The topic of cannabis has become front page news as tolerance and acceptance of this plant is becoming more prevalent. The government's viewpoint is that the plant has no medicinal value, is highly addictive and therefore needs to be under their control. The current voice of the people states that the stigma surrounding cannabis is wrong; it fact this plant has proven to be useful in multiple areas that effects everyone. The purpose of this paper is to present several areas of life that affect a large percentage of individuals and how cannabis can create a positive change in those areas; thereby arguing in each area that there is a legitimate justification for the legalization of cannabis.
There is an adage that states "You can't have your cake and eat it too.", the government needs to take this to heart as they cannot approve medications that are derived from cannabis while still claiming there are no medical benefits. Currently there are at least three drugs on the Market derived from cannabis or a synthetic substitute which are listed as Schedule II or III while cannabis is still listed as a schedule I (Macaluso, 2014). This type of double standard is what angers society and creates an inequality in justice handed down to those who use the plant in a holistic manner. The argument to be made here is that the government must not be allowed to alter a substance that has been proven to offer relief from many different ailments for extreme profits exclusive to medical companies.
For centuries, there was a global use for cannabis for industrial usage; paper, fabric, rope and other items. Cannabis sativa contains the lowest amount of the active ingredient THC which is the chemical that creates the "high" when the plant is smoked. Although there was legislation was passed in 2007 to encourage industrial hemp but to this date the government seems to be enforcing the laws laid out in 1937 that outlawed "every compound, manufacture, salt, derivative, mixture, or preparation of such plant, its seeds or resin." (Rawson, 2007). Henry Ford actually explored the idea of creating a motor vehicle that was made and used only material and fuel created from cannabis which was introduced to the public through the magazine Popular Mechanics; the car was a thousand pound lighter than the standard car while being ten times stronger than steel (UKCIA, ND). The argument for supporting cannabis under industrial would be that it could create jobs at all levels of life; there would be jobs in growing, processing, research, and manufacturing. Long term affects would be seen in an improved environment.
When America was established, it was based on the idea that individuals had the right to practice religion freedom; cannabis has been used by multiple faiths around the world. Rastafari, Chinese, Scythians (Greeks), Hinduism, Germanic, and Celts all used cannabis to aid individual worship (religionfacts, 2015). Over time there has been several cases; in 2006 a federal judge decided that founders of a church in New Mexico did not have "legitimate belief in cannabis." while earlier that same year Gonzales v. O Centro Espirita Beneficente Uniao do Vegetal supported the use of other plants that contains DMT for religious use but rules were strictly confined to this case. In 1993 the Religious Freedom Restoration Act was passed but rejected in 1997 for being too broad (mjlegal, 2006). The argument for legalizing cannabis for religious purposes is based on the Constitution providing each American with the right to practice the faith of choice. In today's world where the pubic is being forced to be accepting of religions practiced by those that offer physical threats to those considered infidels there is no excuse why the use of cannabis for religious purpose should not be accepted.
It is quite clear from yearly statistics gathered by the FBI that many drug related arrest for just cannabis are disproportionate of offenses that include harder drugs like cocaine and meth; almost forty-one percent of drug arrest are solely for cannabis (FBI, 2013). Every year, alcohol related deaths for ages 20-64 are one in ten adults (CDC, 2014); but the punishment handed down for alcohol related crimes are still minor when compared to cannabis. Mandatory sentences place a stigma on those who prosecuted for even minor amounts which makes it difficult to maintain gainful employment. The argument for legalization here would mean that there would be fewer individuals in jail for cannabis which by extension means more room for those who deserve longer sentences; murders, rapist, and pedophiles to name a few. Lower criminal records means individuals can maintain employment which allows them to remain supportive members of society.
There is currently great debate over the condition of the environment, global warming and food contamination which may or not be caused by the toxic byproducts of fossil fuels; cannabis can replace, reduce, be recycled better than the current list of plastic, fuels, cloth and livestock feed. There are studies where it can be proved that cannabis is bug resistant which leads to fewer pesticides thus creating unpolluted water tables (Kerr, 2005). The argument here is a simple one; there is only one earth so why not do the best for the planet and use a product that has as many uses as George Washington Carver found with the peanut and sweet potato.
The arguments presented for each of these ares and the corresponding studies should offer enough proof to even the most skeptical individual that there is no justifiable reason for allowing cannabis to be vilified. It needs to be made legal for both medical and recreational; it needs to be researched so society lives in understanding instead of fear and ignorance.
Mjlegal, 2006. Religious Use of Marijuana. Retrieved from http:mjlegal.org/religious.html