For years now cannabis has been thought of as an extremely dangerous drug, often being roped in with crack, meth, and heroine. This is all the product of a long history of slander and lies and even racism. According to an article by Anna Wilcox in 2014, cannabis was demonized by white elites who used the foreign name “marijuana” and associated it with African Americans and Mexican Americans to impart blame for the great depression. Harry Anslinger was one of the primary individuals responsible for the negative view on cannabis, testifying to Congress saying, “Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind… Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, Filipinos and entertainers. Their satanic music, jazz and swing, result from marijuana usage”. As I’m sure we all know, this is racist and bigoted propaganda. The truth about cannabis, as discussed by former NFL player Jack Brewer, is that it has many benefits and is really no worse than already legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco. Brewer states in his article, “I can buy huge amounts of vodka or menthol cigarettes nearly anywhere in the U.S., and we can attribute thousands of lost lives to those products” which is painfully true. There is nothing to prevent a person from purchasing a gallon of Bacardi 151 (which for those of you who don’t know is 151 proof or 75.5% alcohol and will hurt you and likely kill a man in such quantities) or an entire carton of cigarettes, but any cop on the road will arrest you for buying just a few grams of cannabis. For cigarettes alone, Brewer reports “nearly 500,000 deaths in the United States per year with medical bills approaching $140 billion per year”, yet they are 100% legal. The medicinal benefits for cannabis are also duly noted by Brewer. He mentions that cannabis, “shows promise in treating arthritis and bears minimal chance of organ damage” and “stops pain, mitigates multiple sclerosis and Tourette Syndrome symptoms, and may reduce dystonia, among other beneficial effects”. Brewer also mentions the potential financial gains related to legalizing recreational cannabis use, referencing Colorado’s six million dollar tax revenue from the first two months after the decriminalization of recreational cannabis use. I like the way Brewer makes his points, his article argues the way I would argue, with facts tied in with good logic. That and Jack Brewer is an upstanding figure as an ex-NFL player and CEO of a diversified global advisory firm, and a well-educated man holding a master’s degree from the University of Minnesota and having completed executive business programs at Harvard Business School and The Wharton School of Business.
The opposition has many claims of their own, however, many of them are fairly faulty. According to an article on drugrehab.us, cannabis addiction would be problematic as “stopping marijuana use leads to withdrawal symptoms that range from irritability to anxiety”. The problem with this is that stopping any habit would cause irritability and possibly anxiety, I know that if I stopped drinking coffee suddenly I would become very irritable and fairly anxious, and you, as my fellow class mates can watch for this as I’m all out of coffee and won’t be able to get more for a while. They also say that because it alters the user’s perception it is too dangerous to legalize, but alcohol does the same thing and can even do so in greater and worse ways (getting blackout drunk). And the argument that cannabis is a gateway drug to the hard stuff like crack or heroine is valid, however would not be so if cannabis use was legal. Using cannabis doesn’t create some kind of desire for hard drugs, the only reason that people move to harder drugs is because of their company. People who use illegal drugs often hang out together a lot, this is where the introduction to hard drugs comes from, if cannabis were legal, there would be no need for users to hide out with other drug users and get this exposure to hard drugs, they would instead be able to stay at home and enjoy their cannabis in safety. While I understand some of the article’s claims opposing cannabis use, they still seam invalid to me. Besides, of course a rehab page would argue that cannabis is a dangerous drug, it’s in their best interests to keep it that way.
Brewer, Jack. “3 Reasons Recreational Marijuana Should Be Legal in All 50 States.” The Business Journals. 10 July 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
“Legalizing Recreational Marijuana – Pros and Cons.” Drug Rehab. 2012. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.
Wilcox, Anna. “The Origin of the Word “Marijuana”” Leafly. 3 June 2014. Web. 28 Mar. 2016.