Persuasive Research Report
Medical cannabis can prove to be beneficial in the state of California because of its potential revenue and medicinal purpose. Medical cannabis has been an on-going debate on whether or not the state of California should legalize it because of its potential to become a substantial amount of revenue as well as the many symptoms it protects against with its medicinal purpose. As many people know, our economic crisis has become one of the biggest priorities that needs to be solved because of how poorly our national budget and amount of revenue we obtain each year. Medical cannabis can prove to be useful with this matter because if it is legalized, the state can then tax it providing a source of income that will provide millions of extra dollars of revenue each year. The medicinal purpose of medical cannabis provides humans with an easier way of handling depression, anxiety, insomnia, and even a pain-reliever. Each year millions of Americans are prescribed man-made pills to handle one form of diagnosis such as depression or anxiety. With medical cannabis, humans can cover both of these diagnoses without taking pills with harmful side-effects.
The history of marijuana in America, medical name cannabis sativa, goes back to the American colonial era when the stalk of the plant, known as hemp, was used for a variety of purposes. Hemp is the stalk of the marijuana plant and does not have any THC in it. Hemp was used for many purposes and was once the main cash crop of the colonial era (Gray 19). For examples, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew cannabis for the sole purpose to produce hemp because it was used in paper, threads for clothing, rope, gunny sacks, and was even used to produce the sails on the U.S.S. Constitution, commonly known as “Old Ironside”. The use of drugs and narcotics in America was very loosely regulated by the government during the colonial era through the very early 1900s (Gray 20). Prohibition of narcotics started mostly with town regulations because the people feared that the Chinese, black, and Mexican immigrants wanted to make white women dependent upon the drugs opium, heroin, and marijuana in order to gain depravity from them. Racial
prejudice was a huge factor in the prohibition of marijuana.
The very first prohibition law passed by the United States Congress was first passed in 1906 under the Pure Food and Drug Act. This law did not outlaw the usage of narcotics, however, it mainly mandated that the producers of medicinal and consumer products produce a label which had all the ingredients of their product. This gave the people a chance to know exactly what they were about to consume before consuming it (Gray 23). This act led to the drop in sales of narcotics such as heroin, cocaine, and marijuana. Marijuana stands out of these three substances because one of the main factors in which marijuana was prohibited was racial prejudice. In the 1920s Mexico was a big producer of marijuana and the people of Mexico came to the United States telling tales of how people became crazy after the consumption of cannabis. People saw this as a threat even though at the time the effects of marijuana were vaguely known. The government would go on to produce many media related articles such as the movie, Reefer Madness, which was produced in 1936 and told of how pot can ruin your life if you get addicted to it. Today that would be seen as an inaccurate informational movie since cannabis has a very low percentile of people getting actually addicted to marijuana (Imler, and Stephen Gutwillig ). According to Jann Gumbiner, a clinical professor and licensed psychologist, only nine percent of people who try marijuana will form a serious dependency upon it and she goes on to say that even if they do become addicted, it is fairly easy to quit.
In 1996 California passed Proposition 215 which allowed for the people of California to obtain medicinal marijuana once they had been approved by a special physician, commonly known as a “Weed Doctor”. This proposition helped protect the rights of patients and doctors from criminal prosecution and ensure the safety of medicinal marijuana distributors. This proposition was mostly a test between success or failure for the government and the people of California did not disappoint. Proposition 215 was more successful than anyone expected with more than two hundred thousand citizens of California being approved for the use of medicinal cannabis. Following the passage of Proposition 215 the federal government of the United States
stated they would confiscate the license of any physician who recommended the use of medicinal marijuana. This has become one of the biggest problems of present society since this goes against the patients and doctors constitutional rights between the separation of federal and government laws. The DEA has still been raiding medicinal marijuana collectives as well as destroying marijuana crops and arresting anyone who is affiliated. Many other state such as Washington, Oregon, and even Washington D.C. have followed in California’s footsteps and have also implemented laws legalizing the production and consumption of medicinal marijuana.
The arguments against medical cannabis simply are the legalization of marijuana will not help stop the war on drugs in America. This statement seems true since most first time cannabis users are under the age of eighteen. The legalization of marijuana is argued to be more harmful than good and the value of it outweighs the cost. The tobacco industry would also have a problem with this new market taking over such as Marlboro and Camel. These two big industries might just even produce their own version of medical cannabis with adding a few harmful chemicals and by doing this will force the American people to choose between the lesser of two evils. Handling this situation has been no easy task and has caused a huge debate among the State of California because the people seem to want to be provided with this alternate medicine instead of man-made drugs. It also goes back to our youth and how they see medical cannabis in their future. The U.S. does not want it to seem like we are encouraging our youth to become cannabis smokers. There are plenty of arguments as to why the country has not legalized it but it still does not hide the fact that cannabis can be beneficial. For example, in Dr. Mitch Earleywine’s book, “Understanding Marijuana: A New Look at the Scientific Evidence”, he explains the symptoms of how cannabis users feel at times when they are smoking cannabis. These symptoms include two categories including the perception of what they see and feel physically and he also gives the emotional feelings that cannabis produces while under the influence. When under the influence of medical marijuana the perception symptoms include the slowing down of time, space appears vaster, and your five senses of smell, touch, taste, sight, and hearing are all enhanced. The emotional aspect includes the user of medical
cannabis feels relaxed, a sense of euphoria is increased, what you are feeling at the time is enhanced, and the level of fear that can be formed is heightened. These symptoms are what help the users of medical cannabis who are diagnosed with AIDS, anorexia, and cancer get by each day. Another great factor medical marijuana has is that it is physically impossible to overdose on marijuana. Medical cannabis is naturally non-toxic and no human in recorded history has ever died of THC poisoning (Earleywine, 143). The consumption of marijuana also can provide an alternative treatment for the many forms of medication provided with patients with cancer, AIDS, and depression. The man-made pills prescribed all have harmful side-effects that everyone seems to overlook. If they smoked marijuana that can cover all the treatments for pain, anxiety, anger, emotional stress, and depression. That is one form of medicine that covers all the major symptoms connected with the harmful diagnosis. These are important factors since most Americans consider marijuana to be a harmful drug. Smoking marijuana can have more exasperating side effects rather than harmful ones such as smoking marijuana at a younger age can produce a dependency upon the drug once the smoker is older. It also affects the brain to perform slightly differently than normal and patients diagnosed with schizophrenia can have increases in their schizophrenic nature. However, marijuana is one of the most non-addicting drugs compared to alcohol, tobacco, heroin, and coke. Even if the user does form a dependency upon marijuana, it is relatively easy to break that addiction since marijuana only has very mild withdrawal effects. Leslie Iverson discusses the addictiveness of marijuana and whether or not it can become a serious problem if a user becomes addicted. He explains in his book, “The Science of Marijuana”, the repercussions of smoking marijuana and the repercussions if a user becomes addicted. He goes on to explain that based upon his research, only ten to thirty percent of smokers will form a dependency (Iverson 2008). The withdrawal symptoms of marijuana are relatively mild and consist of anxiety, depression, nausea, sleep disturbances, and for war veterans, flashbacks (Iverson 167). Based on his research, Iverson concluded that marijuana is a relatively harmless herbal plant although not completely (Iverson 167).
The legalization of medical cannabis can also prove to be very beneficial
with the taxation of the plant and the revenue it has the potential to obtain. Today we do not tax it because most of the collectives are privately owned and the government has no influence among them. Imagine if the government took ten percent of each purchase of medical cannabis, the revenue obtained would be catastrophic. We would be obtaining extra of millions of dollars that we can put toward education, jobs, and many other issues that are being handled during the present day. Education has taken a huge hit with this recession since most teachers have been “pink slipped” and have lost their jobs that they need to have in order to produce a good living and have a future. Each year millions of dollars are spent in order for the DEA to conduct drug infiltrations that are sometimes failed raids. That’s millions of tax dollars that U.S. citizens pay in order for the DEA to fail a raid. With the legalization of marijuana, these tax dollars can be used for a more beneficial source such as raiding a meth lab or heroin producing house. Matt Jenkins goes more into the economic benefits that could be produced with the legalization of marijuana in his article called, “Ganjanomics: Bringing Humboldt’s Shadow Economy into the Light”. In his article Jenkins goes into great detail on how legalizing marijuana could help California’s economic situation. The “Emerald Triangle” consists of three relatively small rural counties called Trinity, Humboldt, and Mendocino and these counties, although relatively small, are known throughout the world as the area that produces the most sought marijuana on the planet. California in itself produces forty percent of the entire United States’ marijuana supply making marijuana one of the biggest cash crops of California (Jenkins). The marijuana produced by the Emerald Triangle is estimated to be worth $13.8 billion (Jenkins). If the government taxed this money it could easily produce billions of dollars and it would also help regulate the sales and production of medical marijuana. As of the present day, most of the marijuana produced by the Emerald Triangle goes to recreational use and also, sadly, sold overseas and into the black market industry. Now if the government legalized the recreational use of medical cannabis, it would help cease the black market and oversea trafficking and it would help the Drug Enforcement Agency target illegal production of marijuana from people such as the Mexican cartel. This would in turn stop unnecessary raids and help save the government money. The possibilities of
what we could do with the money gained and the money saved by legalizing medical cannabis are endless.
With all these possibilities of the medicinal and economic benefits of legalizing marijuana it might soon be imperative for our country to legalize it in order for it to create a new source of income to our national and state budget. Fear has been a huge factor with the debate upon legalizing marijuana for recreational use because people fear the drug cartels in Mexico, they fear that the children of our generation are being encouraged to smoke marijuana since its legal, and people fear that it will not solve any of our economic situation. However the facts that are presented in this paper are undisputed and all these arguments seem to be nullified by them. If marijuana was legalized, the government would finally stop enforcing drug laws upon normal citizens who consume and produce marijuana and focus more on the illegal aspect therefore seeking out to destroy all the drug cartels in California and putting them in prison. Our economic situation would definitely be benefitted as the last paragraph insures since if medical marijuana was legalized, the government would be able to tax it and create another source of revenue. California would finally be able to produce and regulate its major cash crop. The children aspect of thinking that by legalizing marijuana we would be encouraging our youth to smoke it is entirely a narrow-minded view. Marijuana would be the same as alcohol or cigarettes. The government would put the age of being able to legally smoke marijuana at twenty one and would be treated the same as alcohol and cigarettes.
To conclude, with the undisputed facts presented, legalizing marijuana for recreational use can prove to be beneficial for medicinal and economic purpose. There are many possibilities for the use of marijuana such as medicine, revenue, and even hemp could be used to provide yet another source of revenue. The hemp can be used for clothing, paper, rope benefitting all people and not just patients. When provided from this perspective the Environmental Protection Agency might just support the legalization since legalizing marijuana would be able to save thousands of trees from being cut down for paper and other products. Patients would also be more satisfied
since they no longer have to worry about the legal aspects while consuming their medicine since during the present day law enforcement has become more of a nuisance than anything. The economic situation seems to be the biggest influence on the present day debate of legalization and there is no doubt that marijuana can become a great source of revenue for the government producing billions of dollars once legal and taxed. California will finally be able to regulate its major cash crop.