Weed Isn't Heroin: Why The Hell Is It Taking So Long To Legalize It?

by Lauren Martin

I shall name my daughter Marijuana and we will call her Mary Jane... If Gwyneth Paltrow can name her daughter Apple, and Beyoncé, Blue Ivy, I think marijuana is, if anything, a more than respectable choice for a first name. At least it has meaning behind it. At least it stands for something... a fight, a battle, a revolution, a change.

Because, unlike our parents, we won’t look at weed as the antithesis of the American dream, but rather, the revival of American modernism.

The problems of the misunderstood child whose genius was denied have been long-held; it’s been a long, treacherous road to the semi-legalization (only two states have fully legalized it, while 15 states have decriminalized certain amounts of possession) of the medically-sound drug.

Back in the day, our parents used to find joints in our socks and act as if they discovered syringes and tin foil. To them, you were on the "dope," the "grass," the "devil's lettuce." You entered the dark side and it was only a matter of time before your addiction turned fatal and you'd be on the street selling your body for crack.

We’d wonder, when did weed become the equivalent of heroin and crack? Oh, since the government decided it was. Because everything the government does is always spot on.

Why shouldn’t we listen to the same people who once told us that black and white children should go to separate schools or that gay marriage is “unconstitutional.” Why shouldn’t all the laws enacted in the 70s still work today?

This is a time when it was illegal to operate a bingo game if you were convicted of a felony and women could not keep their jobs if they became pregnant, it was also when the Controlled Substances Act (CSA) of 1971 placed marijuana on the Schedule 1 tier of classified drugs on the “Schedule Of Controlled Substances.” The most dangerous and likely for dependency category.

According to its placement on the Schedule 1 tier, marijuana is in the same category as heroin, which is above cocaine, methamphetamine and oxycodone (OxyContin). After 40 plus years, I think it's safe to say that marijuana does not deserve to be in a category that is classified as having no "accepted medical use" nor as "the most dangerous drugs of all the drugs."

According to the US Department of Justice, the CSA also “allows substance to be added to or removed from a schedule, and to be rescheduled or transferred from one schedule to another." If we have the ability to move weed from a Schedule 1 drug to at least a Schedule 4, or be removed entirely from the list, why aren't we? How come the last time an appeal was filed for a rescheduling of cannabis was in 2012 and denied January of 2013? Why are the FDA and DEA still debating if the drug should be brought down?

Why, in 2014, when we’ve already proven the medical properties and economic promises of its legalization, do we continue to classify it as a Schedule 1 drug? Why, when it's now used by over 25 million people annually, could save our government billions in federal and state taxes, and legalized for medicinal purposes in 23 states, does the US Government refuse to move it off? Seriously, why the f*ck is it taking so long?

It’s Way Better Than Alcohol

According to Pew Research Center’s latest survey, there has been a broad shift in opinion on marijuana and its legalization with a 54 percent majority in favor of legalization. Not only that, but seven-in-10 (69 percent) Americans believe alcohol is more harmful to a person’s health than marijuana. The majority would be correct on this.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, alcohol led to 88,000 deaths in the United States in 2013. Marijuana has reported zero. That's zero overdoses, zero deaths from under the influence and zero accidental marijuana accidents.

It’s A Less Addictive Pain Killer

According to the Center for Medicinal Cannabis Research (CMCR), founded in California to support the scientific studies that assess the safety and efficacy of cannabis in treating medical conditions, states that have legalized medical marijuana have seen 25 percent fewer deaths from overdose of prescription pain killers. Marijuana is actually decreasing the amount of addictions. The drug deemed "highest potential for abuse" is actually lowering the addiction rate.

They have found its medical properties useful in treating appetite suppression, chronic pain, severe nausea and vomiting associated with cancer and chemotherapy, severe muscle spasticity and some of the neuropathic pain associated HIV.

It’s Safer Than Cigarettes

According to a study published in Journal of the American Medical Association, unlike cigarettes, marijuana does not harm our lungs. On the contrary, it has the ability to increase lung capacity. If we sell tobacco legally, why is marijuana still labeled as the "most dangerous drug"?


Its Health Benefits Are Unparalleled

According to the National Eye Institute, since the early 1970s, marijuana has proven to lower intraocular pressure in people with glaucoma (and without) along with slowing down the progression of the disease and preventing blindness.

It’s also been proven to prevent epileptic seizures, according to a study published in the Journal of Pharmacology. And in a 2006 study published in the Journal of Molecular Pharmaceutics, it’s been found that THC slows the progression of Alzheimer's disease.

These are just a few of the known effects of marijuana with countless more in research.

It Helps Your Relationship

According to a study published on the association between marijuana use and intimate partner violence, couples who smoke weed together have happier marriages and less partner aggression.

In a study of 634 couples over a nine-year span, 37 percent of husbands who did not use marijuana became physically violent with their wives within the first year of marriage. The couples, however, who did not experience domestic violence were those in which both spouses smoked weed.

It's Economically Advantageous

The economic effects of marijuana legalization are no longer something to hypothesize or ponder, but rather, study as an economic plan that could provide jobs, additional revenue and increased public efforts.

The two states of Colorado and Washington that have already legalized the "drug" prove impressive case studies on the economic promise of national legalization.

According to studies reported in "The Huffington Post", in just the first two months of legalized marijuana sales, Colorado collected $6.17 million in tax revenue. Within a year, it's predicted that Colorado will reap $98 million in tax revenue with $40 million of it planned to go towards public school construction.

Along with increased education efforts and tax revenue, the legalized marijuana industry is estimated to provide between 7,500 and 10,000 jobs just within the state of Colorado.

And finally, the last and most important number lies at $17.4 billion. No, that's not the number we could earn, but rather the estimated total amount that marijuana prohibition costs state and federal governments every year.

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