Back in 1937, an ambitious man by the name of Harry Anslinger came to Congress with an idea: make marijuana illegal. He got a lot of help from a journalist named William Hearst who wanted to make pot illegal, because hemp was in danger of replacing timber as the primary material for making paper. These two began the long and ultimately ridiculous battle against what is probably the safest drug in the world.
“Marijuana is by far the most profitable of all the illegal narcotics. Cocaine, Methamphetamine, it blows them away,” said Rick Adams, a former IRS agent who did cases linked to pot.
He’s got a very good point.
To date, this drug is the one that is the most debated.
Perhaps the situation with cannabis and the government can be best described by a vlogger called ‘Grappling Ignorance.’
“When they miss the free-throws, the cheap shots, the gimmies that are right there for them, because they are too busy arguing over which Party is the best for either or any of them to actually accomplish some genuine progress.”
Really, the fact that this issue is still on the table is kind of strange. The war over this is still going strong. The best example of this was Proposition 19, in California. Everybody was certain that it would pass. Names like Bill Maher on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher were shouting out for people to vote. But, like with every other time this issue has been on the table, those against it were easily rallied to the polls.
So, what are the arguments for keeping it illegal? Some of the ads against Prop. 19 were very inspired. The “slippery slope” argument was one of the biggest. The idea is that if you smoke pot, you are then going to go immediately to smoking crack or doing heroin. This is absolutely false. Most people who would love to smoke pot have no inclination to go a step up.
The next argument is that marijuana is unsafe. This is a very interesting argument to debunk. The main ingredient of pot is a compound called Tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC. This compound has been studied to death. Something that was found is that a person cannot become physically addicted to it in the way that one can with cigarettes, prescription drugs or alcohol.
Another fact about THC is that it is almost impossible for a person to overdose. Now, for a long time, it was believed that it was impossible, but recent studies have come out with the knowledge that it is theoretically possible. However, in order to actually kill a person, one would have to harvest THC in its raw form and actually inject it into their veins. Or, if not to shoot, a person would have to smoke thousands of joints, and all very quickly, which is impossible. So, the fact is that the danger argument is ridiculous.
There is also the argument that children will be able to get it. This is garbage because it could be sold in stores and carded just like alcohol and cigarettes. Some will argue that those things get into the hands of kids anyway, but that isn’t the sellers’ problem. In those instances, it is a problem of the law.
But then there are just the fun arguments. One ad against Prop. 19 said that street signs would have to be changed for the stoners. Another was that it would hurt workers, and people who have driving jobs. Cenk Uyger debunked this one.
“The current law says that you cannot drink and drive, you also cannot be on marijuana and drive. That law will not be changed,” he said on a web broadcast of The Young Turks.
The fact is that there is no good argument against it, and there are plenty of good arguments for it. Look back at how this began – those who are against logging, here is a good source for paper.
The sales of marijuana have been roughly estimated at $10 to $120 billion annually. That is a really huge number. This is money that our government does not have access to through taxes and sales.
“You can imagine when they repealed Prohibition the kind of industry that came up around alcohol, not just alcohol itself,” said William Panzer, the author of Prop. 215, which legalized medical marijuana in California.
Part of the reason that Prohibition was ended was to bring money into the economy after the Great Depression, and here is another area that we have a metric ton of money floating around that is not helping a government that really could use some revenue right now.
It seems that America learned nothing from Prohibition. We didn’t learn that making pot illegal is going to stop nothing. Making any drug illegal is not going to stop people from using it. Really, we should advocate more than legalizing pot. We should legalize everything. But one step at a time, right?