Marijuana is the flower of the cannabis plant, and if smoked, gives the smoker an euphoric high, but really has much more to offer than just the high. Using marijuana and the growing of hemp are presently illegal in the United States, with the exception of medicinal uses in some states. The legalization of marijuana has many advantages including for simple personal enjoyment, the usage of hemp and its by-products, and medicinal purposes.
Why should marijuana be illegal when people just use it to help themselves enjoy their lives more? Tobacco and alcohol are both used, and abused for the same reasons, but with many more negative side effects than pot. “Government’s surveys indicate more than 70 million Americans have smoked marijuana at some point in their lives, and that 18-20 million have smoked during the last year” (Rose, 1). Marijuana has no solid negative effects, and “the U.S National Institute of Drug Abuse’s bureau of mortality statistics report that per year there are zero deaths caused by marijuana. In comparison tobacco causes 400,000 deaths, where alcohol causes 100,000” (Rose, 1). People generally believe that marijuana is addicting, but “marijuana is not a narcotic and is not a mentally or physically addicting drug. One can use mild cannabis preparations such as marijuana in small amounts for years without physical or mental deterioration” (Adams 1). People who smoke marijuana feel relaxed and sociable, tend to laugh a great deal, and lose the sense of time. Those under the influence of marijuana also do show loss of coordination and have an impaired ability to perform skilled acts. As long as people don’t drive, or operate heavy machinery, these effects although maybe not positive, are certainly not negative. It should be up to the individual if they want to enjoy marijuana. America is supposed to be a free country, where everyone has basic human rights, including privacy. What happened to the Declaration of Independence speaking of every citizen’s right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness?” If the United States is to be persuasive in promoting freedom in other parts of the world, it must respect the privacy of it’s own citizens.
Why is a plant that was proclaimed by Popular Mechanics magazine to have the potential to be manufactured into more than 25,000 different environmentally friendly products being systematically withheld from U.S. farmers? (Popular Mechanics Magazine, 238-239). The reason is simply because hemp has a small tie to the feared marijuana, but in essence is completely different containing virtually no THC (the active ingredient of marijuana.) Hemp is possibly one of the strongest crops in nature, depending on the part of the plant it can be used for clothing, textiles, paint, plastics, cosmetics, insulation and even animal feed. It can also be used to make paper, where one acre will equal the amount of four acres of trees. “In addition, hemp has an average growing cycle of only 100 days and leaves the soil virtually weed-free for the next planting” (NORML, 1). Also there is the hemp seed, which some refer to as nature’s perfect food. The oil from hemp seeds has the highest percentage of essential fatty acids and the lower percentage of saturated fats than any food, and also is second only to soy in protein content. Steps are being made to at least legalize the use of hemp, for there are really no disadvantages in growing it. “In 1996, politicians in four states introduced legislation allowing for domestic hemp cultivation and by legislative session’s end, both Hawaii and Vermont had passed measures promoting industrial hemp research.” (NORML, 1).
Marijuana is now legal for medicinal purposes due to Proposition 215 in California, and Proposition 200 in Arizona. Also, the House has introduced bill 912, “The medical use of marijuana act.” People with specified physical pains such as headaches, arthritis, and others can now legally use marijuana. If someone is really upset or depressed, marijuana could help him or her calm down and get into a better mood so they can enjoy the rest of their day. Marijuana could be used to cure manic-depressives and would have fewer side effects than current medication used. “Clinical and anecdotal evidence also points to