Outline Legalizing Marijuana
Specific purpose: To persuade my audience that marijuana is beneficial
and the US should not more strictly enforce federal
Attention: Marijuana. It has a fascinating history on its own.
Marijuana can date back to around 500 B.C. where it was likely used as a herbal
medicine in Asia. Ironically, in present day, it has become illegal on a
federal level, and punishable by law to possess, or use. It has transformed
into a hot political topic, and has resulted in ferocious debate all over the
country, and even globally. With all the talk about this, you might be
wondering, is marijuana the corrupt and harmful drug that the media, and the
government depict it out to be? A threat to our society and our youth? Or is it
a plant, capable of easing the pain of the sick, rejuvenating the weary, and
bringing ease and relief to our stressful lives?
Federal prisons are spending way too
much money incarcerating marijuana users. It is also taking up a lot of prison
space that could be used for more important things. “The
costs of this national obsession, in both money and time, are astonishing. Each
year, enforcing laws on possession costs more than $3.6 billion, according to
the American Civil Liberties Union. According to the FBI’s annual
Uniform Crime Reports, of the 1,488,707 arrests for drug law violations in
2015, 83.9% (1,249,025) were for mere possession of a controlled substance.
Only 16.1% (239,682) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug. Further, the
majority (43.2%) of drug arrests in 2015 were for marijuana — a total of
Marijuana is not all as dangerous
as people make it out to be. In fact, it can be quite beneficial in relieving
stress. According to Leslie Iverson, British pharmacologist, “Tetrahydrocannabinol
is a very safe drug. Laboratory animals (rats, mice, dogs, monkeys) can
tolerate doses of up to 1,000 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram).” Also, contrary to popular belief, there are
very few if any confirmed instances of people dying from a marijuana overdose.
In Britain, official government statistics listed five deaths from cannabis in
the period 1993-1995 but on closer examination these proved to have been deaths
due to inhalation of vomit that could not be directly attributed to cannabis
(House of Lords Report, 1998). By comparison with other commonly used
recreational drugs these statistics are impressive.
Compared to a lot of other legal gateway drugs, such
as alcohol or tobacco, marijuana has little negative impact on declining health
factors and can prove to be beneficial. According to Boffey, (NY Times) an independent
scientific committee in Britain compared 20 drugs in 2010 for the harms they
caused to individual users and to society as a whole through crime, family
breakdown, and other social ills. Adding up all the damage, the panel estimated
that alcohol was the most harmful drug, followed by heroin and crack cocaine.
Marijuana ranked eighth, having slightly more than one-fourth the harm of
alcohol. So why is alcohol legal and widely used, yet marijuana is still barred
key to gaining a hold on the drug “problem”. If marijuana remains
illegal, there will still be the following problems that occur:
– Underground markets will still be opened and controlled by
drug cartels. This could lead to more problems within the walls of Mexico and
even be brought across to our borders.
– Government spending can be better issued on other things as
right now the funding is currenty being wasted. People have been trying for so
long, and you simply can’t win the “Drug War”. People will always run
to drugs, and will always find a way to seek it no matter the costs. Expending
money on a war that can’t be won is useless, and could be more beneficial if
weed legalization were given a chance.
The negative health effects influenced by Marijuana have
shown to be very minimal, and has been proven to be less harmful then
cigarettes and alcohol. We as a nation need to understand that by keeping
something, that grows naturally in nature, with minimal negative health
impacts, and with such high demand by today’s population, we are inhibiting our
nations market growth.
Convincing the government to work towards Marijuana legalization
in the U.S. will eliminate the underground market for marijuana, and bring about
new opportunities in the job market, eliminate marijuana related crimes, reduce
the amount of people in prison accused of minor marijuana related offenses,
increase tax revenue for states, and make our cities on our side of the border,
and others safer from vicious cartels.
Marijuana is not
as bad of a drug as people make it out to be and people should not be so
harshly punished for being in possession of it/ using the substance.
in the United States 2015 – Arrests,” FBI Uniform Crime Report
(Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2015), p. 1, and Arrest Table:
Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations.
Leslie L., PhD, FRS, “The Science of Marijuana” (London, England:
Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 178, citing House of Lords, Select Committee
on Science and Technology, “Cannabis — The Scientific and Medical
Evidence” (London, England: The Stationery Office, Parliament, 1998).
New York Times,
“The Injustice of Marijuana Arrests,” By Jesse Wegman, July 28, 2014.
New York Times, “What Science Says About Marijuana,” by Philip M.
Boffey, July 30, 2014.