If there was a resource on Earth that had the ability to make well over 5,000 textile products from its fibers, upwards of 25,000 products from its cellulose, could be used to make thousands of products we already have even better, and had never killed a single person we’d surely be using it right? Wrong. Not only are we not using it, but it has been banned and illegal in America for over 70 years. Yes, I’m talking about marijuana, also known as cannabis or hemp. When you think about it in these terms it doesn’t seem bad at all, but throw its name out there and suddenly people begin assuming things that simply aren’t true. Marijuana was once just as legal as milk or butter. In fact, the very first marijuana law in the United States was enacted in 1619 in the Jamestown Colony. It ordered all farmers to grow hemp. For thousands of years, until 1883, cannabis hemp was one of the largest agricultural crops in the world. This is because hemp is by far the most robust, durable, natural soft fiber on Earth. Despite these benefits, the US Government passed a Marijuana Tax Act in 1937 to tax the sale of the plant. Under this Tax Act, farmers needed to buy a stamp from the government allowing them to grow marijuana or hemp. But the government wouldn’t sell any stamps. To anybody. Therefore, nobody could legally grow and/or sell cannabis or hemp. Just like that, marijuana was illegal. And it still is to this day. The government should legalize cannabis and hemp though because they have never caused a single death, they are incredibly useful and versatile, and legalization could boost our slumping economy (Harvey, 2007).
Growing up, most kids here the same negative things about marijuana that their parents heard and passed on to them. Cannabis and hemp are illegal for a reason. Studies have proven that smoking marijuana kills your brain cells and can cause cancer. Not only these horrible things, but it’s a gateway drug. In other words, using marijuana will eventually lead you to use more hardcore drugs. To add to this, marijuana is a horribly addictive drug. The Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), has statistics to show that there are more kids in treatment for marijuana use than any other drug. These things just show how bad marijuana can really be for you.
The fact of the matter is that all those reasons to be opposed to marijuana are misconceptions. They are simply not true. The one and only study that has ever found marijuana kills brain cells was done with major flaws in it making the results unable to be used as data. Meanwhile, there are recent reports showing no brain cell damage from cannabis usage. The same goes for cancer, not a single case of cancer has been caused directly from usage of marijuana has ever been discovered. There’s also no shred of evidence marijuana users are inclined to use more hardcore drugs. As for the statistic about kids in treatment, well that statistic is true. The DEA never tells you why it’s true though. When a kid is caught using or possessing marijuana, they are taken to court. A judge gives these kids only two options: jail or some other horrible penalty or go to treatment. The kids obviously all choose treatment over jail. Reports state that only 3% of people in treatment for marijuana are there voluntarily (Harvey, 2007).
So even if cannabis use doesn’t cause cancer or kill brain cells it must still be dangerous and kill thousands and thousands of people each year, right? Wrong again. Statistics are released every year giving us information on which substances cause the most deaths in America. Well, the winner killed more people than aids, heroin, crack, cocaine, alcohol, fire, murder, and car accidents combined. And yes this substance is 100% legal. With over 430,000 deaths a year in America alone, tobacco is by far the biggest killer. Alcohol comes in around 85,000 deaths. Caffeine kills between