Greed Stands In The Way of Decriminalization

Greed Stands In The Way of Decriminalization
Posted by CN Staff on May 08, 2008 at 11:20:57 PT
By Orval Strong, Special To The DN
Source: Red Bluff Daily News 
USA -- I would like to take this opportunity to write about a plant with an undeserved reputation. Everyone knows, or thinks they do, about this weed, but most really don't. If you haven't had any experience with this substance at one time or another, you probably know someone who has. I'm referring, of course, to marijuana.This weed was outlawed in 1937. Do you know why? You would think it was because of complaints from the medical profession for having to treat so many marijuana addictions, or the police because marijuana was the main impetus behind so many violent crimes, but you would be wrong.
Legislation to criminalize marijuana was rammed through Congress because of the efforts of two men. Harry J. Anslinger, the first director of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics who saw that policing the opium and cocaine trade was not enough to justify his position. He needed something more prevalent and pot hit the spot.Anslinger had a strong ally in William Randolph Hearst. Hearst had some personal reasons to see that marijuana or pot smoking was made illegal. First he hated Mexicans, and since the majority of pot users at the time were Mexicans, it was a good way for him to get revenge because Pancho Villa, their leader, had taken 800,000 acres from him. Also, he had invested heavily in a new papermaking process that used wood pulp instead of the superior hemp fiber to make paper.So with Hearst's enormous propaganda machine going at full speed, the vast majority of the people and Congress were persuaded that marijuana was a danger to society. Interestingly the sole objection came from a Dr. William C. Woodward, who, at the time, was the legislative Council for the American Medical Association. Woodward criticized Anslinger for distorting previous AMA statements that had nothing to do with marijuana and making them appear to be AMA endorsements for Ansling's views.Many today still believe that marijuana has no medicinal value, is highly addictive, that it kills brain cells, that it drives people crazy, etc., etc... But the truth of matter is, all of those accusations have been shown to be false by numerous scientific experiments from 1893 to the 1970s as explained in a book by Lynn Zimmer, an associate professor of sociology at Queens College, City University of New York, and John P. Morgan, M.D., professor of pharmacology at the City University of New York Medical School. Their book is titled Marijuana Myths Marijuana Facts.Of course some studies confirmed the dangers of marijuana, but Zimmer and Morgan point out in their book that those studies had significant flaws. I find it quite odd that mankind has successfully used and benefitted from this plant for 8,000 years, but now it is an accursed thing.Here are a few more reasons I believe marijuana should be decriminalized: There are 60 chemicals in marijuana that could have medical uses. If there were absolutely no medical benefits to THC (tetrahydrocannabinol, marijuana's chief psychoactive ingredient) why put it in a pill (Marinol) form and prescribe it to patients.According to Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP), the drug war costs $69 billion per year. A professor of economics at Harvard by the name of Jeffrey Miron estimated that if marijuana was legalized and taxed like ordinary consumer goods, it would bring in $2.4 billion a year. And if it were taxed like alcohol or tobacco, the revenue would be $6.2 billion. Why is it that the only ones who profit from marijuana are illegal drug dealers? The marijuana arrests in the United States in 2005 was 88.5 percent and was for possession only. Police arrested 786,545 people for marijuana violations in 2005. That same year, police arrested 603,503 for committing violent crimes.The craziest part of all of this, in my opinion, is that they warn that pot smoking leads to experimenting with harder drugs like heroin or cocaine, but physicians can legally prescribe morphine and cocaine but not THC, except, of course, in a pill form (Marinol) which is the most inefficient way to metabolize THC. Smoking is simply the most efficient way to do it.The American College of Physicians, the largest group of internal medicine doctors in the United States, have endorsed the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Thirty-six states permit its use as a therapeutic drug.The main ally in the decriminalization of marijuana is the truth. The main stumbling block to it is greed. Finally, I want to make it clear that I, by no means, recommend that anyone try smoking pot. I'm just saying we shouldn't punish those who do. Orval Strong, of Gerber, is a 100-percent disabled combat veteran from the Vietnam War era. He can be reached at:  strongorv theskybeam.comSource: Red Bluff Daily News (CA)Author: Orval Strong, Special To The DNPublished: May 8, 2008Copyright: 2008 Red Bluff Daily NewsWebsite: editor redbluffdailynews.comCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #2 posted by user123 on May 09, 2008 at 11:07:51 PT:
Good Subject
I wonder why someone hasn't made a movie about this subject? Hey Michael Moore, get busy!
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Comment #1 posted by Sinsemilla Jones on May 09, 2008 at 01:58:10 PT
From a Gerber Baby, lol.
Orval Strong's brain sure isn't 100% disabled!"I find it quite odd that mankind has successfully used and benefited from this plant for 8,000 years, but now it is an accursed thing."Odd indeed.Highly ironic, in fact, that mankind denies itself what well may be the most useful plant on Earth, at the very time that we need it the most.
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