Marijuana Should Be Illegal
March 23, 2014
Instructor: Jamey Pippert
Why Marijuana Should Remain Illegal
Published: February 26, 1994
To the Editor:
I read with concern "Legalizing Marijuana Would Allow Regulation of Its Potency" (letter, Feb. 13). According to the writer, marijuana with high levels of tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC (the chemical that causes the psychoactive effects on the abuser), is not a new phenomenon, and this high potency should not be used as a reason to keep marijuana illegal. Marijuana is not the same drug it was 20 years ago. Special fertilizers, plant hormones and steroids, carbon dioxide and advanced indoor horticulture techniques are used by the informed grower to "push" the plant to produce the highest grade, most potent variety of marijuana, sinsemilla. Because of its potency, domestic marijuana is the most highly prized cannabis product in the world. In 1970, the average THC content of a marijuana plant was 1.5 percent. The THC content of today's sinsemilla variety ranges from 8 percent to 20 percent. Today's marijuana is a drug that is significantly more potent than it was during the Woodstock era. The writer then states that "if the Government really believes that stronger varieties of marijuana are less desirable, then it has one more reason to support legalization. If cultivation of marijuana were legal, growers would not be pressed to produce the strongest possible product, and health authorities would be able to regulate its production and strength." This logic doesn't hold up. Why would a marijuana abuser opt for a less potent drug when stronger varieties are available? As health regulators distributed the lesser drug, illegal growers would be pushing their higher potency marijuana. More to the point, potency, although a factor, is not the only reason that marijuana should remain illegal. Marijuana contains known toxins and cancer-inducing chemicals, which are stored in fat cells for long periods of time. Scientific research relates marijuana use to damaged brain cells and respiratory systems, decreased hormone production in both sexes, acute memory loss, lowered immune systems and impaired motor skills. THC and marijuana smoke have been directly linked to miscarriage, in-utero fetal death, stillbirth and infant death just after birth, along with behavioral and biological abnormalities of offspring. Also, contrary to reports concerning medical use of marijuana, there are no reliable scientific studies showing that marijuana is an effective drug for treating nausea and vomiting. Although some studies show that pure THC, one of the many chemicals in marijuana, has some effect in controlling nausea and vomiting, this chemical is available in a pharmaceutical capsule for use by the medical community. Marijuana certainly isn't a drug we want to put our stamp of approval on, no matter what the THC level. And we should beware of those who say "there is nothing new about strong dope." STEPHEN H. GREENE Acting Administrator, Drug Enforcement Administration Washington, Feb. 17, 1994 http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/26/opinion/l-why-marijuana-should-remain-illegal-310506.html
Legalizing marijuana would not only benefit marijuana smokers, but other aspects of society as well. Unfortunately John P. Walters thinks otherwise. "The legalization scheme is unworkable. A government-sanctioned program to produce, distribute, and tax an addictive intoxicant creates more problems than it solves. First, drug use would increase. No student of supply-and-demand curves can doubt that marijuana would become cheaper, more readily available, and more widespread than it currently is when all legal risk is removed and demand is increased by marketing." Marijuana is more effective than conventional drugs in many instances. Among the arguments, proponents for medical marijuana have presented a stronger argument for legalization through their use of research and evidence. Opponents of medical marijuana have given many reasons for why it should not be legalized. One of the main reasons they argue is that “Marijuana smoke contains known carcinogens and produces dependency in users” (Medical). In many studies it has shown that it does have some harm such as the harms associated with smoking, but the National Academy of Science affirmed that “marijuana’s short term medical benefits outweigh any smoking-related harms for some patients”(Medical). Though marijuana has been proven to be damaging to the lungs than tobacco, a study in 2006 “found no evidence that marijuana smokers had higher rates of lung cancer” (Medical Marijuana). The FDA has tested the effectiveness of marijuana and has found that the cannabinoids are helpful in “treating pain associated with chemotherapy, postoperative recovery, and spinal cord injury, as well as neuropathic pain, which is often experienced by patients with metastatic cancer, multiple sclerosis,[and] diabetes” (Medical Marijuana). Government could impose heavy taxation on it.
The Marijuana Tax Act, which passed in 1937, coincidentally occurred just as the decorticator machine was invented. With this invention, hemp would have been able to take over competing industries almost instantaneously. William Hearst owned enormous acres of forest so his interest in preventing the growth of hemp can be easily explained. Competition from hemp would have easily driven the Hearst paper-manufacturing company out of business and significantly lowered the value of his land. Full Marijuana Tax Act
Medical Benefits. The American Medical Association tried to argue for the medical benefits of hemp. Marijuana is actually less dangerous than alcohol, cigarettes, and even most over-the-counter medicines or prescriptions. Marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical care. For marijuana to be illegal in the United States when alcohol poisoning is a major cause of death in this country and approximately 400,000 premature deaths are attributed to cigarettes annually.
New York Times. (1994). Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/1994/02/26/opinion/l-why-marijuana-should-remain-illeg