As well as being a natural medicine and an all around useful plant that has been vilified by U. S. Society because of misinformation, marijuana, if legalized, regulated, and controlled properly, is an economic gold mine. Marijuana has been used by several different cultures throughout history and the world, beginning with ancient Chinese and Indian cultures. The earliest known use Of the cannabis plant was found in an ancient Chinese village, and dates back to the Stone Age.
In this village archaeologists found small pots with patterns of twisted hemp fiber decorating them. (Parliament of Canada, 2002) Throughout China’s history they have also used the marijuana plant for loathes, ropes, fishing nets, as an anesthetic, as well as for ritualistic practices. Admittedly cannabis seeds were replaced with opium seeds as a hallucinogenic, so most of the use of cannabis was for the hemp fiber. India, however, has had an abundance of hallucinogenic cannabis use throughout their history with their ritualistic practices.
Indian culture and Hindu practices prohibit the use of alcohol and therefore substitute it with a drink called Bang. Bang is a concoction of cannabis leaves, milk, sugar, and spices (Parliament of Canada, 2002). Bang was broadly accepted as socially acceptable in order for the people to live the spiritualistic lives they worked so hard to achieve. While the British controlled India, however, they have gradually discouraged use of cannabis and the use of the plant is not as common as it once was.
However, it still is in use in some areas of the country. Alcohol and tobacco are far more harmful to the mind and body than the recreational use of marijuana. Long term effects of alcohol include, but are not limited to, stomach and intestinal ulcers, liver failure, anemia, and a reduction of brain mass. Meanwhile the short term effects of alcohol can include increased aggression, shortened attention spans, forgetfulness, loss of coordination, blurred vision, poor judgment, and more (Frederic, 2000).
Alcohol is also physically addictive, as well as mentally addictive over time. Tobacco is one of the most lethal drugs over time and hurts nearly every organ in the human body. As well as causing lung, throat, and mouth cancer, tobacco also causes a weakened immune system, increased risks for heart disease and strokes, infertility, still births, lower bone density in women, and more (CDC, 2012). Marijuana on the other hand, is not physically addictive.
However, heavy smokers of the plant will occasionally go through withdrawals when they cannot get high when they want to, thus making the drug psychologically addictive if used excessively (WebMD, 2010). Health hazards of marijuana are: increased heart rate, increase blood pressure, red eyes, increased appetite, dry mouth, slowed reaction time, and increased breathing rate. The immediate psychological effects of marijuana can include: distorted sense of time, paranoia, random thinking, temporary short term memory loss, anxiety, and depression (WebMD, 2010).
After reading these few facts, here is little reason to have alcohol legal and marijuana not. Legalizing marijuana will boost the economy by not only saving funds used to search for the illegal use of the “drug”, but by having the government taxing similar to alcohol or tobacco and regulating the growth of marijuana we could increase the federal and state revenues by quite a bit. The average tax rate for cigarettes among all fifty states, plus Washington D. C. Is one dollar and forty six cents per pack, this number does not include the actual cost of the cigarettes, only the excise on it. If one person buys one pack per day, or seven sacks of cigarettes a week the number becomes $531. 44 a year that the person is paying in taxes for their cigarettes alone. While that may seem like a small number, we can consider how many people smoke cigarettes every year. According to the census that Was performed in 201 0 there are roughly 31 3,047,831 people living in the U. S. Errantly and according to the Center for Disease Control, roughly 19. 3 percent of them smoke cigarettes, which is about 60,418,231 people. That $531. 44 that those 60,41 8,231 smokers are taxed every year for their cigarettes becomes $32,1 08,664,682. 64 that the Tate governments get collectively. On an individual basis the states receive an average of $629,581 ,660. 44 per state for revenue from cigarettes alone per year. These numbers do not include taxes for non-smoking tobacco products or taxation of alcohol.
These numbers do however bring up a great argument for the legalization of marijuana from an economical standpoint. If we were to legalize and tax marijuana in the same way that cigarettes are taxed it would be a great revenue increase for the states and the federal government. Not only would there be an increase of funds coming in, but here would be a significant decrease of funds going out to search for people with marijuana, as well as the amount of money it takes to hold someone in prison for marijuana use.
Clearly there are several reasons why marijuana either should be legalized, and even more reasons why it is improperly categorized as a health hazard. With the state the economy is in it would be irresponsible for the government to continue its tirade against marijuana, especially when they are fighting a losing battle. Marijuana is an economic dream-come-true if it were to be legalized, regulated, and controlled properly, spite being an all around useful plant that is surrounded by misinformation and deception.