Battle #3 : Marijuana should be legalized – IIFT – FOR

6th of November 2012 , 10th December 2013, 10th December 2013, and then we have the veteran date of 1979 . Yes, these were the dates when Marijuana was legalized in Colorado and Washington , proposal for legalizing Marijuana was passed in Mexico, Marijuana was legalized in Uruguay and Netherlands became the first country to legalize Marijuana respectively.

In 2010, state and local law enforcement arrested 746,000 people for marijuana violations. This is an increase of 800% since 1980 and the highest per capita in the world. FBI statistics indicate that one marijuana smoker is arrested every 45 seconds in America. Taken together, the total number of marijuana arrests for 2011 far exceeded the combined number of arrests for violent crimes, including murder, manslaughter, forcible rape, robbery and aggravated assault.

Prohibition of Marijuana generates violence, corrupt black markets, spreads the risk of contracting diseases like AIDS, results in civil liberties infringements in the form of warrantless searches , racial profiling and unnecessary incarceration of thousands and most importantly leave potential tax revenue as profit for illegal traffickers.

Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages can produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year, as per a June 2005 report by Dr. Jeffrey Miron, visiting professor of economics at Harvard University.

Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of legal regulation would save approximately $7.7 billion in government expenditures on prohibition enforcement — $2.4 billion at the federal level and $5.3 billion at the state and local levels.

These impacts are considerable, according to the Marijuana Policy Project in Washington, D.C. For example, $14 billion annual combined annual savings and revenues would cover the securing of all “loose nukes” in the former Soviet Union in less than three years. Just one year’s savings would cover the full cost of anti-terrorism port security measures required by the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.

The stigma of impact on health

Marijuana does not cause brain damage, genetic damage, or damage the immune system. The MALICE team would probably be the most baffled by this funding. Their age old stigmas seem to get shattered right in front of their eyes and nothing like science to do the honours. Unlike alcohol, marijuana does not kill brain cells or induce violent behaviourRather Respiratory health hazards can be totally eliminated by consuming marijuana via non-smoking methods, i.e., ingesting marijuana via baked foods, tincture, or vaporizer.

We as proponents of legalizing marijuana, actually envision a free, safe and non discriminatory environment for any and all kinds of users. Which is why, until this point we haven’t even brought up matters literally, of life and death. Marijuana has significant upsides for individuals with certain illnesses. In glaucoma patients, it can reduce the dangerously high eye pressure that can lead to vision loss, and in some cases even cause death. In addition, pot can provide relief from chronic pain, reduce nausea and vomiting from cancer chemotherapy, and limit the severe weight loss that results from AIDS and other diseases. As of January 31, 2014, there were 28 active grants funded by NIDA, in 6 different disease categories , investigating  the potential medical benefit of the marijuana plant (Cannabis sativa) or its constituentcannabinoid chemicals in human or animal models of disease. But of course, MALICE knows better than the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

 

First up is the age old monster, that marijuana is a “gateway” drug, leading to the use of more dangerous substances. Many studies have found that most people who used other illicit drugs had, in fact, used marijuana first. Although results such as these are consistent with the gateway hypothesis,correlation and causation are two very different beasts, with nothing proving using marijuana causes the use of other drugs. Those who are drawn to marijuana may simply be predisposed to drug use in general, regardless of their exposure to pot. More interestingly, individuals often smoke cigarettes or drink alcohol before they latch on to marijuana. So we really ought to be debating whether nicotine and alcohol are gateway drugs, and eventually criminalizing them too?

 

While we ardently hope that this piece may actually bring the debate regarding marijuana in the drawing room, or even to fruition, but with the kind of polemic and dogma associated with violent MALICE brigades, we would be awfully glad just to have gotten a word across. Consider some of the choicest nuggets of reasons depicted in anti-marijuana campaigns below.

– “You’re either a supporter of MMYV, or you’re a terrorist. Simple as that, end of story. “

– “If you’re not an anti-marijuana activist, you’re practically worthless to this world.”

 

Each and every violent death in the the history of human’s existence can and has been directly linked to consumption of the cannabis sativa plant. The only way humans become violent and lust for blood is through smoking, snorting, injecting or eating marijuana.”

 

With such brilliant, fool proof, and utterly reasonable arguments, we shudder to think they might be smoking.

The problem is not marijuana. The problem is millions of people, brainwashed & indoctrinated to passionately and vehemently approach a sensitive matter with all the nuance of a hammer throw. The problem is all the people who have been denied even the basic right to discuss a relevant issue, in their own state and country, by brutal Puritanical prudism that prevents any meaningful discussion from taking place. Anything remotely related to marijuana turns into a high decibel moralizing “trip” taking people from marijuana use straight to damnation,and/or cocaine.

A particularly favored  argument of the MALICE  team is how addictive marijuana is. Or basically, how you will become homeless, penniless vagrant who shares his cardboard box with 2 cats and a blind rat. The reality? A large-scale survey published in 1994 by epidemiologist James Anthony, then at the National Institute on Drug Abuse, asked more than 8,000 people between the ages of 15 and 64 about their use of marijuana and other drugs. The researchers found that of those who had tried marijuana at least once, about 9 percent eventually fit a diagnosis of cannabis dependence. The corresponding figure for alcohol was 15 percent, and for nicotine, 32 percent. So although marijuana may be potentially addictive, 91 percent of those who try it do not get hooked.

In simpler words, the double soy cinnamon cappuccino Starbucks habit your average MALICE trooper has everyday, is more dependence than what most marijuana users will exhibit.

 

Another favourite chant the MALICE camp loves harping upon, is the millions of people marijuana kills. And as rational people, we definitely agree that anything that can cause thousands of deaths a year should never be legalized.

FACT: Marijuana doesn’t kill people. Whereas guns, historically are pretty renowned for the rather fatal effect they have on humans. And yet, you can openly buy, carry, traffic and even “lend” , without even a license, a weapon that routinely makes its way into schools, and actually kills a number of children each year. But get caught with a couple of grams of marijuana, and you will be thrown into jail, along with coke dealers, gangmembers and assorted felons. Because clearly, guns save lives, where as marijuana can kill multiple, at a distance, sometimes even silently. Oh wait. In their infinite MALICE, they might just have twisted things a few degrees. Like 180 odd degrees, perhaps?

Marijuana represents the lowest hanging fruits on the war against drugs, simply because it’s nothing close to any of the substances the police ought to fighting. Over 50% percent of all arrests in the USA now are marijuana related. This brings easy numbers, and cheap laurels to flaunt for police departments everywhere. The simple reason for this is the fact that the majority of these arrests are not the hard as nails Scarface style kingpins the media paints them as, but college students, working professionals, every day Joe’s looking for a break. And what a break they end up getting. Not only are these arrests quite racially biased, but often carry highly disproportionate consequences. When people are arrested for possessing even tiny amounts of marijuana, it can have dire collateral consequences that affect their eligibility for public housing and student financial aid, employment opportunities, child custody determinations, and immigration status. Marijuana is the bogeyman being used to make you think the world is turning into a safer place, when resources that should actually pursue serious criminals, drug traffickers, and even terrorist funding sources, instead go towards putting barely legal teens, into jail, which just for the records is a proven recipe for turning them into hardcore criminals. So in a nutshell, billions of dollars are year are basically spent into sending thousands of average, harmless folk into felon school, while simultaneously keeping the heat low on the real world felons.

To sum up, all we really want is that the purple haze surrounding this burning issue be cleared, the hysteria induced paranoid trance, fulled by a sensational media and Puritanical prudeness that has smoked up billions of dollars, and ashed thousands of promising individuals be blown away for once for. All we really want to ask is who is the one still hallucinating? A regular Joe who wants a safe, mostly harmless recreational recourse, or those who’d paint him to be the Devil himself, and damn him thusly, for something they believe against their “Morals”. Once if only, light up, maybe?

References:

http://www.nei.nih.gov/news/statements/marij.asp

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/the-truth-about-pot/

http://www.cato.org/publications/commentary/international-analysis-uruguay-marijuana-legalization

http://legalizationofmarijuana.com/

http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/

 

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This is an entry for the Great Indian B-School Debate. We are speaking for the topic: Marijuana should be legalized.

Team Name: The foreign Hand

Team Members: Purvabh Surana & Satyaki Mascharak

Satyaki Mascharak

I am a very emotional person . I have my own perspective in dealing with things . I dont like people who have the habit of saying "cant say".I hate people who hate politics.I look down upon hypocrisy in any form.Che Guevara and Mohammad Yunus inspire me a lot.

Comments

14 comments

anshh

I agree to the fact that prohibition of marijuana has its own problems. But is legalising use of marijuana a solution? If marijuana was sold openly in markets and are readily accessible, there is every chance that it could lead to abuse of the product, especially among the youth who would try to experiment with it. Use of marijuana is promoted by people who have already used it, and once people try it, they would be willing to use it again and again.And with a readily available market, abuse of marijuana could very well lead to serious health problems. One may argue that it is an individual’s choice. Fair enough. But how far is legalising marijuana going to help people? It would just give them another alternative of such products. Medically marijuana might have some benefits, but one must agree the most potential uses arise due to a need to relieve stress, peer pressure and curiosity (http://drug.addictionblog.org/why-people-use-marijuana-top-10-reasons/). Non-legalisation has its own problems, but legalisation is definitely not a solution. Rather a nationwide awareness campaign is a necessity.

zetroll

Legalizing is not even close to setting up a mandi for marijuana. In Uruguay, for example, there are very strict rules regarding who can buy it, how much can they buy, and under the many what circumstance can any such sale be disallowed.

Our point towards marijuana is actually allowing people to experiment with it, on their own terms, in safe, regulated environments, instead of having to deal with dodgy characters, and shady areas which the current laws actually help flourish

As far as abuse goes, more people kill themselves with painkillers every month than marijuana has ever. In fact, not only is marijuana far less addictive than almost every other stimulant, half as addictive as alcohol and almost a fourth as addictive as nicotine, but in fact, the active components, can in no physically deliverable dose ever be fatal. To put things into perspective, there are doses at which coffee can kill you, much more easily. Out of the limits of moderation, anything can become a serious health hazard.

Legalizing it will allow people to make informed choices, just as we allow people to make regarding say alcohol, or nicotine. It will break the underground nexus that currently deals in marijuana, bring regulation and control. It will allow you keep track of consumption, and demand, along with the consumers. The money saved on meaningless policing, and zero significance arrests, along with the human cost of all the lives meaningless destroyed by incarceration for what’s hardly a misdemeanor can all be avoided. And all this, is without even considering the financials.

The precise point of this endeavour is to allow people to decide what they want to use it for, and not be at the mercy of the local dealers prohibition spawns.

We wholeheartedly agree. Reasonable individuals across the nation have the right to full, free and fair information regarding this sensitive issue, so they can make informed choices, instead of having dogmatic, moralizing judgement shoved down their throats.

abycrack

To implement and ensure a safe and regulatory environment for consumption in India would have its own huuuge costs, I believe surpassing the costs of ban. Beside corruption would aggravate the matter further, regulatory officials would make money at the expense of social damage at large

ankurdewan06

Today you are vociferously campaigning for the legalization of marijuana, so what is next on your checklist – legalization of METH?

Hemant Agarwal

Yes I believe you, after all who are these big brothers regulating us everything should be allowed there should be no restrictions … anybody can murder anyone … anybody can do what they want… regulations are a waste aren’t they ..

I don’t say we shouldn’t evolve and ward of traditions and rules which are non coherent with current times but legalizing everything anything doesn’t go well.

Ashish Verma

A youngsters, with a cigarette in one hand and a buzz in his head. If that’s how you want to see the country, then by all means, legalize marijuana.

and there is no proof about the claims that Marijuana does not cause brain damage, genetic damage, etc. whereas there is plenty of research matter which proves the exact opposite. I mean, on what grounds can you claim such things?

Vinti

This stand is simply outrageous. The society, already reaching deplorable levels of moral corruption, does not need any more narcotics.

zetroll

@Ashish, I welcome your stand, and by all means, please give me the links to this legendary research you refer to.

Till then, please chew on this

What you refer to as “studies” showed structural changes in several brain regions were found in two rhesus monkeys exposed to THC. Because these changes primarily involved the hippocampus, a cortical brain region known to play an important role in learning and memory, this finding suggested possible negative consequences for human marijuana users.

However, to achieve these results, massive doses of THC – up to 200 times the psychoactive dose in humans – had to be given . In fact, studies employing 100 times the human dose have failed to reveal any damage.

In the most recently published study, rhesus monkeys were exposed through face-mask inhalation to the smoke equivalent of four to five joints per day for one year. When sacrificed seven months later, there was no observed alteration of hippocampal architecture, cell size, cell number, or synaptic configuration. The authors conclude:
“while behavioral and neuroendocrinal effects are observed during marijuana smoke exposure in the monkey, residual neuropathological and neurochemical effects of marijuana exposure were not observed seven months after the year-long marijuana smoke regimen.”

Slikker, W. et al, “Behavioral, Neurochemical, and Neurohistological Effects of Chronic Marijuana Smoke Exposure in the Nonhuman Primate,” pp 219-74 in L. Murphy and A. Bartke (eds), Marijuana/Cannabinoids Neurobiology and Neurophysiology, Boca Raton: CRC Press (1992).

I tried looking for all the genetic damage marijuana causes, but all I could find were more judgements, no facts. Please do help me find these reports?

zetroll

@Vinti

How sweet. You continue to use the imperative tone IN a judgement type sentence structure, as usual without the slightest hints of any supportive evidence. But then I’m sure that the high perch you’re on doesn’t need mortal contrivances like supporting statements, any research, or even a logic based argument for that matter. By thy divinely endowed rights on deciding the state of entire societies, you can pass decrees on what we need and what we don’t. I’m sure there’s a cave full of Taliban leaders taking careful notes for their next fatwa from your speech. Please send them my regards.

Nikhar Mattu

Nice article….although some points are more relevant to the American society than Indian(The Gun example) but all in all an articulate and well structured article.

Nikhar Mattu

@Purvabh You are trying to use logic with people who harbour dogmatic views, it’s like using rationality with religious people…it never works!