Observations by Key Monroe~~Home of Right Opinions, Cynical Viewpoints, and TMI in Hefty Doses
|E-mail: keymonroe [at] alltel [dot] net

December 16, 2004

Let's Mellow, Shall We?

I grew up in the country with acreage. (Aunt next door with acreage, Grandmother across the street with acreage... Plenty of country acreage among the bunch.)

I never thought much of the helicopters that passed through occasionally, dipping low at times and hovering, that is until that fateful day when my Grandmother was visited by the authorities.

They followed her into her pastures and assisted her in "pulling weeds."

No, she wasn't intentionally growing Marijuana, but it was there in small quantities, and an incredibly unbelievable amount of effort went into that discovery. I remember thinking, "It's a plant. It grew on its own, naturally. How can that be wrong?"

I was a child, and I had not yet been trained to believe it wrong, so I was actually quite floored that there was such a thing as an illegal plant.

Tonight, I share with you an argument for legalization which landed in my inbox courtesy the essayist Werbinox. He has contributed content to the local paper on numerous occasions, and he is both thorough and well-researched. So I humbly request that you read every point in the extended entry. Here are his words:

Dear editor,

The following is an argument outlining some of the resons to legalize Marijuana, not just for medicinal purposes (which, from personal experience, I will be willing to fight for alone) but for general reasons as well. This is a subject which is gathering great momentum, and this should fuel some "speculation" at the very least.



The subject of medicinal marijuana use is blowing in the wind again, both figuratively and literally, so let us examine the issue in all seriousness.

The therapeutic benefits of Marijuana for cancer patients who are suffering the devestating side effects of chemotherapy is so well documented that several states in our union have, in a limited fashion, legalized it's medical use, or are in the process of trying to do so. Opponents of legalized Medicinal Marijuana claim that legalizing it in any fashion will only "kick open the door", so to speak, for it's total legalization, which will lead inevitably to general cultural acceptance of Marijuana use for a plethora of reasons, not the least of which is recreational. With all due respect to these opponents and their arguments, they are absolutely right! That is why we must advocate the only sane and rational position that there is - the complete and total legalization of Marijuana!

Here are some concrete reasons to support the legalization of Marijuana:

1) History and Cultural Acceptance -

Marijuana, also known as Hemp, has had a long and proud history in our country. It was an agricultural staple in our nation almost from the beginning, and George Washington himself grew it. During World War 2 the production of Hemp was encouraged as a part of the war effort. During the years that witnessed the birth of Jazz a number of people began to discover that smoking hemp created a pleasant physical and mental sensation known as a "high", and henceforward "Tea" (early slang for pot) became a part of American party culture on a par with tobacco and alcohol, two drugs that are currently legal and proven to be addictive, while all scientific studies of Marijuana prove conclusively that it is not addictive.
During the sixties marijuana use became a central element of counter culture consciousness, and even attained the status of a religious sacrament for those visionaries who took seriously the virtues of peace and love and forgiveness (most notably the Rastafarians) Many just saw it as a way to have a really good time without experiencing the depressing effects of addiction that come with America's two favourite legal drugs - tobacco and alcohol. As it stands in our own time, Marijuana use is an accepted part of our culture that is no more shocking than drinking a beer and playing rock and roll. Respected thinkers and individuals from the legal and law enforcement professions, to the political and entertainement arenas, advocate the long overdue legalization of Marijuana, as do many common, hard working people from all walks of life.

2) Medicinal -

Marijuana suppresses nausea and increases appetite, which is good news for those who are battling cancer with chemotherapy - which causes nausea, severe vomiting, and loss of appetite. Most of the legally prescribed drugs that are currently given to cancer patients to combat the effects of chemotherapy produce dangerous side effects themselves, such as extreme constipation, which can land a patient in the hospital for nothing other than to treat the side effect of the medication they are taking to combat the side effects of chemotherapy. Marijuana produces no side effects - aside from the fact that it is an amplifier, which means it will enhance the sensations of whatever it is that you are doing, wether you are watching a movie or listening to music, or simply thinking. It also produces a condition known as the "munchies", which gives the patient a desire to eat, a desire which can make the difference between life and death. None of these "side effects" will land you in the hospital, but they may very well keep you out of it!
No medicine on the market can compete with the beneficial effects of Marijuana for cancer patients who undergo chemotherapy. Marinol, a legel medicine that is a derivative of Marijuana (using it's active ingrediant THC) is currently available to Georgia cancer patients, yet it's effectiveness is negligable because it is weak. Once you witness a loved one suffer from cancer and chemotherapy, and personally observe the positive effects that marijuana can have on them, you will never again be the same.
It suppresses vomiting and makes them want to eat. How can a decent society deny them this? How can you deny someone you love a substance that helps them so much?

3) Economic and Environmental -

Some of the oldest and most revered documents in our national history are written on material containing Hemp. Clothes and paper products can be produced from Hemp without a single tree being cut down. Marijuana is already one of the largest cash crops in our nation, yet because of it's illegality our free market forces are not able to openly benefit from it. It is well documented that farmers across the nation, and right here in Georgia, are growing Marijuana crops because it is the only way they can survive. Many of these farmers hide their "secret" with the cooperation of local law enforcement agencies that understand the reality of the situation, and look the other way so that local citizens, relatives, and fellow working Americans can make a decent living. This is simply no way to run a state, or a country! When irrational and unjust laws cause law enforcement agencies to compromise themselves for the good of the people, then the good of the people demands that those unjust laws be abolished.
It is common knowledge that the criminal status for Marijuana is in part maintained by the petro-chemical industry that has no desire to compete with the industrial potential of legalized Hemp. Paper products and clothing can be produced without a single tree being cut down, or a single drop of oil being used, and the wholesale destruction of the environment can be drastically reduced by simply legalizing Marijuana, which, as industrial Hemp, can replace the damaging industrial processes that we need to be eradicating and replacing anyhow. Legalized Hemp will produce an incredible cash crop for farmers who are currently suffering, and will provide a stimulating shot in the arm for the American economy which can use all the help it can get. Legalized Marijuana can be taxed, and the tax money can go toward supporting all sorts of things, not the least of which is education about, and treatment for - drugs that are, unlike Marijuana, proven to be addictive and destructive to society.

4) Crime -

The Drug War is a Failure! It can never be anything but a Failure! Prohibition only creates a criminal class that becomes rich by supplying a demand that market forces are not allowed to supply. Prohibition creates criminals by definition; those who supply the illegal demand are now criminals just for supplying it. Illegality distorts prices, which can now be jacked up because they are not subject to legal market forces. A market that is classified illegal attracts criminals to run it, which increases the use of violence. A mistake that leads to a firing in the free market becomes a capitol offense in the criminal market, and leads to a bullet in the head! Criminals become rich under prohibition, and corrupt police and politicians take kickbacks by selectively "looking the other way", and enforcing the laws only against competitors that do not pay them. In short, criminilization expands criminal activity.
Marijuana is a product that is sought by a large portion of our culture. Under the ban of illegality, only criminals and corrupt officials can profit. Making a sought after product illegal creates and expands organized crime, makes gangsters richer, spreads corruption in police departments, and leaves the drug easily obtainable to anyone who wants it.

Legalization destroys the base of the criminal operation, and removes the revenue that funds official corruption.

Prohibition does not work! It did not work for alcohol, it is not working for any other drug, nor will it ever. Prohibition is maintained largely by those who profit from it. The so called Drug War is maintained to this day by the vast amount of corrupt politicians and law enforcement agents who are making way too much money from it. Legalization will cut the rug from under their feet!
All too many non violent offenders are in our prisons today, and overcrowding has become a proverbial problem. Prison overcrowding can be solved by getting all of our non violent offenders out. Drug users and addicts are not criminals, they are people suffering from health problems. They should be treated medically, not criminally. Repealling prohibition laws will decriminilize an entire class of people, remove them from our prisons and legal systems, and leave law enforcement to focus on the violent criminals who are creating the real problems in our society. For every violent criminal who committed a crime under the influence of a substance, there are several responsible citizens who use Marijuana recreationally and have never harmed anyone, and never will.

5) Morality and Freedom -

The story of Adam and Eve and the forbidden fruit is a morality tale about illegal substance use - we would not listen to God, nor will we listen to man!
According to this foundational mythology, the desire to ingest a substance and alter one's consciousness is the oldest act of humankind, perhaps a part of our very essence. Yet who will today stand up for human freedom....other than the Founding Fathers, of course?!
Marijuana legalization has been promoted for years in the same way I have just promoted it - historically, economically, medically, and in criminal justice terms,
but never before has it been promoted in terms of simple human freedom and joy. Under the terms of American Independance a human is free to pursue Life, Liberty, and Happiness as they may, provided they do not step upon the rights of others to do the same. If the ingestion of alcohol, or the inhalation and consumption of Marijuana brings joy to those who do it, why should we deny that? Is it okay to legalize a substance that has medicinal and economic benefits, yet never stand up for it's recreational use? Why are drugs supposed do everything we want them to, except create fun and joy? We live in a culture that makes the pretense of waging a Drug War, while drug companies promote their latest Cures for Everything every night on TV. What kind of hypocritical messages are we sending to the youth of American when we promote drugs for erectile dysfunction and hair loss and attention span, yet claim to be fighting drug use? Why do we allow drugs to do everything but cause joy? Are we supposed to be afraid to stand up for our right to have fun? When did we, as Americans, lose the courage to defend our right to have a good time?

posted by Key on 10:28 PM | Comments (5)
ยป The Brier Patch links with: Blowing In The Wind

and your point is?

heh heh heh...

Posted by: mr. helpful at December 17, 2004 10:50 PM

No one is tipping their hand here, are they? ; )

Posted by: Key at December 18, 2004 07:39 PM

oh, i'll be happy to tip my hand, key dearest. i was a big time stoner in my late teens and very early twenties.

and i am of the opinion that there is nothing quite like having sex while stoned...and it's even better with someone else... (SORRY...couldnt resist).

and, having said all that, i still dont think marijuana should be legalized.

Posted by: mr. helpful at December 18, 2004 08:52 PM

Here, Here. Well thought out very well said.

Posted by: John at December 20, 2004 12:14 PM

Your marijuana story was really interesting and it was sort of helpful for my 5 paragraph essay that I have to write for school. If you have any more facts or if you know anything interesting about marijuana, contact me.

Posted by: Soua Lor at March 11, 2005 07:50 PM
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