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The Cash Crop-Marijuana

The Cash Crop-Marijuana

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Published by Tessa M. C.
An essay advocating the legalization of marijuana not only for medicinal but also recreational purposes due to the potential financial and other benefits as well as a comparison to current drugs.
An essay advocating the legalization of marijuana not only for medicinal but also recreational purposes due to the potential financial and other benefits as well as a comparison to current drugs.

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Published by: Tessa M. C. on Dec 20, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The Cash Crop 1The Cash Crop: Marijuana(Name Removed)
The Cash Crop 2In the February 1938 edition of Popular Mechanics, hemp, the stalk portion of thecannabis plant, was named to be the “New Billion Dollar Crop.” Unfortunately, a bill had just been passed adding a substantial tax to the product, some say to give paper and cotton products acompetitive advantage, effectively cutting short its ability and leading cannabis on the road tocriminalization. Today, possessing or growing marijuana can be awarded with over five years in jail and substantial fines (Egelko, 2003). Though hemp remains legal, it has such stringentconditions, including government approval and permits, that farmers cannot meet therequirements to grow it. However, cannabis has persisted as a major product in the US in spite of these measures.According to surveys from 2001 by the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, over a quarter of U.S. adults use marijuana (2002). The importation of hemp products are worth over $360 million (Brones, 2009). According to CNNMoney (2009), 2.6 million people lost their jobsin 2008. The Treasury and the Office of Management and Budget estimate that the deficit will be$1.4 trillion by the end of 2009 (Romer, 2009). The economy is often listed as one of Americans’ primary concerns. During this stressful economic time, shouldn’t the US take advantage of thelucrative and tenacious cannabis market? Cannabis needs to be federally legalized for private usein order to promote financial benefit through job creation, taxation, and through reducing the costof importing hemp products as well as other benefits.Opponents of legalization cite undesirable social and physical effects of marijuana astheir reasoning. The primary issues named are impaired cognitive ability, negative physicaleffects associated with the lung, reproductive organs, and the heart, addictiveness, and potentialas a gateway drug (CDC, 1982; Time, 1968). Studies have shown that marijuana can inhibitusers’ ability to “focus, sustain attention, and organize data…for as long as 24 hours” (ACDE,
The Cash Crop 32002). Many studies have associated marijuana use with short-term memory loss while under itsinfluence. Additionally, users experience increased heart rate for up to an hour after takingmarijuana (USDEA, n.d.). In addition to physical side effects, opponents are concerned aboutsocial implications linked with marijuana use. Many users seem to become lethargic, and some people are concerned that this may lead users to become unproductive members of society.Perhaps the biggest worry is the connection between marijuana users and users of other drugs asmany users of harder drugs, such as heroin, have reported using marijuana (Time, 1968)..While some of these effects are accurate, many have been proven either false oinconclusive through other studies. To begin with, nearly all physicians concede that physicaleffects, such as on cognitive ability, last only as long as the effects (2-3 hours) and people whoare not pre-psychotic experience no adverse psychological reactions (Time, 1968). As for socialconsequences, several studies indicate that how a person expects to react to marijuana will affectthe actual reaction, even in placebo tests (Friedman, Hicks, McCarth & Pedersen, 2009).Additionally, with the large number of marijuana users,if even one in five marijuana users moved on to harder drugs, the number of users of those drugs would bemuch larger, according to results of surveys completed by the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.However, other studies have shown the number of marijuana users to be much larger, further eroding the“gateway” theory (U.S. Department of Health and HumanServices, 2008).One large concern over the smoking of marijuana has been its contribution to lung cancer, but recent studies have given pause to that argument. In fact,
Past Month Illicit Drug Use among PersonsAged 12 or Older: 2008National Survey on Drug Use and Health:National Findings*Other studies indicate the number of marijuana users to be far greater

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