The Legal Status of Marijuana

Topics: Cannabis, Hemp, Hashish Pages: 6 (2068 words) Published: January 16, 2013
I will never have children. How could I bring a child into a world where most of the food we eat is full of chemicals whose names most people cannot pronounce and companies can sell cigarettes and liquor which kill the equivalent of a small country every year. Three hundred thousand people die every year in the United States due to obesity related diseases caused by the consumption of convenience food. Cigarettes and alcohol together kill more people every year than non-alcohol related traffic accidents, AIDS, Homicide, drug overdose (prescription and nonprescription), obesity and firearms combined. 443,000 people in the United States to be exact. On the other hand, cannabis, a plant that has not one hospital or mortuary recorded death, few proven negative side effects, no physically addictive potential, and who’s plant fibres could serve more industrial uses than any other plant in the world, is illegal.

Up until 1883, cannabis hemp was the most widely cultivated crop in the world. Most fabrics, paper, lighting oils and other fibres were derived from cannabis hemp. The first paper mills in the United States turned out hemp paper. As a matter of fact the United States Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper. The first “marijuana laws” in the United States actually ordered farmers to grow cannabis hemp. Present day hemp has countless uses and applications, it’s broad uses include: fabrics, biodegradable plastics, construction (cement and insulation), food, body products and even bio-fuel. As a raw material hemp is carbon-negative. It should also be noted that from the 1850s up until the 1900s, about half of all pharmaceuticals in the United States contained cannabis and cannabis hemp extracts. While hemp does not produce usable amounts of THC, other cannabinoids are still present in the oil extracts of hemp which are of medicinal value. Unfortunately, the production of hemp is not allowed in the United States because it still classifies as cannabis. You can however import hemp products, if they meet a “Zero THC Tolerance” policy.

Today your average person has probably heard about the “dangerous” consequences associated with the use of cannabis. Many will argue the infamous “studies” proving that marijuana causes lung cancer, kills brain cells and is “highly addictive”. What the average person doesn’t usually do is pursue the origin of these studies to see how they were conducted. Some scientists and organizations that have conducted questionable studies pertaining to the use of marijuana even resisted explaining the methods they used.

Critics, and often the media still cite the Heath / Tulane study commissioned by Ronald Reagan, where monkeys fitted with gas masked were pumped pure marijuana smoke (absolutely no oxygen) for 15 minutes straight once a day. This went on for 90 days until the monkeys started to die. Heath went on to claim how the physical damage was due to the marijuana. In this day and age, anybody who has taken CPR in the fifth grade can tell you that brain cells start to die after a minute with no oxygen. This study was discredited by a much larger study done by the National Center for Toxicological Research where no evidence of brain damage was found. However, you won’t find that study cited in the media much. A new study recently conducted by the University of Saskatchewan indicates that certain cannabinoids promote brain cell growth similar to the way that prozac does. You probably haven’t heard about that study in the news though.

Another common perception is that marijuana causes lung cancer in a way similar to tobacco. I have personally been hard pressed to find any research showing concrete evidence that marijuana causes lung cancer. Primarily because you cannot find a patient who has been diagnosed with lung cancer due to marijuana use alone. No cases of brown lung syndrome. Not one hospital recorded death. Interesting, considering people have been using marijuana...
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