lives under the influence of marijuana. Several studies were done on the ability to drive while intoxicated on marijuana; these studies showed that drivers “tended to compensate for their altered perception by driving slowly and cautiously, as opposed to dangerously” (Rowe 91). There is no denying that marijuana residues were found in the blood of several victims to fatal accidents. In fact, the number is one out of every three, just as the anti-drug commercial stated. However, this too was blown out of proportion; THC residues stay in the blood stream for up to a month so a test to determine whether the victim was under the influence of marijuana is impossible. Since one out of every three Americans admits to having tried marijuana, it would be expected to see the same results in the death toll.
    The most ridiculous law of all of these is the one concerning industry. It is illegal to grow hemp which has about 0.03% THC; this plant can not be used as a drug. This is a plant with tremendous potential for improving the way of life on earth; the fiber inside the stem is stronger, twice as long, and can be spun just like cotton. The seed can be pressed into oil that is interchangeable with petroleum; it can produce a fuel for running diesel engines, plastics, food products, soaps, paints, and ink. The fiber and pulp can be used to make clothing, tree-free paper, rope, insulation, particle board, and cheap horse bedding (Jenkins 58). On top of that it improves the soil for other plants such as corn, soybeans, and wheat; not to mention it grows like grass and can easily be produced organically. By all rights, cannabis is a cure all wonder plant. All portions of this plant can be used for products and medicines that are needed and used daily across the world.
    \tIt makes no sense to keep such a useful resource out of grasp. Cannabis has implications from medicine to fuel and textiles, it is far safer of a drug than alcohol or cigarettes, yet if you are caught with any you get thrown into jail. This is hardly justice; many responsible people who committed no crime other than enjoying an herb are now in prison because of fear, ignorance, and probably political reasons. We are long over due for a change in these laws; it is time that we legalize industrial hemp to cut back on our incredible consumption of oil and timber; and it is time that we stop arresting responsible adults who chose to use marijuana responsibly.
  2. so has anyone read it yet? anyone have coments, suggestions, gramatical errors?

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