Affects of Prohibition of Marijuana

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Mitch Thiem
Mrs. Horn
English 3
Affects of the Prohibition of Marijuana
What is marijuana? Marijuana is hemp (cannabis), and hemp is the most durable, strong, natural-soft fiber that was the largest agricultural crop in the world until 1883 (Harvey). Hemp was so widely produced because it grows quickly and it can be used for products like fabric, lighting oil, medicines, paper, and fiber (Harvey). The numerous possible products that this plant can produce could have an enormous affect on the world and the United States. In 1937, the United States government had a federal law passed making it illegal to possess and transfer marijuana (Harvey). But that didn’t stop people from creating a black market that has made the value of marijuana worth ounce for ounce the same amount as gold (Harvey). Since the law was passed, the government has used tax money from citizens to keep this “so called” dangerous drug out of citizens’ hands. Lately, many people have started to ask questions over the years which usually relate to this one. Is the prohibition of Marijuana a helpful law for our government, bodies, and environment?

In the past few years, the numbers of arrests for marijuana have climbed up to more than 800,000 people per year in the United States of America. This number of people being taken into custody makes up for more than HALF the amount of drug related arrests in the U.S. (Harvey). If the government is arresting that many people a year most viewers would say prohibition is working, but it should be telling them that it isn’t, that’s unless we are talking on behalf of the black market. It is clearly evident that the illegal growers and distributors have created an enormously profitable monopoly. This forbidden business it is untaxed and unregulated, therefore letting criminals create an artificial inflated value for weed. These steep costs continue to rise because consumers have continuously shown that the higher prices won’t stop them from buying (Harvey). As the large income piles up, most sellers start looking deeper into the black market to make more money. This usually leads them to other drugs like crack, heroin, and other narcotics, essentially turning marijuana into a gateway drug. In other words, when a consumer goes to a drug dealer to buy marijuana illegally, he or she has now opened up the doors to a market that may offer other drugs illegally, therefore making it a gateway drug. This black market industry would be completely destroyed if marijuana were legalized because weed is the drug that reels people into their unauthorized market. Even the drug dealers don’t want it to be legalized because they know it would mess up their whole corrupt system. Legalization would make them face more competition, which means lowering of prices, and government regulations. The prohibition of marijuana may be beneficial in some ways, but it has given a monopoly to convicts, which results in the U.S. government spending $7.7 billion annually to enforce marijuana prohibition (Harvey). If the government is spending an enormous amount of money to make this drug illegal, how are so many people lured into the black market by Marijuana?

The answer to that question is, marijuana is not very harmful. The difference in the numbers of deaths per year between tobacco and marijuana use is staggering. In the United States, approximately 430,000 people die a year from tobacco abuse. When it comes it to marijuana, there is not one recorded death from cannabis use in the world, yet millions of Americans inhale marijuana smoke everyday (Harvey). According to a movie called The Union, marijuana smoke when inhaled does not increase risk of cancer. In 2009, a study was done on moderate smokers over a 20 year time period and it concluded that smoking mary jane reduced the chance of head and neck cancer. Another study showed that heavy long-term smoking was not associated with lung Cancer, upper aero-digestive...
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