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Argument Essay

As we all know the government has some sort of control over the people living in

the United States and play a role in our every day lives. They give us rules to live by even

though we are guaranteed our freedom in the Declaration of Independence. These rules

we are expected to live by are said to be for our own good and supposedly keep the

citizens in order. I ve come to see that some rules make no logical sense such as the

prohibition of marijuana. Marijuana was outlawed in 1937 as a repressive measure against

Mexican workers who crossed the border seeking jobs during the Depression. The

specific reason given for the outlawing of the hemp plant was its supposed violent effect

on the degenerate races.

Marijuana has well-organized supporters who campaign for its legalization and

promote its use through books, magazines, and popular music. They regard marijuana as

not only a recreational drug but also a form of herbal medicine and a product with

industrial applications. Marijuana s opponents are equally passionate and far better

organized. They consider marijuana a dangerous drug-one that harms the users mental,

physical, and spiritual well-being, promotes irresponsible sexual behavior, and encourages

disrespect for traditional values. Many famous and credible people such as Abraham

Lincoln and Albert Einstein have found the holes in prohibition laws and pointed out the

disadvantages of this type of government. This issue has been long debated for reasons I

don t understand and the government of the United States needs to see that prohibiting the

drug contradicts and violates our rights, influences crime, and does more harm than good.

As human beings I think we should all have the right to decide for ourselves what

goes into our bodies. We have to realize that prohibiting any drug denies us of this basic

human liberty. In fact, even the people who wrote the Harrison Act and the Marijuana

Tax Act in 1937 agreed that a general prohibition on what people could put into their own

bodies was plainly an unconstitutional infringement on personal liberties.

And then there s the alcohol situation. There is no fundamental reason why a

constitutional amendment should be required to prohibit one chemical and not another. It

is an outrage to see alcohol being so widely used every day without the government

interfering with it. Of course there was prohibition which started in 1919 and ended in

1933 which caused crime rates to skyrocket. But the beer still flowed like always and the

government realized it was one of those things they just couldn t control. The fact is that

alcohol is directly related to so many American deaths with drunk drivers and liver disease

yet nothing seems to change. It s hard for me to believe that with alcoholism so prevalent

and alcohol causing so many problems such as abuse, teen pregnancy, and rape that it is

not even an issue.

Cigarettes are known to be the cause of millions of American deaths a year and

are still legal. This is just another example of how the man decides what we can and

cannot put into our bodies. I find this information to be clear and obvious for anyone to

see and cant understand how nothing is done about it. By taking away a person s freedom

to make his or her own decisions, the government is, in effect, dictating what a person

should and should not think. As President Abraham Lincoln once said, Prohibition goes

beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man s appetite by legislation

and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at

the very principles upon which our government was founded. Our basic rights are being

denied every day and it is looked over as nothing.

The war on drugs causes crime to skyrocket. In essence if drugs are outlawed, the

only way they can be manufactured and sold is by criminals. In other words, criminals are

handed a lucrative monopoly by laws prohibiting drugs. How much control can the

government have over the criminal market? The answer is none; criminal markets can

only be suppressed, and not very efficiently at that. The result is a vicious cycle: prices are

kept high by illegality, this guarantees high profits and a steady supply of low level

workers in the drug market. A steady stream of arrests does little more than provide work

for criminal justice and corrections workers and divert precious tax dollars away from

education. Poorly educated, inner city youth view the arrest as an employment

opportunity, continuing the cycle. Meanwhile, their customers are forced to steal to be

able to afford the drugs to which they have become addicted. At the higher level of

wholesaler and importer, drug deals are very dangerous because mundane business issues

of delivery, payment, quality and competition become a criminal market in which issues

are only to be settled by violence.

The war on drugs clearly resembles the prohibition of alcohol earlier this century.

It has brought back the crime and drive-by shootings of the 1920 s and does nothing more

than promote violence. History is repeating itself, but the politicians, too busy competing

for the title of Toughest on Crime, only notice the rates, rather than the causes, of

crime. Today, murder rates are twice what they were before the war on drugs began in

the 1950 s, and violent crimes have risen by a factor of six. Gangs fight over turf and buy

guns with the profit from drug sales. Addicts resort to crime to support habits which

would cost little more than smoking, if legal. As you can see, there are many ways drug

laws, and specifically the prohibition of marijuana influence crime.

The war on drugs is doing this country more harm than good. It has cost America

a great deal of lives. Not only does it influence and inevitably promote violence, but it

also causes unjustified property seizure and an explosion in the cost of health care. Many

of you may not know this but the war on drugs has led to massive property confiscation.

Your property can be seized based on an unidentified informant s unconfirmed tip. Your

property can be seized if someone else has used it to sell drugs without your knowledge.

And can you believe your property can be taken even if you are never charged with a

crime! In 1994, total property seizures at all levels of government exceeded 2 billion

dollars. Keeping marijuana illegal is a pointless effort and will never be full proof.

These days, when we don t have enough jail cells for murderers, rapists, and other

violent criminals, there may be more people in federal and state prisons for marijuana

offenses than at any other time in UNITED STATES history. In the state of Indiana a

person convicted of armed robbery will serve about five years in prison; convicted of rape

will serve about twelve; and a convicted murderer can expect to spend twenty years

behind bars. These figures should be considered when we talk about a man named Mark

Young. Mark Young was a middle-man involving 700 pounds of marijuana. He did not

buy or sell the marijuana, but only introduced the people making the deals. On February

8, 1992, he was sentenced by Judge Sarah Evans Barker to life imprisonment without

possibility of parole. This nicely illustrates how the government does not have their

priorities straight and how the war on drugs is a joke. Other inmates are serving life

sentences in state correctional facilities across the country for growing, selling, or even

possessing marijuana.

Another reason prohibiting pot is bad is that is causes corruption. Crooked cops

and judges all over the United States are taking money that isn t theirs because they know

they can. The funny thing is I ve seen this happen first hand. My friends and I have ran

into crooked cops more than once. The first experience I had the cops basically just told

us to hand over the pot and they wouldn t say anything. At first, I was just glad to get the

drugs out of the car and leave. Then I started to think of how absolutely ludicrous the

whole situation was. The cop was actually able to blackmail us by threatening to arrest us

but also gave us the option to hand over the product. Another case of a crooked cop was

told to me by a friend. The police officer he dealt with actually said to him Do you mind

if I go and smoke this? Of course my friend had to play it cool and let the cop take his

pot. About one-half hour later he saw the cop driving around and smoking his herb. This

is no joke. I m just saying that keeping marijuana illegal will just cause more cops getting

paid off to look the other way or pretend they didn t see anything or to actually smoke the

pot themselves.

It seems like the government will tax anything they can get their hands on these

days. If marijuana was legalized, it would be just one more thing for the government to

make money from. The tax payers wouldn t mind either because it would still be cheaper

to buy taxed pot than from pot on the street. So instead of making money off of

marijuana the government continues to suppress it and still spends a portion of their

money to keep it illegal. That money could be going to better use such as education.

You can see how beneficial it would be to the government if marijuana was

legalized. It is only right to not deny us of this wonderful plant that never meant any

harm. An estimated one third of the population above the age of eleven have smoked

marijuana at least once and about three million smoke it on a daily basis. Marijuana is

being looked at by the people as more and more recreational every day and even the media

discretely influences the use of it. There have been movies made such as Half Baked

and Dazed and Confused that are based on the use of marijuana and show how normal

people use the drug every day without any problems. What kind of message does this

send to the viewers? It basically says that the drug is O.K. and shows how people can

smoke marijuana every day and lead normal productive lives. The music business also

relies on the use of the drug by promoting groups such as Cypress Hill and the

Kottonmouth Kings who both somehow find a way to incorporate the drug into every

song they make. With the government allowing these things to be viewed and listened to

by the general public it arouses the question of: do they really care?

Can the people in Washington really not understand how ludicrous it is to ban

such a widely used drug from the people? It seems they would have learned their lesson

from the first prohibition of alcohol earlier this century but they haven t. They fail to see

that prohibiting the drug will do little to stop it from being used and will continue to

increase crime rates as a direct result of the drug being illegal. They also haven t opened

up their eyes to the fact that marijuana will always be smoked by millions of people and

making it hard for people to get just makes things worse on everybody. I don t know who

but somebody once said a government with less rules and regulations is a good

government. The more rules we are given the more rules are broken or found a way to

get out of. The benefits of the marijuana plant are not only industrial, but also spiritual,

and national. All three of these aspects are made better with marijuana. The government

needs to open their eyes to the fact that the war on drugs isn t working and only making

things worse. The prohibiting of marijuana violates our rights, influences violence in many

ways, and also is doing more harm than good for this country.

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