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Debate:Should marijuana be legalized?

9,520 bytes added, 14:57, 24 April 2013
Reverted edits by [[Special:Contributions/Amberw|Amberw]] ([[User talk:Amberw|talk]]) to last revision by [[User:Cmurphynz|Cmurphynz]]
I think it should be legalized for a few reasons. Just watch the film: Traffic.
^ Agreed. Here are some more ideas (An Amber Rant): And the "essay" below that someone wrote is not even concise at all. It's a five page paragraph with BROAD GENERALIZATIONS. I talk about amendments for evidence. You can't get cooler than that.
Speech, religion, search, and seizure are rights under the Bill of Rights that the government cannot meddle with. When America became independent, the society preserved the rights of the individual. After all, the Preamble begins with “We, the people.” The amendments of the Constitution, focusing on the individual, didn’t put restrictions on what people can do; restrictions were put on what the government can do. However, marijuana prohibition has put restrictions on people’s ‘inappropriate lifestyles.’
Marijuana prohibition essentially violates the First, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Eighth, Ninth, and Tenth Amendments. The First Amendment prevents the government from making any laws about religion, speech, press, or assembly. Marijuana has been used for religious purposes. Hindi and Buddhist tribal celebrations use marijuana sacramentally. The Rastafarians obtained a court ruling that gave them the right to do marijuana during their ceremonies in 1996. However, their right was eventually taken away from them under “drug kingpins.” Hindu men drink bhang, a cannabis-infusion, to build a stronger connection with Shiva, their Godly figure. The First Amendment also gives people freedom of speech. However, the FBI and Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA) use selective arrest and prosecution to pro-marijuana advocates. The government has been violating Americans’ free speech and religious freedom when it comes to prohibiting marijuana.
The Fourth Amendments gives Americans privacy and security against unreasonable searches and seizures. However, the police have been known for searching people’s cars and houses if they were even a tiny bit suspicious because of the well-known stereotypes today. Just because a policeman thinks someone looks like they smoke copious amounts of marijuana doesn’t mean that they have the right to unreasonably pull them over and check inside their car.
The Fifth Amendment gives citizens rights if they have been accused of crime and also restricts the government from taking away property without “due process of law.” The Supreme Court has decided that random drug testing is acceptable, which is unconstitutional. The Constitution enforces immunity. State and federal governments have prosecuted drug crimes, which is unconstitutional, because the crime was punished more than once.
The Sixth Amendment gives citizens the right to “speedy public trials.” There have been several court cases that haven’t followed the Constitution. Bryan Epis provided medical marijuana and was offered a plea-bargain for four and a half years. He didn’t accept the bargain and was sentenced to ten years in prison. The Symbionese Liberation Army, on the other hand, admitted they were guilty for the murder of a bank costumer and were sentenced for less than eight years. The court also ruled that defendants do not have the right to mention “medical necessity.” Keith Alden, like Epis, provided medical marijuana and was forced in court. However, Judge Martin Jenkins didn’t mention medicine, illness, medical-marijuana, or California’s medical-marijuana proposition in the court proceedings. Courts take absolutely nothing in consideration when someone is accused of drug crime and make decisions that are unconstitutional according to the Sixth Amendment.
The Seventh Amendment grants citizens the right to “trial by jury.” Marijuana defendants are subject to this right, obviously. However, the court threats marijuana defendants if they plea to the charge. Judges and district attorneys loathe jury trials and manipulate people to give up their constitutional rights, which is a crime in and of itself.
The Eighth Amendment prohibits “excessive bail, fines, and punishments.” People have been sent to jail for a plethora of years, without the possibility of parole, for having a joint. Homes and properties have been seized for growing the plant. That is obviously violating the Eighth Amendment. Murders and rapists rarely get prison for life without parole (LWOP), but marijuana entrepreneurs almost always get LWOP. Prison for life for growing marijuana clearly violates the Constitution and is also violating human rights.
The Ninth Amendment reserves rights to Americans that are not mentioned in the Bill of Rights. The Constitution gives citizens certain rights but does not mean that citizens are limited to those rights. When the Bill of Rights was written, drug rights were not being threatened, so naturally the authors didn’t include the right to get high or do drugs. In 1798, anyone could grow or buy marijuana without being penalized. In 1937, the feds started to tax marijuana because making marijuana illegal would be unconstitutional, and taxation meant control. In 1967, it was criminalized unconstitutionally.
The Tenth Amendment says that any legal powers not granted by the Constitution to the federal government that are not prohibited by the state governments are reserved to the people and the states representing the people. California passed Proposition 215 that allowed medical-marijuana, but the federal government has meddled with California’s internal affairs, which is against the Tenth Amendment. “The federal government, which was supposed to have specifically limited powers, has now become so powerful that it leads to world in prisons, sting operations, secret police, paid informants, aerial surveillance, wiretaps, urine testing, searches, and seizures” (Rosenthal 11).
Prohibiting Marijuana doesn’t only affect citizens’ individual rights guaranteed by the Constitution, but the economy that the citizens’ live in continually declines. By prohibiting marijuana, taxpayers are being cost billions each year in enforcement costs. The economy is also losing money in profits and wages. Marijuana has helped save economically declining areas, like Humboldt County, California. It was California’s most prosperous areas in the 1980’s as land values kept raising because the marijuana’s growers’ spending was supporting other county businesses. When the government formed stricter laws against marijuana, the county began to decline like it was in the 1960’s.
By legalizing marijuana, tax payers could have a new tax revenue steam. “Based on experiences with vice taxes on cigarettes, liquor, and other substances, the federal excise and manufacturing taxes, licenses, and fees could generate about $7 billion a year in revenue for the government including state licenses, taxes, and fees, and these are just directed revenues directed by regulation. Indirect revenues from taxes generated on sales of paraphernalia, from recreational establishments, and from new industries would increase the government’s revenue steam considerably” (Rosenthal 26).
Who wouldn’t want to be a domestic farmer if marijuana farming is 20% of the total farm income? The value of the marijuana crop is about $15 billion to $20 billion each year. Large farms have recently been enclosing, so more farmers should look into selling marijuana because they wouldn’t lose their jobs. Having a marijuana garden of less than 100 feet can earn someone roughly $30,000-$50,000 a year. “‘A few marijuana plants can double my income and increase my net several times,’ said a Wisconsin farmer” (Rosenthal 27). Allowing marijuana farms would save small farms and give people better paying jobs.
Cannabis hemp, the non-psychoactive variety of the plant, is prohibited in order to sustain the marijuana laws. Hemp is consisted of the longest fiber in the plant species and is extremely strong and durable. It could be used for insulations, textiles, clothing, and rope. The fiber and pulp can also produce non-deteriorating paper. The United States is the only industry that prohibits industrial hemp. Yearly, the United States spends $10 billion to $15 billion a year on industrial hemp products. If the United States, however, legalized industrial hemp, we’d be an exporter of the product; not an importer, which would ultimately give us money instead of us wasting copious amounts. After all, George Washington once said “Make the most of the hemp seed. Sow it everywhere.”
The United States hasn’t bee using their money wisely. In 1999, the federal state spent $7.7 billion on sustaining marijuana laws. This money could have been used on more reasonable things, like crimes and terrorism.
It even costs a lot of money to put marijuana users in jail. The Marijuana Policy Project in 1999 determined that “At an average cost per prisoner per year of more than 20,000, the total cost to tax payers of marijuana-related incarceration reaches more than $1.2 billion per year. (This does not include cost of investigating, arresting, and prosecuting the hundreds of thousands of marijuana users arrested every year).” It can cost as high as $450,000 to arrest, prosecute, and jail a one sole drug dealer. Carl Hiassen, a former drug-crime reporter for the Miami Herald, summed it up and said “If you squeeze a balloon in one place, it will pop out somewhere else. Pot’s popularity will not go away … I don’t think it can be controlled … It’s no longer a law enforcement issue; it’s an economic issue.”