Don't Fear the Reefer
For over seventy years, America has feared the reefer. But in the end, the only thing that kids should truly fear while passing a doobie in the basement is getting caught. So, what exactly raised the alarm on weed? Perhaps its 420 chemicals (Venkataraman)? That can't be it. Compared to a single coffee bean's 1,200 and a cup of tea's 4,000, you might as well be smoking paper (Bennett).
Well, what about the dangerous long-term effects? The long-term effects of marijuana are pretty much the same as those of tobacco; however, smoking one joint is the equivalent of smoking half a pack of cigarettes (Go Ask Alice). Yet, if you think about it, the average addicted smoker is going through two packs a day, whereas the casual marijuana smoker is lighting up just a few times a week, and if you add some friends to the equation, he'll be lucky to get more than a few puffs.
So then it must be the dangerous recklessness of being high? I doubt it. When compared to the effects of alcohol, you're better off baked. Alcohol tends to amplify anger, sadness, spontaneity, and flamboyance, which can lead to recklessness, fights, crime, and even death. However, tetrahydrocannibol, more commonly called THC, the active ingredient in pot, generally causes one to "mellow out," calming his nerves and taking the edge off of emotion (Williams). Additionally, it is not possible to overdose on weed, but too much alcohol in a short period of time can ultimately cause alcohol poisoning Why should alcohol, a clearly more dangerous drug, be legal and not marijuana?
Besides, the benefits of legalizing marijuana are quite numerous. Looking to give our great country a leg up in the world market? Wanna boost the GDP a little bit? Still a die-hard Manifest Destiny kinda guy? Well, cannabis happens to be the leading cash crop in twelve states, and, on a national level, it brings in more money than corn and wheat combined (Venkatraman). Concerned about the ever-growing national debt? The government could tax the crap out of weed sales as with tobacco, and money used to staunch the flow of the drug could be put to better use.
Prison cell a little too crowded? If marijuana were legalized, cops could spend their time arresting actual criminals and free up a little bit of space in your local penitentiary. And think of how far the crime-rate would plummet. The criminal activity and violence associated with the sale and transport of marijuana would be sharply reduced. In addition, the black market in America would be crippled (Hedman).
The fact us, the government can only regulate it if it's legal. Let's face it, people are going to get it if they want it, and it's going to be the same people either way. So let them have it, but set an age limit and monitor its usage and purchase.
When you get down to it, the opposition doesn't have any viable arguments. "Marijuana presents many health risks." So does fast food. Should we outlaw McDonald's and have Mexicans smuggle happy meals over the border? "More people will smoke weed since it'll be easier to get." It's going to be the same people either way, and it's really not that hard to get anyway. And of course, there's the classic "Marijuana leads to harder drugs" argument. For the love of God, sugar leads to harder drugs according to such a backwards way of thinking.
At the end of the day, why is weed illegal? I can't think of a legitimate reason. If effectively regulated, the benefits of legalizing marijuana could very well outweigh its disadvantages. For more than seventy years, we have feared the reefer. I say it's time to end the terror.
Works CitedI can't seem to get my sources to go the fuck on this damn site. Email me at if you want the info, I'd be happy to provide it.