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Legalization of Cannabis

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Wes Anderson

on 31 May 2011

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Transcript of Legalization of Cannabis

Or Benefits of Hemp Hemp is a plant in the same family as marijuana (Cannabis Sativa L)
Only difference is the level of THC
Yet it is still illegal Fast and robust growth: Hemp grows extremely fast and can be grown in any climate, in any agronomic system
No herbicides/pesticides required: Hemp can be grown with no (or little) herbicides, fungicides, pesticides, or other biocides.
Suppresses weeds: Hemp is a natural weed suppressor due to the fast growth of the canopy. Actually, hemp is a weed. Because it grows so fast and densely, it blocks out sunlight to other weeds that are trying to grow.
Improves soil structure: Due to it’s long roots, hemp replenishes soil with nutrients and nitrogen and helps control erosion of topsoil. Also, once harvested, any residue can act as an eco-friendly manure.
Hemp produces lots of oxygen: Hemp produces the same amount of oxygen while it’s growing that it would use in carbon dioxide if burned as a fuel. Also, due to it’s leaf/root ratio (this can often be 10% roots vs 30% leaves), hemp can produce between 20% - 40% more oxygen than will be polluted.
Cleans up pollution: Hemp can actually clean up toxins from the ground. This process is called phytoremediation. A good example of this is when hemp was used to help clean up the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site to remove radioactive elements from the ground. Switching to hemp paper could reduce deforestation significantly. For every 4 acres of trees that are required annually to make paper, only an acre of hemp would be required. Furthermore, because hemp paper can be recycled so many times (up to 7 or 8 times), much less is needed. In comparison, paper from wood pulp can only be recycled around 3 times. This means even more trees are required.
Clothing and textiles made from hemp have no residual chemicals that could affect our health (as many other fabrics do).
Hemp based fabrics block the sun’s UV rays more effectively than other fabrics. This is true, even if it’s only a 50% blend with another fabric.
Hemp oil is the richest known source of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids (the “good” fats) Disclaimer:
This presentation seeks not to encourage the use of marijuana, save for valid medical purposes, because it is an illicit drug.
We aim to inform our audience as to the myriad potential benefits and risks of legalizing the substance in a reasonable manner.
We believe that these benefits outweigh the risks, and accordingly, that marijuana should be legalized. Marijuana Current Status It’s illegal for personal use in most situations.
However, fifteen states and Washington, DC have allowed its use for medical purposes
The federal government has expressly prohibited the full legalization of marijuana for nonmedical purposes.
However, the Justice Department, under the direction of President Obama, is no longer “subject[ing] individuals who were complying with state medical marijuana laws to federal drug raids and prosecutions.” (Fortune Magazine)
This signifies a policy shift from previous administrations, and may be a precursor to decriminalization. Key:
Orange: Medical use is legal.
Beige: No form of legalization has ever been considered in legislation.
Grey: Legislation considering legalization for medical use has been proposed prior to 2010, but has failed.
Dark grey: Legislation considering legalization for medical use was considered in 2010 Why it's illegal It’s commonly associated with “hard drugs,” like heroin and cocaine.
As such, it is viewed as a “gateway drug,” and this distinction makes marijuana seem more dangerous than it is.

It has been explicitly illegal at the federal level since 1970, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, National Institute on Drug Abuse, and the FDA all take the position that marijuana has "no currently accepted medical use.“
Such a distinction, over such a long period, is difficult to overturn. Economics of Legalization If marijuana were to be legalized, taxed, and regulated, the economic impact would be immense.
The Marijuana Policy Project, a group that includes prominent economists like Milton Friedman, estimates that it would lead to as much as $14 billion a year in savings and revenue.
$2.4 billion in federal savings.
$5.3 billion in state and local savings.
As much as $6.2 billion in revenue, were it taxed similarly to alcohol.
It has been projected that in California alone that a 10% tax on marijuana would raise $1.4 billion annually. Impact on Crime Nearly half of all drug related arrests are marijuana-based.
Legalization would accordingly cut down arrests and incarceration rates immensely.
This could be very helpful in states like California, which has an overcrowding problem in its prisons so severe that they are operating at double their capacity and was recently told by the Supreme Court that it had to start releasing inmates to get down to 137.5% of their capacity.
Also, the U.N.'s World Health Organization reported last year that "countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones.“
This shows that marijuana’s illegality is really not stifling criminal activity.
However, marijuana is often linked to a small, but statistically significant, increase in the incidence of crime. Medical Benefits Marijuana can be used to treat or manage the symptoms of, among others, the following conditions:
Alzheimer’s Disease
Cancer (Both direct antitumor treatment and chemotherapy-induced nausea)
Multiple Sclerosis
Psychological Conditions (i.e. depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, Tourette’s Syndrome) Medical Risks Marijuana has been linked to the early onset of psychosis.
Users who develop psychosis do so 2.7 years earlier, on average, than those who do not.
This risk increases along with family history of psychotic illness and with increased use of marijuana.
The Drug Enforcement Agency reports that marijuana use can:
Cause memory loss, distort perception, damage motor skills, increase heart rate, weaken one’s immune system and cause anxiety. Risk Relative To Other Drugs A study by Bristol University and The Lancet magazine produced a ranking system of drugs based on “the physical harm to the user, the drug's potential for addiction and the impact on society of drug use.”
Heroin and cocaine were ranked most dangerous, followed by barbiturates and street methadone. Alcohol was the fifth-most harmful drug and tobacco the ninth most harmful. Cannabis came in 11th, and near the bottom of the list was Ecstasy. Other Considerations Studies, including one from the prominent Centre for Economic Policy Research in London, have definitively shown that marijuana is not a “gateway drug” that leads to the use of hard drugs like heroin and cocaine.
Up until March 1, 2011, the much more dangerous marijuana substitute K2 was legal.
One can only assume that other “fake pot” substances with side effects more dangerous than those of marijuana will continue to crop up until marijuana is legalized, putting lives at risk for no reason.
The amount of marijuana one would have to consume at once in order to produce a lethal effect is 1,500 pounds.
To put that in perspective, a lethal response of alcohol is brought on by roughly a 0.4% BAC. Portugal in 2001, Portugal became the first European country to officially abolish all criminal penalties for personal possession of drugs, including marijuana, cocaine, heroin and methamphetamine.
Portugal at the time had one of the highest level hard drug uses in Europe Incarceration was more expensive than therapy,
so jail time was replaced with therapy
people found guilty of possessing small amounts of drugs are sent to a panel consisting of a psychologist, social worker and legal adviser for appropriate treatment Does it work?
In the beginning, many critics stated that legalization would exacerbate the drug problem and open the country to "drug tourists"
However, a report released by the Cato Institute shows that in the five years drug use and HIV infection by needles had dropped.
Portugal had the lowest rate of lifetime marijuana use in people over 15 in the E.U.: 10%. The most comparable figure in America is in people over 12: 39.8%.
Proportionally, more Americans have used cocaine than Portuguese have used marijuana.
rates of lifetime use of any illegal drug among seventh through ninth graders fell from 14.1% to 10.6%; drug use in older teens also declined. Lifetime heroin use among 16-to-18-year-olds fell from 2.5% to 1.8% California Election Results 2010 The End
Lawrence Chin
Erik Topp
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