If Prop 19 would have passed, you might have reinvented a whole musical genre and been on the cover of TIME like Thelonius Monk. What a horror...

The darling of 21st century agriculture is not a biochemically enhanced stalk of corn or strawberries the size of basketballs. It is, instead, marijuana, the country’s most profitable naturally grown product. This very popular plant, which has been labeled everything from a “cure all” to “an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death “ has been clouded by misconceptions. Those who are in favor of its consumption and legalization usually tout that smoking it has no ill health effects while those who oppose it believe that it is an extremely potent drug that produces the same side effects as drugs like crystal meth, crack, and heroine.” I think it’s time that both sides sit down and truly examine marijuana and get their facts straight.

But before I suggest someone get their facts straight, I must get mines in order first. Now, before I really sat down and did some in-depth research on marijuana, I already knew that smoking it could cause bad things to happen to your body as with anything you smoke. What I didn’t know is that Marijuana has more than 400 chemicals in it and can breed in two ways: Indica and Sativa. Each type gives you a different type of high. For instance, Sativa will give you a very cerebral high, while indica will give you more of a body high. There are hundreds of different strands under each type with varying levels of THC (tetrahydrocannabinol).

THC is the most important part of marijuana because this is the main chemical that gives you marijuana’s various altered physical and mental properties. I learned that marijuana isn’t just a stimulant or depressant, it can imitate the symptoms of both. The higher the level of THC, the more intense the high will be. Marijuana is informally named by its level of THC with terms like “reggie” (low quality, inexpensive product), “mids” or “middies” (medium quality product with good potency), and “highs”,  “loud”, “headies” or “heads” (the highest potency marijuana you can buy. It can be very rare, and is very expensive). Each level produces a different type of high and as mentioned before, vary in price and availability. THC stays in the blood stream and fat of your body for varying amount of times depending on your height, weight, and consumption habits. The more you use and the higher your tolerance, the longer it takes for the THC to leave your system.

So, why would I choose this topic to write about? I chose to write a little piece about marijuana because there are some many misconceptions and fallacies surrounding this topic that it would be good to give my personal insight on it and maybe clear some things up. First of all, there are literally no deaths directly attributed to excessive marijuana use. This is not urban folklore, this is the actual truth. There are no studies attributing prolonged marijuana abuse to insanity or social awkwardness. You’d also be hard pressed to find a murder case where the suspect committed the crime because of marijuana. THC may have been in the criminal’s system, but the presence THC is not a legitimate reason to cloud judgment to the point of not knowing you are committing a felonious crime. Also, smoking a joint or blunt (when weed is rolled in cigarette paper or tobacco leafs in cigar fashion respectively) is not as dangerous to you’re body as smoking a cigarette.

First of all, cigarettes are extremely processed with different unnatural chemicals and additives. Even the paper in cigarettes is not clean burning. As a matter of fact, cigarettes are 50% treated tobacco, 20% reclaim (old, dry, shredded cigarettes), and 30% recon (a shredded paper treated with something called a “mother liquor” or tobacco liquidized and treated with chemicals). A joint is just marijuana, which even with it’s 400 chemicals, is all natural, rolled in relatively clean-burning rolling paper made from wood pulp, hemp, flax, or rice. Do the math, and a joint is far less toxic. A blunt, or marijuana consumed in tobacco wrapped cigar fashion, is a bit more harmful than a joint because the tobacco wrap contains more natural and unnatural chemicals. Now, smoking is dangerous to you’re lungs nonetheless, but smoking a blunt or joint does not equal up to the amount of bad, toxic chemicals in a cigarette.

Also, marijuana is not truly, addictive. See, people who smoke it like it enough to do it often. That is not addiction. Many people enjoy video games often. This is commonly misunderstood as video game addiction. There is a fundamental difference that is blatant and often ignored in an attempt to exaggerate a person’s consumption habits. Also, smoking is not the only way you can use marijuana. You can cook it into foods or use a vaporizer, both healthy alternatives to lighting up. Marijuana truly does help with extreme pain and discomfort. Take for example a person battling with insomnia. Think about this: You have insomnia and you need some type of medicine. You can take a pharmaceutical drug that has been linked to depression and suicidal thoughts or smoke some good, potent, marijuana and wake up fine the next day. Weed does not make people want to kill, rob, steal, or do crime unless the person was susceptible to doing these things before they got high. Other drugs like say alcohol, crack, and crystal meth can alter the mind to the point where a person thinks that type of extreme behavior is completely rational. Oh, and did I mention one of those is completely legal?

It’s not about people just wanting to get high, even though there is nothing fundamentally wrong with that. It’s partly about the principle of other more deadly and devastating drugs being legal and this natural, externally harmless drug being prohibited in majority of the world and the fact that it is a drug that can really help people with incurable problems. Our country is firmly based on the idea of liberty yet, when it comes to drugs, alcohol, cigarettes, and the pharmaceutical industry, which are all potentially deadly drugs, get preferential treatment. Marijuana is a great alternative to pharmaceutical medicines that can have some horrible side effects. I do think that it should be legalized and regulated. It can’t be like the weed wild west out there. But, if you legalize marijuana in the U.S., you immediately undermine thousands of criminal organizations in this country. Weed related violence is relatively low to begin with, but imagine how much revenue we would be taking away from the illegal drug cartels if legal, legit, private dispensaries are the prime suppliers to a legal market. And with our country so deep in debt, why would we ignore the biggest domestically grown cash crop since God knows what? The negative effects of marijuana are marginal and far less than cigarettes, and if the government doesn’t care if cigarette smokers kill themselves with manufactured poison, why do they feel the need to be in pot smokers’ business? It’s simple really: dispensaries would have to go through an in-depth qualification process, they must open away from schools and community centers, and you wouldn’t be able to smoke pot in certain areas deemed inappropriate. With that simple regulation along with requiring people to get medical or recreational licenses, the legal marijuana trade will go smoothly in this country.

Part of the prohibition of marijuana has nothing to do with the plant itself. It is all-apart of the bogus “war on drugs” first introduced by President Nixon in the ‘60s. People have been smoking weed since the dawn of time in one way or another, but when the government started to see that marijuana was the most prominent drug of the counter-culture movements of the ‘50s and ‘60s, they were quick to shut it down and regard it with disdain. After all, classic conservative thought argues that anything that is against the established norm is a dangerous threat and it was only logical to the right wing that the weed the hippies smoked, amongst other, more powerful hallucinogenic-based drugs, was the reason behind their revolutionary thinking.

(I encourage you to watch parts two through ten which are also on youtube)

From there we get to the point where the government, who is responsible for drug related atrocities like the oversight and implementation of narcotics into low-income neighborhoods in order to undergo ethnic cleansing and fund rebel military groups, realized that many marijuana users were easy targets for the DEA’s “war on drugs”. The “war on drugs” is a crusade against the consumers of drugs and not the providers. So, instead of the drug cartels, which produce all of the drug violence and the actual drugs to the users, being the first focus of the government’s attacks, the government goes after the users of drugs first. This, prompted them to set wildly unfair laws where just as little as possession could net years of jail time thus feeding right into the prison-industrial complex. A man whose only offense is smoking pot should not be in jail for any amount of time next to murderers and thieves So, the fact that weed is illegal has nothing to do with weed itself if you ask me. It has to do instead with an extension of the government’s scheme to institutionalize people, especially minorities, based on the bogus grounds of marijuana prohibition and based on enlarging the bottom line of the criminal justice industry . Even in an age where medical marijuana is legal in many States, the DEA unconstitutionally ignores the States’ laws and routinely makes busts on completely legal dispensaries that provide the sick with the medicine they were prescribed. How can any American champion this blatant breach of our constitution? Also, doesn’t it seem a bit shady that the government is sweeping thousands of pounds of legal marijuana, that they obtained in violation of our constitution, under the rug? Where does all that weed go? My best bet is that it ends up back on the streets and the money some how finds its way into some fed’s pockets. The “war on drugs” itself is a cash cow and pork machine. The people that conduct this war have no interest in winning it. It’s continual existence is a money making tool to them.  Our current president admitted to smoking marijuana and he won the 2008 election but many universal legalization bills, the most prominent in California, fail at the polls and the president champions the raids carried out by the DEA. So, the same voters that were fine with their president being a former marijuana user , vote against it’s legalization based on what? I believe based on completely irrational and ridiculous rhetoric that has been repeated by most anti-legalization proponents for nearly a century.

After all I learned about marijuana in my short life, my thoughts on the substance will not change. I feel strongly about this subject because it goes way beyond people getting high or not. People know exactly what they’re doing to their bodies if they choose to smoke, and I’m pretty sure they’re perfectly fine with that. People fail to realize that the prohibition of this substance is not based on scientific studies or if it is harmful but instead on socio-economic, racial, and idealistic prejudices that are decades old. It is the 21st century. It is time to shake ourselves loose of these antiquated laws and ideals and let people choose if they want to consume the substance or not. Honestly, I think they’re giving marijuana more credit than it deserves. Its medicinal legalization has already been successful in a handful of states, like Colorado, and last time I checked the headlines, citizens in Denver weren’t complaining about being suffocated by marijuana smoke. The American public should reevaluate how they feel on marijuana and realize that at the end of the day, the laws surrounding it are extremely contradictory and unjust.