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In Defense of Cannabis as a Bonafide American Product

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Why Legalize Marijuana?

By L. P. Langdon – Marijuana and hemp have been a part of our world’s culture for nearly 12,000 years. After the new Marijuana laws passed for Colorado and Washington, there has been much ambiguity about the fact that marijuana is still on the federal list of controlled substances. U.S. Representative Jared Polis {D-CO} stated, “In an interview with President Obama, he referred to the need to reconcile the differences between state and federal marijuana laws.” Federal prohibition of marijuana continues costing time and money in collateral damage control.

Ending the federal prohibition on marijuana could be a smart start, by allowing individual states freedom to tax and regulate marijuana. Anti-Prohibition supporters cross many lines socio-economically, regionally, and age-wise, with celebrities like Woody Harrelson, Willy Nelson, Bill Maur, and Jennifer Aniston among them. By regulating and taxing marijuana like alcohol, a new market for progressive hemp products can boost America’s economy, eliminate the fiscal waste in legalities, and curtail the dangers of “legally sold” synthetic marijuana substitutes.

Two Hundred and thirteen years ago, in the year 1800, Thomas Jefferson stated,

The greatest service which can be rendered any country is to add a useful plant to its culture.

Hemp is touted as the most useful plant known to mankind, as well as the longest and strongest natural fiber. When World War II ended, the prohibition of Cannabis Sativa began. Cannabis Sativa is proper nomenclature for hemp and marijuana. “The strains of Cannabis Sativa that contain high levels of THC are considered marijuana, which is in fact illegal.” The U.S. Government encouraged the farming and manufacture of hemp during WWII for necessary things our military required. Commodities like rope, oil, building materials, and stronger canvass were among many of the by-products of hemp farming 70 years ago. After the war, President Roosevelt ordered all the seed stock to be destroyed. To grow hemp again, American farmers had to buy seed stock from foreign sources. Those who remember the war still believe hemp importantly helped win World War II, in many ways. Another war began in 1934 with marijuana and hemp prohibition: the war on Cannabis.

Marijuana is often referred to as the gateway to hard drug use. The reality of any gateway for marijuana users is in the dangerous cloak and dagger procurement of organic marijuana. A gallop poll in October 2011 reported an all-time record level of those who believe “the use of marijuana should be made legal” at 50% — a rise of 14% since 2005. At present, sixteen states, including Colorado and Washington State, have removed the possibility of jail time for possession of modest amounts of marijuana ‘for personal use under most circumstances.” In these states, cultivation and distribution, except when exempted under a state medical marijuana law, remain criminal offenses. Ending the gateway to dealing with criminals and other dangerous health and safety vulnerabilities begins with activism and signatures.

I Thessalonians: “Prove all things; Hold fast to that which is good.”

Many pro-legalization supporters believe the 70 year Prohibition of Cannabis Sativa directly or indirectly led up to the evil creation of synthetic marijuana. Individuals who have survived the effects of “Spice” simply wished to avoid an arrest record for possessing an illegal substance. Packets of synthetic marijuana, sold visibly and legally in convenience stores are still sending hundreds of people to Florida’s emergency rooms every year. “Friendly names like Mr. Nice Guy, Spice, Cloud Nine, and Maui Wowie, sold in colorful packages attract its unsuspecting buyers. You can get quite high on it. It’s about 10 times more active than THC.”

Do these recreational users deserve such a fate for simply keeping within legal boundaries? Healthy marijuana does not send people to emergency rooms and graves, thus, there are no statistics available. “Another 374 overdoses, including two deaths were related to fake marijuana.” On the same token, illicit marijuana, purchased through criminal markets, may be adulterated and contaminated with pesticides, herbicides, or fertilizers, and infected with molds, fungi, or bacteria. Organic marijuana is not subject to the same quality control standards as legal consumer goods. “The difference between what is legal and what is illegal is almost indiscernible. That’s when it gets a little bit scary.”

At present, several states {including Florida}, are proposing regulation and taxation of marijuana like alcohol. State to state, its limitations change and differ. For example, in the Florida House Joint Resolution proposal 353, “a patient or primary caregiver charged with a violation of the state’s criminal laws related to the patient’s medical use of cannabis has an affirmative defense to such allegations if: the patient was previously diagnosed by a physician as having a debilitating medical condition.”

Depression, Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome {PTSS}, anxiety, fatigue, seizures, Asperger’s Syndrome, Autism, and other disorders not categorized as “debilitating diseases” fall in between the cracks. There exists a gaping grey area for those who use marijuana medicinally and for those who use it therapeutically. Because not all patients are qualified candidates for such legal remedies under the proposed bill, they’re still experiencing arrest and prosecution.

According to 2006 federal government figures, there were more than 41,000 Americans in state or federal prison on marijuana charges, not including those in county jails.

According to www.marijuanamajority.com, “There is one marijuana arrest every 42 seconds in the U.S.; with 759,969 arrests in 2011 in the U.S. 87% of those arrests were for ‘simple possession.” “Replacing Marijuana prohibition with a system of legal regulation would save approximately $7.7 billion in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement with $2.2 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at the state and local levels. Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year…”

George Washington said, “Make the most of the Indian Hemp Seed, and sow it everywhere.” As opposed to trees, it takes a mere 120 days to grow hemp. “Over a period of 20 years, 2.5 acres of hemp can produce as much paper as 9.9 acres of forest. Hemp harvesting increases carbon dioxide, and for over 5000 years, hemp has been cultivated and used in over 25,000 products.” The market for foods and body care products is quickly growing. Growth in hemp specialty products is driven in part by sales of hemp milk and related dairy alternatives. The Body Shop and Whole Foods Market largely boost retail sales figures exceeding $400 million annually in North America. Hemp clothing and textiles markets bring in approximately $100 million annually and between $40 million and $100 million for hemp-based foods, nutritional supplements, and body care products. “Market estimates are not available for hemp-based construction or other manufacturing products, nor of paper and other product uses.”

Concession: Although it is true that certain conservatives believe that marijuana users are simply “potheads” and “addicts,” similar labels are also available for those who abuse alcohol and tobacco or any other product or food. However, marijuana and hemp remain therapeutic and valuable in several market commodities, while alcohol and tobacco cause countless deaths annually.

10733268_1494579167480638_134158317_oEducated state representatives and economists are learning that marijuana and hemp legalization can boost our economy. Economists also know marijuana’s many benefits outweigh its risks fiscally, health-wise and safety-wise. Now is the time to become proactive and create wealth for your home state. Many individuals, including myself, clearly realize the therapeutic effects of marijuana do not include the laundry lists of contraindications and side effects that many FDA-approved medications contain. Certain herbs and vitamins you buy over-the- counter pose risks and dangers not listed on their packages. Combining St. John’s Wort, an herbal anti-depressant, with sun exposure or cheese or red wine can cause heart attack and stroke.

Like many, I believe marijuana to be the best natural anti-depressant on our planet. It is non-addictive and used safely by vaporizing, rather than smoking, it will not damage your lungs like tobacco can. On the same coin, I must state that it is not kind to regard tobacco and alcohol consumers as pariahs. These folks are indeed high-tax paying state supporters and should be regarded with our kindness and respect.

Congress is in session. The Marijuana Policy Project {MPP} website will navigate you to your state representative. Let your representatives remind you that they are there to serve well for the people of their state. Simply go to www.mpp.org. Time is of the essence in moving forward toward progressive prosperity. With your signature, you can become an important part of an historic bill signing happening now in Congress.

Sources for this article:

Burstein, Nicole Brochu and Jon. Life and Death of Mr. Nice Guy. Expose. Fort Lauderdale: Sun Sentinel, January 27, 2012. Newspaper.
Campbell, Alexia. Fake Weed and Fake Cocaine Makers Skirt Florida Bans. Health. Fort Lauderdale: Sun Sentinel, November 7, 2011. Newspaper online. http://articles.sunsentinel.com/2011-11-07/health/fl-fake-weed-arrests-2011104_1_fake-c… 2/3/2013

Friedman, Milton. 500+ Economists Call for Marijuana Regulation Debate. article. Boston: internet, February 11, 2013. internet.
Herbco.com. Hemp Resources: The Many Uses of Hemp. Fact sheet. Watsonville: Internet, 2/3/2013. advertisement.
http://www.herbco.com/t-Herb-Resources.aspx

Johnson, Renee. Hemp as an Agricultural Commodity. Research. Washington DC: Congressional Research Service, 2012. Internet. 18 December 2012. <www.crs.gov>.
Tannihill, Neil R. THINK: American Government. Glenview, Ill: Pearson Education, Inc., 2012. book.
www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2012/0353/BillText/Filed/HTML – House Joint Resolution 353. Washington DC: Florida Senate, 2012. Document.

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