Every generation has to fight for something. In the ‘20s we fought for women’s rights. In the ‘60s we fought for civil rights. What about smoker’s rights? Marijuana must be legalized.
I know what parents are thinking. “My god, what have I done? My child went to college to become a pothead.”
I am not encouraging people to smoke a joint; they are already doing that on their own. What I am encouraging is political freedom. The issue is not about smoking. It’s about the infringement of rights.
Why is this drug illegal? The U.S. government believes the drug has a high potential for abuse. Americans’ addictive tendencies include substances like alcohol and caffeinated energy drinks, but there aren’t laws preventing you from purchasing or consuming them.
According to the Huffington Post, not a single American has died from a marijuana overdose. Yet alcohol claims 75,000 American lives each year, according to NBC news. Many other FDA-approved drugs kill thousands of Americans, such as Viagra, which was the primary cause of nearly 3,000 deaths between 1997 and 2005, according to procon.org.
Marijuana is safer than most legal medication. Marijuana does not include the long list of scary side effects your standard over-the-counter medication does. Smoking or ingesting marijuana will cause dry mouth, drowsiness, increased appetite and distortions in the sense of time, reddening of eyes, relaxed muscles and the giggles. My solution to these side effects: have a meal and a drink at hand.
Long-term side effects of marijuana include damage to the lungs from smoking. This can also arise from smoking a cigarette or hookah, both legalized substances. The belief that marijuana is a scary dangerous drug has been drilled into American minds for so many decades that people believe it to be true. But the real truth is marijuana is as dangerous as a McDouble. If you have it occasionally, there is no harm.
According to the American Psychological Association, 43 percent of Americans say stress keeps them up at night. When stress is keeping you up at night, marijuana could serve as the tranquilizer you need. According to a study conducted by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), marijuana helps people who suffer from excessive stress find relief. This is because it generates neurological activity, which scientists refer to as “self-medicating,” which treat both stress and anxiety.
Those who already smoke are going to continue smoking. However, they would have the power to choose to smoke out in public at a designated area to keep it away from others who don’t want it.
Smoking marijuana should not be a crime. We could save tax dollars by reducing the amount of inmates in prisons across the country. Jeffrey Miron, an economics professor at Harvard University, calculates the government would save $7.7 billion a year if it didn’t have to spend money policing and prosecuting marijuana activity. We could also make tax dollars by taxing marijuana and other merchandise associated with it.
Miron also estimated on cnn.money.com, “If the feds taxed marijuana at a rate comparable to cigarettes and booze, another $6.2 billion would come rolling in.”
Many jobs cwould be generated from the start of this new industry as well. For instance, manufacturers of glass accessories and grinders, bakeries or restaurants for marijuana-infused cuisine, or even bars designed for those who enjoy smoking.
There are already two states that have legalized marijuana, with a handful more ready to join the trend.
How can we call ourselves the land of the free while we deny people their rights? Marijuana must be legalized.