It's Just a Plant Essay

Submitted By skasumovic
Words: 980
Pages: 4

Semir Kasumovic
Jayme Cook
ENG101: Argumentation (Persuasive) Essay (974)
08 April 2013
It’s Just a Plant “Two of my favorite things are sitting on my front porch smoking a pipe of sweet hemp, and playing my Hohner harmonica” said U.S. president Abraham Lincoln. There is much to be said about America’s greatest president, but many americans say marijuana is not the evil drug many others we’re raised to believe. The U.S. should legalize marijuana to increase tax revenue, provide medical provisions to those in need, and develop hemp as a valuable and diverse agricultural crop. First, what is marijuana? Formally, it is a species of flowering plants with two types, Cannabis Sativa and Cannabis Indica. The primary psychoactive compound is (Delta-1-tetrahydrocannabinol) or, THC for short. When THC enters the bloodstream the user almost immediately feels a strong euphoric sensation, commonly referred to as the “high”. Marijuana use dates back to approximately 2700 B.C. in China, where it was used for ailments (wikipedia.com). However, in the U.S., marijuana is classified as a “Schedule I Controlled Substance”, along with cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin to name a few. With failed prohibition costs exceeding billions of dollars annually, why has the U.S. not legalized marijuana? The U.S. should legalize marijuana as it will provide increased tax revenue to the economy. According to Harvard Economist Jeffrey Miron, “legalizing marijuana would save $7.7 billion per year in government expenditure on enforcement, in addition to generating $2.4 billion annually if taxed like most consumer goods, or $6 billion per year if taxed similarly to alcohol and tobacco.” The prohibition of marijuana is proof that one of the fights in the war on drugs has failed miserably. On the other side of the spectrum, some opponents of marijuana legalization might argue that the tax revenue would be offset by higher social costs. For example, The Federal Government claims “Federal excise taxes collected on alcohol in 2007 totaled around $9 Billion; states collected around $5.5 Billion. Combined, these amounts are less than ten percent of the estimated $185 Billion in alcohol-related costs to health care, criminal justice, and the workplace in lost productivity”(whitehouse.gov). Comparing marijuana with alcohol and tobacco is completely irrelevant to the marijuana legalization debate, therefore it is a false analogy. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), alcohol and tobacco use combined results in about 519,000 deaths in the U.S. annually from illnesses and fatal accidents. By contrast, there are no concrete studies linking marijuana use to serious health effects thus far. Many health officials are concerned with the harmful carcinogens marijuana smoke contains when combusted. As a result, many users are turning to alternative delivery methods, such as oral and vapor forms which completely eliminate the carcinogen risk. Also, marijuana is incapable of causing a fatal overdose, and the effects are inversely associated with aggression and damage. The U.S. should not only legalize marijuana due to increased tax revenue, but for the medical provisions to those in need. “Marijuana is another analgesic that has been around for many centuries. Cannabis is currently and rather recently illegal in many countries including the United States. Still, probably about 10-20 percent of patients admit to trying marijuana as a pain reliever for their chronic pain. Most of them report significant pain relief. Some comment that it is their most effective pain reliever” (Sams 36). Many patients with conditions like HIV, cancer, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, severe migraines, nausea and lack of appetite use marijuana as treatment. Unfortunately, only 19 states recognize marijuana as an alternative to conventional medicine. That means patients who live in states where it is illegal, must resort to buying their medicine from “street…