Political Opinion: The legalization of Marijuana

Updated: Apr 30, 2019

Kayla Mcmillian and JR Garner | Contributing Writers

Marijuana is the most popular and commonly used illicit drug in the whole world. It wasn’t always a drug, it was used in Ancient Chinese medicine around 3000 B.C. It spread across the world, going from Central Asia to Europe and all throughout Africa and it was used to treat anxiety, ease pain and had several health benefits. Marijuana didn’t become illegal until it came to the U.S in the early 20th century, when Mexicans were fleeing the country during the Mexican Revolution (1910-1911) and they brought the plant with them.

Mexicans were portrayed as criminals, rapists, and murderers, much like Trump describes them today, and the government associated their savage behavior with smoking marijuana. So, Harry Aslinger, the commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, campaigned to make the drug illegal and put Mexicans in prison.

In 1937, the Marijuana Tax Act made it illegal nationwide for possession and use of marijuana, all because politicians were racists and associated smoking marijuana with criminals. In 1970, marijuana was classified a schedule 1 drug as part of the Controlled Substance Act, saying it has no medical benefits and has a high probability of abuse and addiction. In July 1973, Richard Nixon established the DEA to help him launch “a full-scale attack on the drug abuse in America.”

Cannabis has over 80 different chemical compounds found in it, but the two main cannabinoids are Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) and Cannabidiol (CBD). THC is the psychoactive cannabinoid that gives users the effect of euphoria or feeling high, CBD on the other hand does not. CBD can be sold in gels, gummies, oils and supplements, and is used to treat pain, seizures, inflammation, nausea, migraines, depression and anxiety. 

THC can help with pain, muscle spasticity, glaucoma, insomnia and low appetite. Since we have plenty of proof that Cannabis be used are medical benefits, why is it still considered a schedule 1 drug which isn’t supposed to have any? Even as a recreational drug, marijuana is safer than most of the drugs we use, tobacco kills 480,000 people a year, and here are 88,000 alcohol related deaths every year. Cannabis has a death toll of 0, although there were some cases of people dying from smoking synthetic marijuana, better known as K2.

This is a reason why cannabis should be legal, so the FDA can regulate and control what consumers use. Legalization will lead to a radical change of how marijuana will be grown and sold, and it will make it safer for consumers nationwide. Dispensaries must go through health inspections to make sure they are not selling a contaminated productive. If marijuana was legal there would be no need for drug dealers that can sell you harmful products such as K2.

Tobacco products are causing more health-related issues in the U.S. compared to marijuana, yet the industry is flourishing. Despite smoking tobacco being the leading preventable cause of death in the U.S., an article written by Tobacco Free Life informs 500,000 deaths are associated with smoking tobacco due to dire health risks, especially lung cancer. 

Not only are there almost no reported health-related deaths linked to smoking marijuana, tests have shown that the smoke in the consumers lungs don’t lead to cancerous cells compared to tobacco smoke. So why is the tobacco industry so successful? Mainly because smoking cigarettes have been romanticized within American society since the mid-1900’s; however, the social order has reduced marijuana users to unproductive and incompetent.

Some would prefer laziness over a breathing stoma. Laneika Perdue, my aunt, fell victim to what she once considered, the “lavish lifestyle of smoking cigarettes” and now she suffers from an iron-deficiency where her body loses a significant amount of Vitamin C. Essentially, Vitamin C is crucial to the absorption of iron because it keeps the body from feeling weak and tired. 

Now is time to hold the tobacco industry accountable for making profit off their cancerous products. If they are left unchecked, more Americans will die. Smoking marijuana has proved to be a medical ailment, so the general public must alleviate their outdated beliefs so lives can be saved. Instead of standing by while tobacco companies ruin the health of Americans, authoritative figures need to invest in the evolution of medicine.