It is Time to Legalize Marijuana Essay

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The long-standing prohibition against recreational use of cannabis in the United States should be repealed. In addition, the penalties for possession and trafficking of cannabis should be abolished, and cannabis should be taxed and regulated by the federal agency that controls the other recreational, legal, yet addictive and potentially injurious substances tobacco and alcohol (the ATF).

Cannabis has been illegal since the Marijuana Tax act of 1934. Yet of a population of 284 million (2000 U.S. Census), 70 million Americans claim to have smoked cannabis at some point in their lives [NORML]. Prohibition of cannabis is therefore apparently ineffective at changing the habits of a population, just as prohibition of alcohol was
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Furthermore, "most marijuana smoked in the United States is grown in the United States" [27 Information Plus]. In fact, across of the States' farmland, cannabis is the number one cash crop [Pollan; ONDCP], surpassing even tobacco. It is also important to note that the elicit cannabis trade can be separated from the illicit "hard" drug trade (cocaine, heroin, ecstasy and the like are all highly profitable and controlled entirely by armed cartels. It is much harder to justify the use of these other drugs given the addiction and social ills associated with their use).

Given stark figures like numbers of cannabis smokers and amount of money spent to keep stoners in jail, it seems ludicrous to argue that prohibition of cannabis be maintained. Yet despite of all the credible scientific, medical and sociological reports indicating that cannabis prohibition is damaging, or, at least, not helping the nation, public opinion of U.S. residents is counter. This can be attributed to the multi-million-dollar propaganda campaign waged by the government and the anti-drug industrial complex. It may not surprise you to learn that major sponsors of D.A.R.E. and similar (mis)education and advertising (propaganda) campaigns are often alcohol and tobacco companies! The opposing opinion that cannabis should not be legalized is often based on erroneous and outrageously wrong evidence. Statements that cannabis is a "gateway" drug, that it "causes" schizophrenia and

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