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Why Marijuana should be Legal

By Renato Ferraz
Why Marijuana should be Legal
By Renato Ferraz
Last Update: 10/15/2003
Pre-discussions and opinions prior to litigation and an addition to
prior testimony

New Approach:
Focus on Marijuana (illegal) vs. Alcohol (legal) and Economic
Value
Discussions:
• Introduction
• Brief Backgrounds and History (where they come from, etc.)
• Effects and issues concerning our society - Moral, Economic
Values and Health
• Dealers want Marijuana to remain illegal and tax-free
• How educated are the people who make the laws and the
public in general? Are they skeptical?
• Can the lawmakers explain why marijuana is illegal and why
they think it should remain that way
• Preference and choice
• Fear of speaking out from fear of conviction
• What has been done to legalize Marijuana and why all has
failed
• Current status, Laws (federal, state and local) and cited laws
(when it was legal in the past) and non-represented laws
• Comparison chart between Marijuana, Alcohol and some
other factors (pros and cons relating to Moral, Economic past
and projections and Health issues and census) on all
discussions and The Scale of Logic theory.
• Who is more of a criminal
• What is marijuana currently compared to?
• Fear of Change
• Other notable points
• Marijuana laws should mimic the alcohol laws
• My experience working within or for the government and
doing business with the government
• I’m not afraid to admit when I made a mistake and factors
• Citing prior testimony
• The lives the current marijuana laws have already ruined
• Putting the government on trial
• Making them agree one marijuana issue at a time (instead of
just yes to Marijuana…)
• All the anti-drug campaigns are already in place
• Propose giving the new marijuana laws a test run
• Financial statistics showing tax revenues using alcohols
• Don’t let them blow it off

Introduction
Many Americans have made valiant efforts for the
Legalization of Marijuana for many years since the 1930’s only to
constantly produce failing results and not bring out the more
obvious logical factors that should be considered, coupled with
seemingly jaded and/or ignorant lawmakers or the people who
control the lawmakers. One approach is focusing on the economic
value and loss of revenue from potential retail sales. Another
approach is comparing Marijuana to Alcohol to prove that the
Marijuana laws are contradictory. In a side-by-side comparison,
alcohol has a much longer list of negative or more negative aspects
than Marijuana.

Backgrounds
Marijuana is a natural plant (not man made or can not be
patented), which grows from an actual sphere-like seed unlike
weeds, although some consider it to be part of the weed family and
it can grow in many settings concerning crop rotation and does not
necessarily need the practice of crop rotation. Marijuana creates
several different products in industries such as paper, clothing, rope,
oil, beauty care products, forms of fuel and obviously consumed via
smoke for recreational and medical purposes. Marijuana has stood
the test of time and has been used for recreational and industrial
purposes for hundreds of years, which is a proven fact.
Alcohol is a liquid, which is and can be produced and/or
processed from several types of plants and trees. Alcohol creates
several different products in industries such as beverage, fuel,
medical, and household cleaning products. Alcohol has stood the test
of time and has been used for recreational and industrial purposes
for hundreds of years, which is a proven fact.

Effects and issues concerning our society - Moral, Economic


Values and Health
The issues that always seem to be focused on, concerning
Marijuana are Moral and Health issues and the negative economic
drain it creates and seldom considered is the potential positive
economic value it has.

Concerning the Morals of recreational Marijuana use, it is


considered morally degrading by many people (armed with the fact
that it is illegal) to use Marijuana for recreational purposes and
meanwhile, many of these people have no problem with alcohol
(armed with the fact that it is legal) being used for recreational
purposes and also on the contrary, recreational alcohol use is also
considered morally degrading by many people and again, is legal. A
notable fact is the bible we swear to tell the truth, the whole truth
and nothing but the truth with in a court of law has a verse that says
god has provided the people of earth the herbs and seed bearing
plants to use.

Concerning Health issues, recreational Alcohol consumption


causes a statistically and significantly larger amount of medical
complications compared to the few Marijuana causes. It has been
theorized by many people that Marijuana opens the door to people to
experiment with new or more powerful drugs, which is only
partially true, because my observations have proved that Alcohol if
anything is guiltier of that, due to the fact that you lose more
inhabitations and is proven by common slang such as when you hear
the term “beer muscles”. Recreational Alcohol consumption has
caused a statistically and significantly larger amount of deaths
compared to Marijuana. People can drink themselves to death with
alcohol in one night and there has never been a case of death from
people smoking Marijuana or in other words smoking themselves to
death.
Concerning the positive potential economic value, Marijuana
sale for recreational use has the potential to produce tax revenue
equal to, or superior to the tax revenue that alcohol produces and
would relieve the economic strain it has on law enforcement
economics. Marijuana sale for recreational use can significantly
increase the value of farm real estate as well as increase agriculture
industry. Marijuana sale for recreational use has the potential to
increase international trade, import and export and open more
avenues of international political and economic relations as well
help the economy in these troubled times we currently live in. it is
obvious tax payer money is being spent to enforce seemingly
contradictory laws.

Dealers want Marijuana to remain illegal and tax-free


Domestic as well as international dealers want Marijuana to remain
illegal because of the undocumented cash it produces and the easy
ability to launder it and evade taxes. It would also displease
international drug dealers because of the losses of business it would
cause or importing fees that would need to be paid legitimately at
customs although it is notable that they would have a leading edge
in legitimate production.

How educated are the people


Concerning credibility, Is everyone telling the truth? – It seems these
days that believing what you hear or read is still a gamble, such as
contradictory research we see today, such as a new study that
excessive amounts of salt on food is good for you when in the past it
was considered a health risk and is still somewhat instilled. Are
people who contest the legalization of Marijuana truly educated,
have they really done their homework? Should they believe
everything they read and hear? I know I do not believe everything I
read and hear; otherwise I would have bought the Brooklyn Bridge
by now. I am not saying any existing research data is right or wrong,
I simply believe Marijuana consumption affects some people
differently in the same way alcohol consumption affects some
people differently, which can have both positive and negative
experiences from one individual to the next.

Can the lawmakers explain why marijuana is illegal and why


they think it should remain that way
Many lawmakers and citizens have firm opinions about
marijuana, which seems to come more from ignorance and blindly
believing in the law itself, but when reviewing the process of
testifying before lawmakers, the lawmakers ask all the questions and
expect answers as well as trying to shoot down or belittle the answer
of the testifier. We must ask and probe how educated the lawmakers
are, perhaps without warning during a hearing.

Preference and choice


Most marijuana smokers typically have consumed alcohol
and those who have, prefer to smoke as an alternative to drinking. A
notable fact is that alcohol is the only choice for recreational
consumption in the USA and Marijuana should be a second choice
for recreation and alcohol out-weighs Marijuana in negative aspects.
Mixing the two together does not make much of a difference simply
making you tipsier and the feeling alcohol creates dominates the
feeling Marijuana creates.

Should recreational alcohol be illegal?


NO, It is part of American society as well as the global society and
will probably never fade away as well as marijuana.

Fear of speaking out from fear of conviction


Most people (lawmakers, law enforcers and citizens alike)
have fear to speak out in favor of marijuana because it can label a
person a junkie or dopehead and possibly incriminate them and also
because of the fact that it is illegal and it could ruin a persons career
or social status as a result among the people who look at marijuana
users as degrading, simply because it was frowned upon in the
1930’s and made illegal and they blindly believe in the law with
very little knowledge to back up what is negative about marijuana.
For example in the year 2003goverment organizations have been
trying to crack down on doctors who prescribe marijuana and take
their licenses away as well as a complete loss of respect.

Some of what has been done to legalize Marijuana and why all
has failed
Among the misplaced focus of factors, One part is because
Marijuana has been compared and associated to violence,
prescription drugs and controlled substances in many of the
arguments and has seldom been compared to alcohol in detail, which
is presently legal and has been for quite some time. Another is the
lack of Marijuana education on the parts of government lawmakers
and the impression they are giving which is that they simply believe
in something “old fashioned” blindly, in connection with not always
providing actual provable facts and simply taking someone’s word
for it and providing mostly theory with uncertainty. Another reason
they fail is because the testimonies have failed to describe or focus
on the economic success it can bring on our great nation’s citizens
and on the contrary they historically have tended to focus on the
financial costs of enforcing the present laws.

Another reason is because the testifiers never ask the


lawmakers to present their facts they use to justify the laws prior to
their testimony, which would give the testifiers more ammunition to
provide a strong argument and dispute those so called facts provided
by the lawmakers that seem more to be theory than facts.

Current status, Laws and cited laws and non-represented laws


Currently marijuana is illegal to possess or sell for
recreational purposes Nationally and there is a fraction of the states
such as New York in which it is decriminalized to the extent that if
you get caught smoking in public you get a fine or summons similar
to drinking beer in public view but on the contrary your not allowed
to buy or possess it and cultivating marijuana for personal use is
extremely limited as well.

There was no problem with marijuana from the day this


country was founded until the 1930’s when it became a byproduct of
the prohibition of alcohol. There were promotional videos
encouraging people to grow victory gardens of marijuana to provide
to the government for industry such as rope during the war.

If you know about the Boston tea party, the bottom line was
no taxation without representation and I think the same should apply
to marijuana in consideration of the standing laws; I have not been
able to find the reasons why marijuana is illegal, which prompts me
to question the representation or logical reasoning for them.

Comparison Chart
Subject
Moral / Social Marijuana: Alcohol:
Does not induce Known to induce
violence, more likely violence domestically
to induce relaxation and socially
and calm
Offensive in Public Offensive in Public
Less likely to cause More likely to cause
domestic or social domestic or social
damage damage
Common place for Common place for
large percentage of large percentage of
the adult population the adult population
Small demand for Large demand for
rehabilitation rehabilitation
Rehabilitation Rehabilitation
process is relatively process is long and
short and usually self drawn out
induced
Referenced in Referenced in
positive ways in the positive and negative
Bible ways in the Bible
Mental Health Marijuana: Alcohol:
Effects and Risk
Short term memory Long and short term
loss for long term memory loss – people
users are known to wake
and not remember
how they got there –
both long and short
term users
Paranoia, loss of Loss of sensory
mental focus and self equity or awareness
consciousness
Slight Loss of Extreme loss of
inhibition inhibition
Better ability to DUI Has taken countless
although we are not lives from DUI and
advocating it has strict laws for
those who DUI
Short term Depression
Depression
Physical Health Marijuana: Alcohol:
Effects and Risk
A person can not A person can drink
smoke themselves to themselves to death
death
Relaxes the eyes Discoloration of the
while under the eyes (whites of the
influence eyes turn yellow)
from long term use
Unproven claims to Various types of
cause cancers cancer – kidney,
mouth, stomach and
is proven
Aphrodisiac Impotence
Enhances senses Creates numbness
Dry Mouth - Dry Mouth -
dehydration dehydration
Induces Hunger Induces Hunger ,
(munchies) Nausea and vomiting
Induces Coughing Induces Urination
Induces Sleep Induces Headaches
No Hangovers Hangovers
Does not Induce Induces Involuntary
Involuntary eye eye movement (the
movement spins)
Addictive – less than Addictive (to the
alcohol and tobacco point of disease in
some cases)
Economic Effect - Marijuana: Alcohol:
Present
Generates small Tax Generates Large Tax
Revenue Revenue
Creates a limited Creates a broad range
range of industrial of commercial and
Businesses and jobs - industrial Businesses
has the potential to
achieve what alcohol
can +
Serves a limited Serves a broad range
range of commercial of commercial and
and industrial industrial markets
markets
Tax Money is spent Tax Money is spent
on enforcing the to monitor and
laws, apprehension maintain laws and
and jailing regulations

The bottom line is marijuana is safer to consume than alcohol when


it comes to physical harm it inflicts.

Census Statistics
Census Statistics cannot be 100% accurate in the case of illegal
drugs because most people who do them generally would not admit
to anything that would incriminate them unless they become
apprehended or get caught. The charts below show data from
census.gov published documents.
Who is more of a criminal
Since coming to the conclusion that alcohol has more
negative aspects than marijuana concerning Morals and Health, I
believe it is safe to say that anyone who drinks alcohol is more of a
criminal than a marijuana smoker and yet marijuana is illegal and
alcohol is not.

Statistics we wish we could provide accurately


How many government workers drink alcohol ranging from FBI,
DEA, Politicians, Judges, etc. - those people should not be pointing
any fingers.

What is marijuana currently compared to?


It is some times considered “dope” by police officers, which often
brings drugs like heroin to mind. It is also in the category of cocaine
and that marijuana leads to experimentation to those caliber drugs.
Ask a lot of drug addicts if they were drunk when they tried a hard
drug and chances are they were. A notable fact is marijuana has
seldom financially ruined people’s lives.

Fear of Change
Lets face it, when people get comfortable, they like things the way
they are and the result is sometimes fear of change. We need to look
fear in the eye and take action in spite of it. (Tony Robbins)

Other notable points


• The constitution was written on hemp paper
• The bible they use in many courts of law advocates using
seed bearing plants
• The native American Indians smoked it in their peace pipes
to create peace
• Past presidents of the USA have smoked it
• Marijuana does not require crop rotating and can grow in
many types of soil
• Below is an example of negative media all because of
marijuana being illegal more than its physical harm and in
retrospect is pure irony because a Bar of all places is
complaining, and it is all do to them associated with
something illegal and on another hand it is being glorified on
the hit show “sex and the city” on HBO.

New York, NY
Village Bar Sues To Keep 'Sex And
The City' Off The Air
NEW YORK, 9:25 p.m. EDT August 1, 2003 - The sassy
girls of "Sex and the City" were facing the possibility that
Sunday's upcoming episode might be canceled.

But all is well.

In the episode, a character


goes to a bar called Down
The Hatch to buy some
marijuana.

But the real Down The


Hatch, which is located in
West Village, went to court to get the show changed or
blocked.

The owners of the bar claim the show disparaged them in the
upcoming episode by suggesting one of the characters went to
a bar with the same name to buy marijuana.

But sources close to the story said Friday night said that HBO
is removing their name -- and the show will go on.

Marijuana laws should mimic the alcohol laws


Current alcohol law should be a template with necessary
adjustments for marijuana law such as:
• Tax Revenue
• Age restriction
• DUI or DWI
• Commercial Licensing
• Codes and regulations
• Import / Export
My experience working within or for the government and doing
business with the government
In life in general people are people in the sense that they just
want a job and a paycheck. I worked at the IRS and have spoken to
plenty of other federal bureaucrats such as EPA and FBI and have
come to this conclusion. Alarmingly often people in these
government organizations are told to do things that simply do not
make sense or have the most awkward type of logic. For example I
have over heard a manger tell his rookie revenue agent if he doesn’t
know what he is doing, act like he knows what he is doing and refer
to him (the manager) for answers and when casually conversing
with other staffers they did not find this to be a surprise and
sometimes tried to justify it which leads to the question if the
manager knows the answer and does he put the law into his own
hands and guess at that point, there has also been a situation that the
IRS missed out on tens of millions of dollars because the top
managers and politicians cared more about closing the case on its
deadline which sometimes makes the blame go up the chain of
command rather than down. There is also the reorganization factors
that the government wants hire more private sector companies
because they know or interpret the laws better than they do.

So who is acting like they know what they are doing and who is not?
How do we really know?

I’m not afraid to admit when I made a mistake


Sometimes when you do not know all the facts or the possibilities it
is easier to stand corrected and I think this is what many political
figures need to do and realize the truth instead of blindly defending
the past that in contrast is not a long time in reference to its past.

Citing prior testimony


People have testified in congressional hearings numerous times for
many years only to fall on deaf ears. They have testified with focus
such as medical and recreational.
We need to discuss and criticize it. There are 9 documents for
federal or national reform available from NORML, we need to break
them down and reassemble to argue on a national more than local.

The lives the current marijuana laws have already ruined


Right now compared to the extremely negative impact that
recreational alcohol consumption creates, the laws does not pose the
same threat that marijuana does, for example: DUI with alcohol
poses a measurably greater threat than marijuana (if they are not
mixed), sentences in some states seem beyond logic and reason
almost to the point humanity considering its past.

Putting the government on trial


I think there is more than a need for just litigation and congressional
hearings, I think we need to file a suit against the government and
put it on trial for the wrongful marijuana laws in light of these
revelations.

Making them agree one marijuana issue at a time


We need to impose logical line of questions that they would agree
with one step at a time such as: do you agree there is a need for
more tax revenue to government organizations for concerns such as
national security and more questions along those lines, and pointing
to marijuana for help. Direct and indirect

All the anti-drug campaigns are already in place


As much as there is anti alcohol drug campaigns advertised there is
currently the same for marijuana use and the difference is that one is
legal and the other is not.

Propose giving the new marijuana laws a test run maybe for 10
years or so
Instead of trying to carve it in stone why not propose putting it into a
time frame because it will be given the chance to be proven.

Don’t let them blow it off


I have read many news paper articles and saw interviews on TV
featuring politicians and they do not seem to give solid reason it
should remain illegal by blowing off the idea saying it’s a bad thing
but not really backing it up.

Below: Alcohols Financial statistics showing tax revenues


These recent statistics from government publications can be used as
a template to show the potential financial gains from recreational or
personal use marijuana sales, both for the government and
commerce alike.
TAX AND FEE RATES

Information Purposes Only- Actual tax or fee may vary according to


a person's circumstances.

Go to: Beer, Wine, Distilled Spirits, Tobacco Products, Tobacco


Paper, Firearms and Ammunition,
National Firearms Act Tax, Special Occupational Tax, Explosives
License Fees, Firearms Licensee Fees

Who to Contact and Where to File - Alcohol, Tobacco and Excise


Tax on Firearms and Ammunition

PRODUCT TAX TAX PER


PACKAGE
(usually to
nearest cent)
Beer Barrel (31 12 oz. can
gallons)
Regular Rate $18 $0.05
Reduced Rate $7 on first 60,000 $0.02
barrels for brewer
who produces less
than 2 million
barrels
Wine Wine Gallon 750ml bottle
14% & Under $1.071 $0.21
Over 14 to 21% $1.571 $0.31
Over 21 to 24% $3.151 $0.62
Naturally Sparkling $3.40 $0.67
Artificially $3.301 $0.65
Carbonated
Hard Cider $0.2261 $0.04
1
( $0.90 credit, or for hard cider $0.056, for first 100,000 gallons
removed by a small winery producing not more than 150,000 w.g.
per year. Decreasing credit rates for winery producing up to
250,000 w.g. per year.)
Distilled Spirits Proof Gallon 750ml Bottle
$13.50 less any
All credit for wine and $2.14 (at 80 proof)
flavor content.
Tobacco Products 1000 units Pack of 20
$12 - 1993 to 1999
$0.24 - 1993 to 1999
$17 - 2000 to 2001
Small Cigarettes $0.34 - 2000 to 2001
$19.50 - 2002 and
$0.39 - 2002 and beyond
beyond
$25.20 - 1993 to
1999
$0.50 - 1993 to 1999
$35.70 - 2000 to
Large Cigarettes $0.71 - 2000 to 2001
2001
$0.82 - 2002 and beyond
$40.95 - 2002 and
beyond
$1.125 - 1993 to
1999
$0.02 - 1993 to 1999
$1.594 - 2000 to
Small Cigars $0.03 - 2000 to 2001
2001
$0.04 - 2002 and beyond
$1.828 - 2002 and
beyond
1000 units Each
Large Cigars 12.75% of sales $0.03 maximium - 1991
price but not to to 1999

exceed $30 - 1991 $0.04 maximium - 2000


to 1999

18.063% of sales
price but not to
to 2001
exceed $42.50 -
2000 to 2001
$0.05 maximium - 2002
and beyond
20.719% of sales
price but not to

exceed $48.75 -
2002 and beyond
1 lb. 1 Ounce
$0.675 - 1993 to
1999
$0.04 - 1993 to 1999
$0.9567 - 2000 to
Pipe Tobacco $0.06 - 2000 to 2001
2001
$0.07 - 2002 and beyond
$1.0969 - 2002 and
beyond
$0.12 - 1993 to
1999 $0.007 - 1993 to 1999

$0.17 - 2000 to $0.011- 2000 to 2001


Chewing Tobacco
2001
$0.012 - 2002 and
$0.195 - 2002 and beyond
beyond
$0.36 - 1993 to
1999
$0.02 - 1993 to 1999
$0.51 - 2000 to
Snuff $0.03 - 2000 to 2001
2001
$0.04 - 2002 and beyond
$0.585 - - 2002
and beyond
no tax - 1965 to
2000
no tax - 1965 to 2000
Roll-your-own $0.9567 - 2000 to
$0.06 - 2000 to 2001
Tobacco 2001
$0.07 - 2002 and beyond
$1.0969 - 2002 and
beyond
Tobacco Paper 50 units 50 units
1
$0.0075 - 1993 to
1999 $0.00751 - 1993 to 1999

$0.0106 - 2000 to $0.0106 - 2000 to 2001


Cigarette Papers
2001
$0.0122 - 2002 and
$0.0122 - 2002 and beyond
beyond
1
( Tax only applied to papers in a book or set of more than 25
papers.)
$0.015 - 1993 to $0.015 - 1993 to 1999
1999
$0.0213 - 2000 to 2001
$0.0213 - 2000 to
Cigarette Tubes
2001 $0.0244 - 2002 and
beyond
$0.0244 - 2002 and
beyond

Firearms and Ammunition Tax


10% of sale
Pistols and Revolvers
price
11% of sale
Other Firearms and Ammunition
price
National Firearms Act
Tax
Tax
Transfer Tax $200 each, except $5 for
"any other weapon"
Making Tax $200 each

Special Occupational
Annual Tax
Tax Annual Tax
Retail Liquor Dealer $250
Wholesale Liquor Dealer $500
Brewer $1000 or

reduced rateof $500


Alcohol or Tobacco Producer $1000 or

reduced rate of $500


National Firearms Act Class 3 - Dealer $500
National Firearms Act Manufacturer or $1000 or
Importer
reduced rate of $500
Nonbeverage Drawback Claimant $500
Industrial Alcohol User $250

Explosives Original for 3 Renewal


License Fees years for 3 years
Manufacturer $200 $100
Importer $200 $100
Dealer $200 $100
User $100 $50
User (limited) $75 N/A

Firearms 3 Year License


Licensee Fees
Dealer $200 for first 3 years/

$90 for renewal


Importer $150
Manufacturer of $150
Firearms
Manfacturer of $30
Ammunition
Destructive Device $3000
Dealer
Destructive Device $3000
Manufacturer2
Destructive Device $3000
Importer2
(2 Includes Armor Piercing Ammunition)

This was last updated on November 23, 1999


DEA Statistics
Drug Seizures
Emergency Dept. Drug Mentions: Cocaine,
Methamphetamine, Marijuana, Heroin, MDMA (Ecstasy), PCP, OxyCodone
DEA Arrests (Domestic)
Number of
Calendar Year Arrests
2002 27,635
2001 33,539
2000 38,957
1999 39,500
1998 37,762
1997 33,628
1996 28,922
1995 24,931
1994 22,858
1993 21,432
1992 24,219
1991 23,396
1990 22,611
1989 24,881
1988 24,728
1987 22,543
1986 19,693
Total 443,600
Source: DEA (SMARTS)
back to top
DEA Drug Seizures
Calendar Cocaine Heroin Marijuana Methamphetamine Hallucinogens
Year kgs kgs kgs dosage units dosage units
2002 61,594 705 195,644 118,049,279 11,532,704
2001 59,426 752 271,785 124,532,740 13,756,939
2000 58,627 546 331,964 129,622,961 29,306,453
1999 36,167 351 337,832 76,621,124 1,716,954
1998 34,448 371 262,176 62,907,212 1,075,257
1997 28,630 399 215,348 116,143,493 1,100,912
1996 44,765 320 190,453 74,648,735 1,719,096
1995 45,326 876 219,830 139,540,464 2,768,165
1994 75,051 491 157,182 139,500,284 1,366,817
1993 55,158 616 143,030 92,608,266 2,710,063
1992 69,323 722 201,507 48,498,483 1,305,177
1991 67,016 1,170 98,601 21,882,289 1,295,874
1990 57,031 532 127,694 46,358,120 2,826,966
1989 73,592 758 286,167 174,849,333 13,125,010
1988 60,826 730 347,306 108,919,418 16,706,442
1987 49,668 512 629,892 24,179,401 6,556,884
1986 30,333 371 599,166 32,602,774 4,146,224
Source: DEA (STRIDE)
Dea.gov
In the year 1987, the DEA states 629,892 kilograms of marijuana
was confiscated or siezed, translated into pounds is 1,388,674 and if
you multiply it by the average street price of $3000 at present time,
the result is a $4,166,022,000 business and it is notable to remember
that, that is simply the number from people that got caught, so that is
not the real numbers, they are the number of seized pounds of
marijuana.

Historychannel.com search results (8/3/2003):


In the drug abuse section that was a link in the results, one notable
factor is how marijuana comes up in sequence with cocaine and
crack and that is contradictory in comparison to alcohol or compared
to any of those drugs.
http://www.historychannel.com/perl/print_book.pl?ID=100018

1 - Marijuana

Marijuana or marihuana, drug obtained from the flowering tops,


stems, and leaves of the hemp plant, Cannabis sativa (see hemp) or
C. indica; the latter species can withstand colder climates. It is one
of the most commonly used drugs in the world, following only
caffeine, nicotine, and alcoholic beverages in popularity. In the
United States, where it is usually smoked, it also has been called
weed, grass, pot, or reefer.

The Plant

C. sativa grows as a common weed in many parts of the world, and


drug preparations vary widely in potency according to climate,
cultivation, and method of preparation. C. indica is a shorter, hardier
variety with rounded blue-green leaves, grown in Afghanistan for
hashish. Most marijuanas grown in the United States since the late
1980s are hybrids of the two and yield a much more potent product
than the marijuana of the past. The resin found on flower clusters
and top leaves of the female plant is the most potent drug source and
is used to prepare hashish, the highest grade of cannabis. The bud of
the female plant, called sinsemilla, is the part most often smoked as
marijuana.
The Drug

The effects of marijuana vary with its strength and dosage and with
the state of mind of the user. Typically, small doses result in a
feeling of well-being. The intoxication lasts two to three hours, but
accompanying effects on motor control last much longer. High doses
can cause tachycardia, paranoia, and delusions. Although it produces
some of the same effects as hallucinogens like LSD and mescaline
(heightened sensitivity to colors, shapes, music, and other stimuli
and distortion of the sense of time), marijuana differs chemically
and pharmacologically.

The primary active component of marijuana is delta-9-


tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), although other cannabinol derivatives
are also thought to be intoxicating. In 1988 scientists discovered
receptors that bind THC on the membranes of nerve cells. They
reasoned that the body must make its own THC-like substance. The
substance, named anandamide, was isolated from pig brains in 1992
by an American pharmacologist, William A. Devane.

Marijuana lowers testosterone levels and sperm counts in men and


raises testosterone levels in women. In pregnant women it affects the
fetus and results in developmental difficulties in the child. There is
evidence that marijuana affects normal maturation of preadolescent
and adolescent users and that it affects short-term memory and
comprehension. Heavy smokers often sustain lung damage from the
smoke and contaminants. Regular use can result in dependence.

The Legalization Question

With the increase in the number of middle-class users in the 1960s


and 1970s, there came a somewhat greater acceptance of the view
that marijuana should not be considered in the same class as
narcotics and that U.S. marijuana laws should be relaxed. The Drug
Abuse Prevention Act of 1970 eased federal penalties somewhat,
and 11 states decriminalized possession. However, in the late 1980s
most states rewrote their drug laws and imposed stricter penalties.
Opponents of easing marijuana laws have asserted that it is an
intoxicant less controllable than alcohol, that our drug-using society
does not need another widely used intoxicant, and that the United
States should not act to weaken UN policies, which are opposed to
the use of marijuana for other than possible medical purposes.

Medical Uses

Controversy surrounds the medical use of marijuana, with


proponents saying it is useful for treating pain and the nausea and
vomiting that are side effects of cancer chemotherapy and for
restoring the appetite in people with AIDS. Although its active
ingredient, THC (synthesized in 1966 and approved by the U.S.
Food and Drug Administration in 1985) is available by prescription
in pill form, proponents say it is not as effective as the herb and is
more expensive. The Office of National Drug Control Policy has
opposed legalization of the medical use of marijuana, citing law
enforcement issues and the possibility that some would use it as a
pretext to sell marijuana for nonmedical use. Proponents,
disregarding the law, have set up networks for the distribution of the
drug to people who they judge will be helped by it and continue to
lobby for its legalization for medical use. Voters in several U.S.
states have approved initiatives intended to legalize marijuana for
medical uses, but such initiatives cannot protect medical users from
federal prosecution. A 1999 government-sponsored study found that
marijuana appeared beneficial for certain medical conditions.
Because of the toxicity of marijuana smoke, however, it was hoped
that further research might lead to development of new delivery
systems, such as bronchial inhalers.

History of Marijuana Use

Marijuana has been used as an agent for achieving euphoria since


ancient times; it was described in a Chinese medical compendium
traditionally considered to date from 2737 B.C. Its use spread from
China to India and then to N Africa and reached Europe at least as
early as A.D. 500. A major crop in colonial North America,
marijuana (hemp) was grown as a source of fiber. It was extensively
cultivated during World War II, when Asian sources of hemp were
cut off.

Marijuana was listed in the United States Pharmacopeia from 1850


until 1942 and was prescribed for various conditions including labor
pains, nausea, and rheumatism. Its use as an intoxicant was also
commonplace from the 1850s to the 1930s. A campaign conducted
in the 1930s by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics (now the
Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs) sought to portray
marijuana as a powerful, addicting substance that would lead users
into narcotics addiction. It is still considered a gateway drug by
some authorities. In the 1950s it was an accessory of the beat
generation; in the 1960s it was used by college students and hippies
and became a symbol of rebellion against authority.

The Controlled Substances Act of 1970 classified marijuana along


with heroin and LSD as a Schedule I drug, i.e., having the relatively
highest abuse potential and no accepted medical use. Most
marijuana at that time came from Mexico, but in 1975 the Mexican
government agreed to eradicate the crop by spraying it with the
herbicide paraquat, raising fears of toxic side effects. Colombia then
became the main supplier. The zero tolerance climate of the Reagan
and Bush administrations (1981-93) resulted in passage of strict
laws and mandatory sentences for possession of marijuana and in
heightened vigilance against smuggling at the southern borders. The
war on drugs thus brought with it a shift from reliance on imported
supplies to domestic cultivation (particularly in Hawaii and
California). Beginning in 1982 the Drug Enforcement
Administration turned increased attention to marijuana farms in the
United States, and there was a shift to the indoor growing of plants
specially developed for small size and high yield. After over a
decade of decreasing use, marijuana smoking began an upward trend
once more in the early 1990s, especially among teenagers, but by the
end of the decade this upswing had leveled off well below former
peaks of use.

Bibliography

See J. S. Hochman, Marijuana and Social Evolution (1972); E.


Marshal, Legalization (1988); M. S. Gold, Marijuana (1989); L.
Grinspoon and B. J. Bakalar, Marijuana: The Forbidden Medicine
(1995); publications of the Drugs & Crime Data Center and
Clearinghouse, the Bureau of Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and
the National Clearinghouse for Alcohol and Drug Information.
The Expanded Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright© 2003. Columbia University Press. Used with
permission of Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. Except as otherwise permitted by written
agreement, the following are prohibited: copying substantial portions of the entirety of the work in machine
readable form, making multiple printout thereof, and other uses of the work inconsistent with U.S. and
applicable copyright and related laws.

2 - hemp

Hemp, common name for a tall annual herb (Cannabis sativa) of the
family Cannabinaceae, native to Asia but now widespread because
of its formerly large-scale cultivation for the bast fiber (also called
hemp) and for the drugs it yields. Known and cultivated in ancient
China, the plant was introduced into Europe before the Christian era.
In the United States it was cultivated chiefly in the Midwest. The
fiber, retted from the stem, was one of the most important for
various kinds of cordage; it was also used in making paper, cloth
(canvas and other kinds), oakum for calking ships, and other
products. The male and female flowers are borne on separate plants.
The chemical derived from the female flowering tops is used
medicinally and is the source of marijuana and hashish. Hemp seed
is used as bird food, and the oil from the seeds is used in the
manufacture of paints, varnishes, and soap. The dried leaves are
used in Asia for a beverage. The word hemp is used in combination
for several other kinds of fiber plants, notably Manila hemp and
sisal hemp. The true hemp plant is related to the hop, which is used
in making beer. Hemp is classified in the division Magnoliophyta,
class Magnoliopsida, order Urticales, family Cannabinaceae.

3 - Drug addiction and drug abuse

Drug addiction and drug abuse, chronic or habitual use of any


chemical substance to alter states of body or mind for other than
medically warranted purposes. Traditional definitions of addiction,
with their criteria of physical dependence and withdrawal (and often
an underlying tenor of depravity and sin) have been modified with
increased understanding; with the introduction of new drugs, such as
cocaine, that are psychologically or neuropsychologically addicting;
and with the realization that its stereotypical application to opiate-
drug users was invalid because many of them remain occasional
users with no physical dependence. Addiction is more often now
defined by the continuing, compulsive nature of the drug use despite
physical and/or psychological harm to the user and society and
includes both licit and illicit drugs, and the term substance abuse is
now frequently used because of the broad range of substances
(including alcohol and inhalants) that can fit the addictive profile.
Psychological dependence is the subjective feeling that the user
needs the drug to maintain a feeling of well-being; physical
dependence is characterized by tolerance (the need for increasingly
larger doses in order to achieve the initial effect) and withdrawal
symptoms when the user is abstinent.

Definitions of drug abuse and addiction are subjective and infused


with the political and moral values of the society or culture. For
example, the stimulant caffeine in coffee and tea is a drug used by
millions of people, but because of its relatively mild stimulatory
effects and because caffeine does not generally trigger antisocial
behavior in users, the drinking of coffee and tea, despite the fact that
caffeine is physically addictive, is not generally considered drug
abuse. Even narcotics addiction is seen only as drug abuse in certain
social contexts. In India opium has been used for centuries without
becoming unduly corrosive to the social fabric.

The United States has the highest substance abuse rate of any
industrialized nation. Government statistics (1997) show that 36% of
the United States population has tried marijuana, cocaine, or other
illicit drugs. By comparison, 71% of the population has smoked
cigarettes and 82% has tried alcoholic beverages. Marijuana is the
most commonly used illicit drug.

Types of Abused Substances

There are many levels of substance abuse and many kinds of drugs,
some of them readily accepted by society.

Legal Substances

Legal substances, approved by law for sale over the counter or by


doctor's prescription, include caffeine, alcoholic beverages (see
alcoholism), nicotine (see smoking), and inhalants (nail polish, glue,
inhalers, gasoline). Prescription drugs such as tranquilizers,
amphetamines, benzodiazepines, barbiturates, steroids, and
analgesics can be knowingly or unknowingly overprescribed or
otherwise used improperly. In many cases, new drugs prescribed in
good conscience by physicians turn out to be a problem later. For
example, diazepam (Valium) was widely prescribed in the 1960s and
70s before its potential for serious addiction was realized. In the
1990s, sales of fluoxetine (Prozac) helped create a $3 billion
antidepressant market in the United States, leading many people to
criticize what they saw as the creation of a legal drug culture that
discouraged people from learning other ways to deal with their
problems. At the same time, readily available but largely
unregulated herbal medicines have grown in popularity; many of
these are psychoactive to some degree, raising questions of quality
and safety. Prescription drugs are regulated by the Food and Drug
Administration and the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Illegal Substances

Prescription drugs are considered illegal when diverted from proper


use. Some people shop until they find a doctor who freely writes
prescriptions; supplies are sometimes stolen from laboratories,
clinics, or hospitals. Morphine, a strictly controlled opiate, and
synthetic opiates, such as fentanyl, are most often abused by people
in the medical professions, who have easier access to these drugs.
Other illegal substances include cocaine and crack, marijuana and
hashish, heroin, hallucinogenic drugs such as LSD, PCP
(phencycline or angel dust), designer drugs such as MDMA
(Ecstasy), and party drugs such as GHB (gamma hydroxybutyrate).

Motivations for Drug Use

People take drugs for many reasons: peer pressure, relief of stress,
increased energy, to relax, to relieve pain, to escape reality, to feel
more self-esteem, and for recreation. They may take stimulants to
keep alert, or cocaine for the feeling of excitement it produces.
Athletes and bodybuilders may take anabolic steroids to increase
muscle mass.

Effects of Substance Abuse

The effects of substance abuse can be felt on many levels: on the


individual, on friends and family, and on society.
On the Individual

People who use drugs experience a wide array of physical effects


other than those expected. The excitement of a cocaine high, for
instance, is followed by a crash: a period of anxiety, fatigue,
depression, and an acute desire for more cocaine to alleviate the
feelings of the crash. Marijuana and alcohol interfere with motor
control and are factors in many automobile accidents. Users of
marijuana and hallucinogenic drugs may experience flashbacks,
unwanted recurrences of the drug's effects weeks or months after
use. Sudden abstinence from certain drugs results in withdrawal
symptoms. For example, heroin withdrawal can cause vomiting,
muscle cramps, convulsions, and delirium. With the continued use of
a physically addictive drug, tolerance develops; i.e., constantly
increasing amounts of the drug are needed to duplicate the initial
effect. Sharing hypodermic needles used to inject some drugs
dramatically increases the risk of contracting AIDS and some types
of hepatitis. In addition, increased sexual activity among drug users,
both in prostitution and from the disinhibiting effect of some drugs,
also puts them at a higher risk of AIDS and other sexually
transmitted diseases. Because the purity and dosage of illegal drugs
are uncontrolled, drug overdose is a constant risk. There are over
10,000 deaths directly attributable to drug use in the United States
every year; the substances most frequently involved are cocaine,
heroin, and morphine, often combined with alcohol or other drugs.
Many drug users engage in criminal activity, such as burglary and
prostitution, to raise the money to buy drugs, and some drugs,
especially alcohol, are associated with violent behavior.

Effects on the Family

The user's preoccupation with the substance, plus its effects on


mood and performance, can lead to marital problems and poor work
performance or dismissal. Drug use can disrupt family life and
create destructive patterns of codependency, that is, the spouse or
whole family, out of love or fear of consequences, inadvertently
enables the user to continue using drugs by covering up, supplying
money, or denying there is a problem. Pregnant drug users, because
of the drugs themselves or poor self-care in general, bear a much
higher rate of low birth-weight babies than the average. Many drugs
(e.g., crack and heroin) cross the placental barrier, resulting in
addicted babies who go through withdrawal soon after birth, and
fetal alcohol syndrome can affect children of mothers who consume
alcohol during pregnancy. Pregnant women who acquire the AIDS
virus through intravenous drug use pass the virus to their infant.

Effects on Society

Drug abuse affects society in many ways. In the workplace it is


costly in terms of lost work time and inefficiency. Drug users are
more likely than nonusers to have occupational accidents,
endangering themselves and those around them. Over half of the
highway deaths in the United States involve alcohol. Drug-related
crime can disrupt neighborhoods due to violence among drug
dealers, threats to residents, and the crimes of the addicts
themselves. In some neighborhoods, younger children are recruited
as lookouts and helpers because of the lighter sentences given to
juvenile offenders, and guns have become commonplace among
children and adolescents. The great majority of homeless people
have either a drug or alcohol problem or a mental illness-many have
all three.

The federal government budgeted $17.9 billion on drug control in


1999 for interdiction, prosecution, international law enforcement,
prisons, treatment, prevention, and related items. In 1998, drug-
related health care costs in the United States came to more than $9.9
billion.

Treatment

Treatment of substance abusers depends upon the severity and


nature of the addiction, motivation, and the availability of services.
Some users may come into treatment voluntarily and have the
support of family, friends, and workplace; others may be sent to
treatment by the courts against their will and have virtually no
support system. Most people in drug treatment have a history of
criminal behavior; approximately one third are sent by the criminal
justice system.

Both pharmacological and behavioral treatments are used, often


augmented by educational and vocational services. Treatment may
include detoxification, therapy, and support groups, such as the 12-
step groups Alcoholics Anonymous, Narcotics Anonymous, and
Cocaine Anonymous. Nonresidential programs serve the largest
number of patients. Residential facilities include hospitals, group
homes, halfway houses, and therapeutic communities, such as
Phoenix House and Daytop Village; most of the daily activities are
treatment-related. Programs such as Al-Anon, CoAnon, and Alateen,
12-step programs for family and friends of substance abusers, help
them to break out of codependent cycles.

Some treatment programs use medicines that neutralize the effects


of the drug. Antabuse is a medicine used in the treatment of
alcoholism. It causes severe and sudden reaction (nausea, vomiting,
headache) when alcohol is present. Naltrexone is used in alcohol and
heroin abuse. Other programs use stabilizing medications, e.g.,
methadone or buprenorphine maintenance programs for heroin
addiction. Acupuncture has been successful in treating the cravings
that accompany cocaine withdrawal and is being used with pregnant
substance abusers to improve the health of their babies.

For every person in drug treatment there are an estimated three or


four people who need it. Many who attempt to get treatment,
especially from public facilities, are discouraged by waits of over a
month to get in. Evaluating the effectiveness of treatment is difficult
because of the chronic nature of drug abuse and alcoholism and the
fact that the disease is usually complicated by personal, social, and
health factors.

Fighting Substance Abuse

Efforts at fighting substance abuse are dictated by the attitudes of


the public and their perceptions of a substance's dangers. These
attitudes may be framed by personal experience, media portrayals,
news events, or drug education. Most drug enforcement is local, but
the international and interstate nature of the drug trade has gradually
resulted in more federal involvement. The Drug Enforcement
Administration (DEA), created in 1973, is responsible for enforcing
federal laws and policies and coordinates information sharing
between agencies. Approaches to combating the drug problem have
traditionally focused on reducing both supply and demand.
Supply Reduction

The policy of supply reduction aims to decrease the available


amount of a drug and make its cost prohibitively high due to the
short supply. One strategy for supply reduction is the passage and
enforcement of strict laws that govern the prescribing of narcotic
drugs. Other strategies are aimed at disrupting drug trafficking. In
general, heroin and the other opiates come into the United States
from SW and SE Asia, Central America, and Colombia, cocaine
from South America, marijuana from domestic sources, Mexico,
Colombia, and Jamaica, and designer drugs from domestic
clandestine laboratories. The Bureau of Immigration and Customs
Enforcement is charged with interdicting smuggled drugs that come
in across land borders, the U.S. Coast Guard with interdiction on the
seas. Other attempts to disrupt the flow of drugs involve the seizure
of clandestine labs, arrest and conviction of drug dealers and
middlemen, and international efforts to break up drug cartels and
organized crime distribution networks. Asset seizure is a
controversial but effective strategy that allows authorities to
confiscate any profits derived from or property used in drug
trafficking, including cars, houses, and legal fees paid to defense
attorneys. Eradication of crops was the strategy behind the spraying
of paraquat on Mexican marijuana crops in the 1970s. Some
attempts at reducing drug production by creating more lucrative
markets for nondrug crops in drug-producing areas also have been
made.

Reduction of Demand for Drugs

Attempts to reduce the demand for drugs in the main involve


education and treatment. For the most part, responsibility for
education falls to local schools and for treatment to local public
hospitals or private treatment centers. The federal government
gathers statistics and provides funds for treatment and rehabilitation
programs. Certain laws are designed to promote education of the
public (e.g., those requiring warning labels on cigarettes and
alcoholic beverages), and all states have Driving While Intoxicated
(DWI) laws. Other drug laws attempt to reduce the demand for
drugs by imposing stiff penalties for drug possession, manufacture,
and trafficking. Drug testing in the workplace has been a
controversial measure, weighing productivity and the safety of the
workers and those for whom they are responsible against an
individual's right to privacy, but it has resulted in increased public
awareness. Some grassroots groups have had a profound effect;
MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) was instrumental in
raising the drinking ages in many states.

Legalization and Decriminalization

The concept of controlling drugs is a relatively recent phenomenon,


and one that has been met with limited success despite the billions
of dollars spent. Some people argue that if drugs were legalized (as
occurred with the repeal of Prohibition), drug trafficking and the
violence it engenders would disappear. Some contend also that with
government regulation dosages would be standardized and
dangerous contaminants eliminated, making drugs safer. It has also
been suggested that resulting lower prices for drugs would preclude
the need for criminal activity to raise money for their purchase, and
that billions of dollars saved from supply reduction programs could
be put toward education and treatment. Nevertheless, a substantial
majority of Americans polled have thought legalization a bad idea.
Those opposed to legalization believe that removal of deterrents
would encourage drug use, that people would still steal to buy drugs,
and that many drugs are so inexpensive to produce that there would
still be a black market.

Decriminalization is the elimination or reduction of criminal


penalties for using or dealing in small amounts of certain drugs.
Attitudes toward decriminalization change with the times and with
actual and perceived dangers involved. Many localities
decriminalized marijuana in the 1970s-and many reinstituted stricter
laws in the 1980s.

History

Humans have used drugs of one sort or another for thousands of


years. Wine was used at least from the time of the early Egyptians;
narcotics from 4000 B.C.; and medicinal use of marijuana has been
dated to 2737 B.C. in China. But not until the 19th cent. A.D. were
the active substances in drugs extracted. There followed a time when
some of these newly discovered substances-morphine, laudanum,
cocaine-were completely unregulated and prescribed freely by
physicians for a wide variety of ailments. They were available in
patent medicines and sold by traveling tinkers, in drugstores, or
through the mail. During the American Civil War, morphine was
used freely, and wounded veterans returned home with their kits of
morphine and hypodermic needles. Opium dens flourished. By the
early 1900s there were an estimated 250,000 addicts in the United
States.

The problems of addiction were recognized gradually. Legal


measures against drug abuse in the United States were first
established in 1875, when opium dens were outlawed in San
Francisco. The first national drug law was the Pure Food and Drug
Act of 1906, which required accurate labeling of patent medicines
containing opium and certain other drugs. In 1914 the Harrison
Narcotic Act forbade sale of substantial doses of opiates or cocaine
except by licensed doctors and pharmacies. Later, heroin was totally
banned. Subsequent Supreme Court decisions made it illegal for
doctors to prescribe any narcotic to addicts; many doctors who
prescribed maintenance doses as part of an addiction treatment plan
were jailed, and soon all attempts at treatment were abandoned. Use
of narcotics and cocaine diminished by the 1920s. The spirit of
temperance led to the prohibition of alcohol by the Eighteenth
Amendment to the Constitution in 1919, but Prohibition was
repealed in 1933.

In the 1930s most states required antidrug education in the schools,


but fears that knowledge would lead to experimentation caused it to
be abandoned in most places. Soon after the repeal of Prohibition,
the U.S. Federal Bureau of Narcotics (now the Drug Enforcement
Administration) began a campaign to portray marijuana as a
powerful, addicting substance that would lead users into narcotics
addiction. In the 1950s, use of marijuana increased again, along with
that of amphetamines and tranquilizers. The social upheaval of the
1960s brought with it a dramatic increase in drug use and some
increased social acceptance; by the early 1970s some states and
localities had decriminalized marijuana and lowered drinking ages.
The 1980s brought a decline in the use of most drugs, but cocaine
and crack use soared. The military became involved in border
patrols for the first time, and troops invaded Panama and brought its
de facto leader, Manuel Noriega, to trial for drug trafficking.
Throughout the years, the public's perception of the dangers of
specific substances changed. The surgeon general's warning label on
tobacco packaging gradually made people aware of the addictive
nature of nicotine. By 1995, the Food and Drug Administration was
considering its regulation. The recognition of fetal alcohol syndrome
brought warning labels to alcohol products. The addictive nature of
prescription drugs such as diazepam (Valium) became known, and
caffeine came under scrutiny as well.

Drug laws have tried to keep up with the changing perceptions and
real dangers of substance abuse. By 1970 over 55 federal drug laws
and countless state laws specified a variety of punitive measures,
including life imprisonment and even the death penalty. To clarify
the situation, the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and
Control Act of 1970 repealed, replaced, or updated all previous
federal laws concerned with narcotics and all other dangerous drugs.
While possession was made illegal, the severest penalties were
reserved for illicit distribution and manufacture of drugs. The act
dealt with prevention and treatment of drug abuse as well as control
of drug traffic. The Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988
increased funding for treatment and rehabilitation; the 1988 act
created the Office of National Drug Control Policy. Its director,
often referred to as the drug czar, is responsible for coordinating
national drug control policy.

Bibliography

See H. Abadinsky, Drug Abuse (1989); H. T. Milhorn, Jr., Chemical


Dependence (1990); D. Baum, Smoke and Mirrors: The War on
Drugs and the Politics of Failure (1996); M. Massing, The Fix
(1998); J. Jonnes, Hepcats, Narcs, and Pipe Dreams: A History of
America's Romance with Illegal Drugs (1999); publications of the
Drugs & Crime Data Center and Clearinghouse, the Bureau of
Justice Statistics Clearinghouse, and the National Clearinghouse for
Alcohol and Drug Information.
The Expanded Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia Copyright© 2003. Columbia University Press. Used with
permission of Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. Except as otherwise permitted by written
agreement, the following are prohibited: copying substantial portions of the entirety of the work in machine
readable form, making multiple printout thereof, and other uses of the work inconsistent with U.S. and
applicable copyright and related laws.
Research from Equalrights4all.com
Marijuana & the Bible
And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no
more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of
the heathen any more. -- Ezekiel 34:29
"The Lord said unto me, 'I will take my rest and I will consider in my
dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs.' " -- Isaiah 18:4-5
Jesus • Medical Marijuana • Relevant Quotes
"Lord, when did we see thee sick or in prison and came unto thee?"
And the King will answer and say unto them, "Verily I say unto you,
inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethern, ye have done it unto me." -- Matthew 25:39-40
Go forth, and visit a prisoner today. http://www.hr95.org/
What is the Word of God on the Cannabis plant?

The hemp plant (scientific name: cannabis, slang: marijuana) is one


of the many useful herbs "yielding seed after its kind" created and
blessed by God on the third day of creation, "and God saw that it
was good." (Genesis 1:12) He gave hemp for people to use with our
free will.

God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which
is upon the face of all the earth.…To you it will be for meat." …
And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very
good. (Genesis 1:29-31) The Bible predicts some herb's prohibition.
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some
shall … speak lies in hypocrisy … commanding to abstain from
meats which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of
them which believe and know the truth. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:1-3)
The Bible speaks of a special plant. "I will raise up for them a plant
of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the
land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more." (Ezekiel
34:29) A healing plant. On either side of the river, was there the tree
of life, which bare 12 manner of fruits, and yielding her fruit every
month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
(Revelations 22:1-2) A gift from God.

How was cannabis used in Biblical times and lands?

Cannabis was used 12 ways:


clothing, paper, cord, sails, fishnet,
oil, sealant, incense, food, and in
ceremony, relaxation and
medicine. For so the Lord said unto me, "I will take my rest and I
will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs. For
afore harvest, when the bud is perfect and the sour grape is ripening
in the flower, he shall cut off the sprigs with pruning hooks and take
away and cut down the branches." (Isaiah 18:4-5)

What about cannabis today?

Hemp today has thousands of uses. Modern technology has devised


many new uses for the hemp plant&emdash;like biomass energy,
building materials, fuel, plastic and so on. Hemp is ecological and
its seed is among the best food crops on Earth. Selected varieties
produce flowers that provide an herbal relaxant and a spiritual tool.
Its herb is used globally as medicine.

Does the Bible discuss drugs?

Alcohol is the only drug openly discussed in the Bible, so it must


serve as our reference. Wine is drunk during religious occasions
such as Passover &emdash; the Last Supper of Jesus and His
disciples. It remains a sacrament in modern church services.

Jesus began his public life by miraculously turning water into wine
at the Wedding at Cana (John 2:1-10) when the reception ran out.
The Bible distinguishes between use and misuse. It says, Give
strong drink unto him that is ready to perish and wine unto those that
be of heavy hearts. (Proverbs 31:6-7) but Woe unto them that …
follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!
(Isaiah 5:10)

Yet the simple joys of drinking were also sung. He causeth the grass
to grow for the cattle, and herb for the service of man: that he may
bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that maketh glad the
heart of man and oil to make his face to shineth. (Psalm 104:14-15)

Did Jesus speak about choice?

He said not to criticize other people for their habits. "Not that which
goeth into the mouth defileth a man; that which cometh out of the
mouth defileth a man." (Mat. 15:11) The apostle Paul wrote, I know,
and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that there is nothing unclean of
itself: but to him that esteemeth anything to be unclean, to him it is
unclean. … For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but
righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. (Paul: Romans
14:14,17)

Did He speak of government?

Jesus said to keep church and state apart. "Render therefore unto
Caesar the things which be Caesar's and unto God the things which
be God's." (Luke 20:25) As we have seen, it was God, not
government, who gave man the herbs to use. And it was government
that put Jesus to death.

Property forfeiture laws?

He warned us about seizure and forfeiture laws. "Beware of the


scribes which …devour widows' houses…. The same shall receive
greater damnation." (Luke 20:46-47) Jesus, too, was a victim. The
soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His garments, and
made four parts, to every soldier a part. (John. 19:33)

What about the Drug War?

Blessed are the peacemakers. (Matthew 5:9)

It was God who created cannabis hemp and told mankind to use
"every green herb" on Earth. The Bible speaks of mercy, healing and
a persecution of God's children. They persecute me wrongfully; help
thou me. (Psalms 119:86) Prisons and drug wars do not save souls.
The Lord… hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim
liberty to the captives and the opening of the prison to them that are
bound. (Isaiah 61:1)

What should the ministry do?

Teach God's truth. Warn your congregation that the war on


marijuana is unchristian and must be ended. My people are
destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected
knowledge, I will also reject you, that you will be no priest to Me …
for I desired mercy and not sacrifice. (Hosea 4:6, 6:6)
Remember: Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be
refused if it be received with thanksgiving…. If thou put the
brethren in remembrance of these things, thou shalt be a good
minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words of faith and of
good doctrine. (Paul: 1 Timothy 4:4-6)

Summary analysis of the foregoing discussion

What does the Bible say about marijuana? The Bible says that God
created hemp for people to use "as meat," (ie, to consume), that its
seed oil is to be used as an ointment, and that cannabis is "to be
received with thanks-giving of them which believe and know the
truth." Paul also warned that some people would "speak lies in
hypocrisy" and prohibit us from using it.

It also says that we "shall not bear false witness" about people who
use cannabis, nor judge them because that judgement is reserved to
the Lord. The Lord hates those who speak lies and sow discord
among brethern. For those people harrassed and imprisoned for
using cannabis rightfuly, Jesus offers these words of comfort,
"Blessed are those persecuted for righteousness's sake: For theirs is
the Kingdom of Heaven."

What would Jesus do regarding medical marijuana?

Despite common knowledge and widespread scientific support, the


federal government has for nearly 30 years kept cannabis in
schedule 1 as a deliberate way to deny patients access to medical
marijuana. This includes people suffering from asthma, cancer,
migraine headache, chronic pain, spasticity, glaucoma, arthritis, and
provides relief for many other conditions. As a result, people at
various locations across the USA have had to risk and suffer years in
prison for providing medical marijuana to patients as an act of
compassion and personal conscience. What would Jesus do? He
chose to break the law in order to heal the sick.

"At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn, and
his disciples were hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn, and
to eat. 2) But when the Pharisees saw it, they said unto him, Behold,
thy disciples do that which is not lawful to do upon the sabbath day
3) But he said unto them, Have ye not read what David did, when he
was hungered, and they that were with him? … 10) And, behold,
there was a man which had his hand withered, And they asked him,
saying, Is it lawful to heal on the sabbath days? that they might
accuse him. 11) And he said unto them, What man shall there be
among you, that shall have one sheep, and if it fall into a pit on the
sabbath day, will he not lay hold on it and lift it out? 12) How much
then is a man better than a sheep? Wherefore it is lawful to do well
on the sabbath days. 13) Then saith he to the man, Stretch forth thine
hand. And he stretched it forth; and it was restored whole, like as the
other. 14) Then the Pharisees went out, and held a council against
him, how they might destroy him. 15) But when Jesus knew it, he
withdrew himself from thence, and great multitudes followed him,
and he healed them all; 16) And charged them that they should not
make him known." (Matthew 12: 1-2, 10-16) (also see Mark 3, Luke
13, John 9)

Should people give blind obedience to government?

Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem,


saying, 2) Why do thy disciple transgress the tradition of the elders?
for they wash not their hands when they eat bread." 3) But he
answered and said unto them, Why do ye also transgress the
commandment of God by your tradition? … 7) Ye hypocrites! …
12) Then came his disciples, and said unto him, Knowest thou that
the Pharisees were offended, after they heard this saying? 13) But he
answered and said, Every plant, which my heavenly Father hath not
planted, shall be rooted up. 14) Let them alone: they be blind leaders
of the blind, And if the blind lead the blind, both shall fall into the
ditch. (Matthew 15:1-3, 7, 12-14)

Passages from the King James Bible that are relevant


to the legal and moral status of Cannabis sativa, L.

And the earth brought forth grass and herb yielding seed after its
kind, and the tree yielding fruit, whose seed was in itself, after his
kind: and God saw that it was good. (Genesis 1:12)

God said, "Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which
is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in which is the fruit
of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat. And to every
beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to everything that
creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life, I have given every
green herb for meat: and it was so." And God saw everything that he
had made, and, behold, it was very good. And the evening and the
morning were the sixth day. (Gen. 1:29-31)

(No prohibition of cannabis or any other drug is made in the Ten


Commandments: See Ex. 20:1-17)

(Cannabis is mentioned in Ex. 30:23 but King James mistranslated it


as 'sweet calamus') :
Moreover, the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23 Take thou also
unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and
of sweet cinnamon half so much, even 250 shekels, and of qaneh-
bosm [cannabis] 250 shekels, 24 And of cassia 500 shekels, after
the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: 25 And thou shalt
make it an oil of holy anointment, an ointment compound after the
art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. 26 And thous
shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark
of the testimony, 27 And the table and all his vessels, and the
candlestick ahd his vessels, and the altar of incense, 28 And the altar
of burnt offerings with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. 29
And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy:
whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. (Exodus 30:22-29)

* As one shekel equals approximately 16.37 grams,


this means that the THC from over 9 pounds of
flowering cannabis tops were extracted into a hind,
about 6.5 litres of oil. The entheogenic effects of such
a solution -- even when applied topically -would
undoubtedly have been intense.

He causeth the grass to grow for the cattle and herb for the service
of man: that he may bring forth food out of the earth; And wine that
maketh glad the heart of man and oil to make his face to shineth.
(Psalm 104:14-15)

The Lord said unto me, "I will take my rest and I will consider in my
dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew
in the heat of harvest. For afore the harvest, when the bud is perfect
and the sour grape is ripening in the flower, he shall cut off the
sprigs with pruning hooks and take away and cut down the branches.
(Is. 18:4-5)

And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no
more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of
the heathen any more. (Ezekiel 34:29)

(Jesus:) "Not that which goeth into the mouth defileth a man; but
that which cometh out of the mouth, this defileth a man." (Matt.
15:11)

One believeth that he may eat all things. Another…eateth herbs. …


Let us not, therefore judge one another any more: but judge this
rather, that no man put a stumbling block or an occasion to fall in his
brother's way. I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus, that
there is nothing unclean of itself: but to him that esteemeth anything
to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For the kingdom of God is not
meat and drink; but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy
Ghost. (Epistle of St. Paul: Romans 14: 2,3,13,14,17)

Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times, some shall
depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines
of devils; Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared
with a hot iron; Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain
from meats which God hath created to be received with
thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth. For every
creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused if it be received
with thanksgiving: For it is sanctified by the word of God and
prayer. If thou put the brethren in remembrance of these things, thou
shalt be a good minister of Jesus Christ, nourished up in the words
of faith and of good doctrine, whereupon thou hast attained. (Paul: 1
Timothy 4:1-6)

And he showed me a pure river of water of life, clear as crystal,


proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. In the midst of
the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of
life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielding her fruit every
month; and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations.
(Rev. 22:1-2)
Other relevant quotes:
Prohibition:

(Jesus:) He said unto them,


"Render therefore unto
Intoxication:
Caesar the things which be
Caesar's and unto God the
Wine is a mocker, strong drink
things which be God's."
is raging: and whosoever is
(Luke 20:25)
deceived thereby is not wise.
(Prov. 20:1)
"Then came Peter to him and
said, "Lord, how oft shall my
Give strong drink unto him
brother sin against me, and I
that is ready to perish and
forgive him? Till seven
wine unto those of heavy
times? Jesus saith unto him,
hearts. Let him drink and
"I say not unto thee until
forget his poverty, and
seven times: But until
remember his misery no more.
seventy times seven." (Matt.
(Prov. 31:6-7)
18:21-22)
"Woe unto them that rise up
(Jesus:) "If a kingdom be
early in the morning, that they
divided against itself, that
may follow strong drink; that
kingdom cannot stand."
continue until night, till wine
(Mark 3:24)
inflame them! (Isaiah 5:10)
(Jesus:) He saith unto them,
(Jesus' first miracle was
"Are ye so without
turning water into wine at the
understanding also? Do ye
wedding at Cana: See John 1-
not perceive that whatsoever
10. He also served wine at the
thing from without entereth
Last Supper.)
into the man, it cannot defile
him.... That which cometh
out of the man, that defileth
the man." (Mark 7:18-20)
Persecution:
Forfeiture:
Thy commandments are
As troops of robbers wait for a
faithful: They persecute me
man, so the company of
wrongfully; help thou me.
priests commit murder in the
(Ps. 119:86)
way by consent. (Hos. 6:9)
(Jesus:) "Blessed are the
(Jesus:) "Beware the scribes
peacemakers, for they shall
which desire to walk in long
be called the children of
robes and … the highest seats
God. Blessed are those
in the synagogues and the
persecuted for righteousness'
chief rooms at feasts; Which
sake: For theirs is the
devour widows' houses, and
kingdom of heaven."
for a show make long prayers:
(Matthew 5:9-10)
They shall receive greater
damnation." (Luke 20:46-47)
(Jesus:) "The King shall
answer and say unto them,
Then the soldiers, when they
'Verily I say unto you,
had crucified Jesus, took His
inasmuch as ye have done it
garments, and made four
unto one of the least of these
parts, to every soldier a part.
my brethern, ye have done it
(John 19:33)
unto me." (Matt. 25:40)
Judgement & Punishment:
Tolerance:
The spirit of the Lord God is
These six things doth the Lord
upon me, because the Lord
hate: yea, seven are an
hath anointed me to preach
abomination unto him: A
good tidings unto the meek;
proud look, a lying tongue and
he hath sent me to bind up
hands that shed innocent
the broken hearted, to
blood; An heart that deviseth
proclaim liberty to the
wicked imaginations, feet that
captives and the opening of
be swift in running to
the prison to them that are
mischief; A false witness that
bound." (Is. 61:1)
speaketh lies, and he that
soweth discord among
My people are destroyed for
brethern." (Prov. 6:16-19)
lack of knowledge; because
you have rejected
(Jesus:) "But I say unto you
knowledge, I will also reject
which hear, Love your
you, that you will be no
enemies, do good to them
priest to Me…for I desired
which hate you, Bless them
mercy and not sacrifice.
that curse you and pray for
(Hosea 4:6, 6:6)
them which despitefully use
you. And unto him that
(Jesus:) "Judge not, that ye
smiteth thee on the one cheek,
be not judged. For with what
offer also the other, and him
judgement ye judge, ye shall
that taketh away thy cloak,
be judged: And with what
forbid not to take thy coat
measure ye mete, it shall be
also." (Luke 6:27-29)
measured to you again. And
why beholdest thou the mote
Truth:
that is in thy brother's eye,
but considerest not the beam
A wise man will hear, and will
that is in thine own eye?"
increase learning: and a man
(Matt. 7:1-4)
of understanding shall attain
unto wise counsels. (Proverbs
(Jesus:) He beheld them and
1:5)
said, "What is this then that
is written, 'The stone which
If a ruler hearken to lies, all
the builders rejected, the
his servants are wicked. (Prov.
same is become the head of
29:12)
the corner'?" (Luke 20:17)
If you think America doesn’t need a bunch of potheads in the
country, too late, and we are missing out the money it makes too.