Government should not control our pot

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Government should not control our pot

The Southerner

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Do you think Marijuana should be legalized?

 AERON ATTWOOLL

When discussing whether Congress should legalize marijuana, the debate always centers on one question: do I personally agree with using cannabis? This question is irrelevant, however, as the real question should be the following: do I want the government involved in this aspect of human life?

We are forgetting that government was created only to secure and defend our rights, not play the role of a babysitter or moral arbiter. I highly doubt the Founding Fathers, especially the three of them that grew cannabis on their property, created the government to punish us for recreational use of plants. They created the American government to be a safeguard against tyranny, in a land where disagreement does not lead to conflict and where autonomy rules supreme.

It may very well be unhealthy to breathe in the smoke from plants or other objects, but it is not always illegal. So what is it about cannabis that sets it apart from the plants you can smoke legally?

There are a few factors that set it apart, and each is important in understanding the issue. Cannabis has psychoactive properties; it can cause mild euphoria and change the way the brain processes thoughts. This altering effect can cause paranoia, but it can also enhance creativity and the ability to empathize with others. Whether the effects are harmful or beneficial, they are relatively trivial compared to the more profound harmful effects of alcohol or tobacco.

Only the female cannabis plant produces the tetrahydrocannabinol-containing flowers that receive all the attention. The male plant produces a fibrous substance known as hemp, which has no psychoactive properties but has been used for centuries to make paper, rope and food. One acre of hemp can produce as much paper as four acres of trees. Switching paper production from trees to hemp would increase efficiency and decrease the reliance on harmful chemicals. Scientists have also discovered how to make fuel and building materials from hemp, which can be harvested up to twice a year instead of waiting decades for a tree to grow. The hemp industry could eliminate deforestation entirely and help provide cheap food, tools and energy to impoverished regions. The foes of marijuana legalization don’t want you to consider the utility of hemp, and they also don’t want you to know of the countless studies done in Western Europe showing how beneficial cannabinoids can be in treating cancer. Cannabinoids are isolated chemicals with no harmful effects, and no psychoactive properties. So why are they not used here? I would argue that it’s because medical research is more privatized than ever before, and cancer treatment, especially minimally effective treatments, provide billions of dollars to the government and the private sector. Marijuana is much more of a threat to the profit margin of pharmaceutical companies than it is to your health.

We have cannabinoid receptors in our brains. Our brain is tuned specifically to benefit from chemicals our government has taken away from us. These receptors developed because human breast milk contains derivatives of THC, used to calm the baby and let it know that suckling is the correct thing to do. It is irresponsible for the government to prohibit marijuana use without identifying another plants that provides this benefit. Even if these benefits did not exist, marijuana should still be legal. Do you really want your government, a collaboration of strangers, to decide what plants you are allowed to cultivate and enjoy?

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