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Government wrong to make criminals of marijuana users

For more than 70 years, now otherwise law-abiding and productive members of society have been punished and turned into criminals for possessing a plant that is as natural as the air we breathe. With the government’s multi-billion dollar anti-pot propaganda machine, they have convinced a majority of Americans that cannabis is an evil plant that is dangerous to our society. Most people don’t realize that humans have an 8,500-year relationship with marijuana dating back to our earliest civilizations. People have used cannabis for ropes, clothing, oils, food, medicine and for recreational purposes. George Washington and Thomas Jefferson both grew cannabis in early America and encouraged every one to do so.

Marijuana itself is neither good or evil; it is simply a plant. The only thing that damages society is the prohibition of marijuana. From a spending point of view, our government wastes around $12 billion annually trying to enforce marijuana laws. These are laws that large percentages of the population choose to ignore. This creates a general disregard for the rule of law among the many people who choose to disobey.

According to the FBI Uniform Crime Report for 2007, 872,721 people were arrested for marijuana in the United States. Some 89 percent of those arrests were for a misdemeanor personal possession. T hese are not drug dealers; these are regular people with a little pot on their person. These marijuana arrests made up 47.5 percent of all drug arrests for the year and outnumbered all violent crimes combined.

It seems that our law enforcement could direct their resources towards actually keeping its citizens safe instead of targeting non-violent offenders.

It seems even more ridiculous when you research the actual dangers that marijuana itself poses to society. Recent scientific research has shown that marijuana is safer than most drugs that are currently legal, including alcohol and tobacco. Anyone can testify to the fact that alcohol use leads to violent and irrational behavior, behavior that seems to be lacking by those under the influence of cannabis. Marijuana has never killed a single human being, ever. It is impossible to overdose on cannabis, even though drugs like Tylenol claim 400 lives a year from overdose. I’m not encouraging the use of marijuana because it is not for everyone, but it is most certainly not a crime.

By Brandon Boatman