Staffer Questions Need for Marijuana Laws

Staffer Questions Need for Marijuana Laws
Posted by CN Staff on April 28, 2005 at 11:28:32 PT
By Hannah Anderson
Source: Nicholls Worth
Louisiana -- Thomas Jefferson wrote drafts of the Declaration of Independence on it. Willie Nelson reportedly burned it on top of the White House, but Bill Clinton says he didn't inhale it. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew it. It is Cannabis sativa. Called many different things-marijuana, pot, broccoli, Angola, reefer, ganja, Mary Jane, airplane, herb, Astro turf and grass-it is the most commonly used illicit substance in America.
According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, scientists have learned much about the effects of marijuana on the human body. Its website indicates "the short-term effects of marijuana can include problems with memory and learning, distorted perception, difficulty in thinking and problem solving, loss of coordination and increased heart rate." One study concluded that marijuana users double or triple the risk of contracting certain types of cancer. Marijuana users usually inhale more deeply and hold their breath longer than tobacco smokers do, which increases the lungs' exposure to carcinogenic smoke. These facts suggest that, puff for puff, smoking marijuana may increase the risk of cancer more than smoking tobacco."Yes, the ramifications for smokers' health should be a part of the legalization question, but there are holes in the health argument. First, all the short-term marijuana effects are also associated with alcohol, a legal drug in the United States since the Depression. Perhaps that pharmaceutical, alcohol and tobacco lobbies are the biggest financial opponents to marijuana legalization referendums better answers this question.In a 2004 Zogby International poll, 41 percent of Americans agreed, "the government should treat marijuana more or less how it treats alcohol." Yet, in Louisiana, if one is caught purchasing an ounce of marijuana (a relatively small amount), he could spend the next 20 years of his life in jail, which means the sentence for some types of murder could be shorter than buying a small amount of pot.Additionally, pot smokers tend to cause far less destruction than people who consume alcohol. Pot smokers tend to be docile people. Like Prohibition, the ban on marijuana seems to create more problems than it solves. The demand for marijuana will never disappear, so society must adapt to the ban on the drug through mafia-like activities. People are going to smoke marijuana regardless of its legality. The government should make it legal and create revenue by taxing it like tobacco.Pot smoking is ubiquitous. If so many people are doing something illegal, it seems like the enforcement of marijuana laws is arbitrary. I don't understand why the government should restrict that person from smoking pot or eating happy brownies or vaporizing it or whatever. The Nicholls Worth is the campus newspaper for Nicholls State University in Thibodaux, La. Source: Nicholls Worth (LA)Author: Hannah AndersonPublished: Thursday, April 28, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Nicholls State UniversityWebsite: -- Cannabis Archives
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