Marijuana and America’s War on Drugs

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It is quickly becoming public knowledge that prescription drugs are more dangerous than the illegal variety. But still the war on drugs is put into place to combat the illegal drugs.

Did you know that the number one factor in determining the legality of a drug is how great the corporate and government profits are for that specific drug?

Marijuana is going to be the next great American cash crop. All it is missing is the financial and legal support of those major corporations. Something I see in the future of marijuana, especially considering its many medical qualities of which more and more are being discovered daily. If this doesn’t make sense, just think of it this way.

The tobacco company has been allowed to sell and distribute a product that is known to kill people. The reason why is because states get a cut of the revenues from sold cigarettes (Adams). States are not going to make a product that provides them with much needed capital illegal, no matter how many people it kills.

So the real reason for the legality of a drug does not lie in safety measures, nor medical ones, but like any other American institution money. Money makes the world go round right?
The same is true for the gambling industry. Organized gambling is illegal on both the state and federal level unless in those special circumstances when the government gets a cut of the action.

Casino friendly states made it legal, not for the good of the public but to make more money. Even in a casino friendly state, the state receives a portion of the profits to ensure the casino is not shut down, kind of like a mob operation taking its cut for protection so to speak.

The same goes for state lotteries, which are the most organized and widespread form of gambling sanctioned by our government in which every states gets its fair share of the profits. Think about that, the next time you visit a casino or even buy a lottery ticket (Adams).

Now back to the wonderful world of drugs. This is just how messed up the government’s priorities are when determining the legality of a drug. The exact same compound can be illegal in one drug but legal in others.

An example of this is the Chinese herb ma huang which was illegal because of the ephedrine in it. But ephedrine is legal in over the counter prescriptions such as Sudafed and many other cold medicines.

Whichever form the government can make the most money off of gets the green light for consumption. It’s all about consumption, profit margins and the American way.

If prescription drugs was sold on the street like say marijuana, in a non-taxable, non-corporate profit way then the long arm of the law would come down on this make believe underground prescription market like it has on the other illegal drugs. My question then is who decides whether a drug is profitable enough to warrant legal consumption? Who gets to make the decision?

It is just over the past fifteen years that the sale of opoids or pain killers, specifically oxycodone, hyrdocodone, methadone and fentanyl has risen to astronomical proportions as have the deaths resulting from this rise in consumption. In 2002, 16,000 people died from overdoses with he majority of those deaths coming from opioids, heroin and cocaine, the first vastly surpassing both of the latter drugs.

And now for some hard percentages revealing an alarming trend in America. Between 1979 and 1990 the number of deaths attributed to accidental drug poisoning increased an average of 5.3% annually. Between 1990 and 2002, this number jumped to 18.1%.

Between the years of 1990 and 2002 deaths caused by opioid overdose alone increased an alarming 91.2% (Prescription).

That is the reason why medical marijuana is illegal, because the government does not control its growth or distribution nor do they receive a cut of the profits. But according to the public policy analyst Jon Gettman, “marijuana produces more annual revenue than wheat or corn combined, a whopping $35 billion” (Kage).

Also the states of California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii and Washington produce more than $1 billion of the crop every year.

The United States alone produces an estimated 10,000 metric tons of marijuana annually and the average cost per pound was $1,606. Even Tom Riley, the spokesperson of the U.S. Office Of National Drug Control Policy, agreed that illegal drug use is a serious part of our economy.

But he quickly counteracted his statement by also mentioning that more U.S. teens are being treated for marijuana dependency than all other drugs combined (Kage). Gettman is a well known marijuana advocate, whose argument logically states that the U.S. government is failing to control the use of marijuana by “criminalizing its cultivation” (Kage).

Gettman believes the focus of the government should be how we can control and tax the sale and use of this cash crop rather than punish the rapidly growing numbers of those who use it.

The government is not looking out for you or your best interest, despite what the television tells you.

Mind altering substances that are highly addictive and kill millions of people each year are legal, while medical marijuana, proven to have many medical properties remains on the illegal list of drugs worthy of jail time.

As stated before this is because of the government’s profit margins that need to be filled, much the same way as the organized gambling in casinos and state lotteries run across several states in the United States of America. Will marijuana become America’s next cash crop?

And as a result be legalized and regulated by the federal government?

Only time will tell. But that may be just what this country needs to dig us out of our current economic ditch we are all drowning in. In my opinion, it will revive our struggling economy by bringing more money in. People buy it anyway, at least this way it will help our country. We’ll just have to see.

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