A recent study of marijuana smokers, which has taken place over the course of 20 years, shows that daily marijuana use is not damaging to respiratory function and may have some benefit. Although doctors are cautious about agreeing with Peter Tosh’s assertion that smoking the plant is good for lung ailments like asthma and tuberculosis, it seems that smoking weed is not as detrimental as was once believed by the medical community.
One thing is for sure, marijuana has numerous medicinal benefits. So why is it still illegal in the U.S. while more dangerous substances such as alcohol and tobacco are not? Here are three major reasons:
1. Legal drugs made by major pharmaceutical companies cannot compete with a plant that anyone can grow in their backyard, which offers relief to a number of ailments that people pop legal drugs to treat.
2. In 2011 more than half of all inmates in federal prisons were incarcerated on drug charges. Therefore, the Man has an easier time controlling the population with drugs being illegal. As Noam Chomsky said, as cigarettes have become a class issue (granted cigs are much worse for one’s health than marijuana), they have been taxed to the extreme, a pack of cigarettes now costs about $15 in New York City. As one may recall, early marijuana regulations such as the Harrison act were aimed at controlling members of the working class, specifically Mexican-origin laborers.
3. The international trade of illicit drugs, such as marijuana, allows for over a trillion dollars in laundered money, which creates a black market of untraced dollars available for government agencies to cut backroom deals to get operating capital as the CIA did to fund the Contras in Nicaragua. If marijuana is legalized it would open the door to legalization of other controlled substances, which would curb the supply of laundered money.
Drug addiction is not going away. The “War on Drugs” has ended in failure. If the U.S. government was serious about controlling the problem, which not only plagues our nation but many foreign nations, most notably Mexico, then legalization is the best option. A first step would be considering the Dutch model of drug control and making steps toward using increased education and treatment, rather than incarceration and fear to curb usage.