Outline Legalizing Marijuana
Specific purpose: To
persuade my audience that marijuana is not harmful and the US should not more
strictly enforce federal marijuana laws.
It has a fascinating history on its own. Marijuana can date back to around 500
B.C. where it was likely used as a herbal medicine in Asia. Ironically, in
present day, it has become illegal on a federal level, and punishable by law to
possess, or use. It has transformed into a hot political topic, and has
resulted in ferocious debate all over the country, and even globally. With all
the talk about this, you might be wondering, is marijuana the corrupt and
harmful drug that the media, and the government depict it out to be? A threat
to our society and our youth? Or is it a plant, capable of easing the pain of
the sick, rejuvenating the weary, and bringing ease and relief to our stressful
prisons are spending way too much money incarcerating marijuana users. It is
also taking up a lot of prison space that could be used for more important
things. According to the American Civil Liberties Union, “The costs of
this national obsession, in both money and time, are astonishing. Each year,
enforcing laws on possession costs more than $3.6 billion”. According to the
FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Reports, “of the 1,488,707 arrests for drug law
violations in 2015, 83.9% (1,249,025) were for mere possession of a controlled
substance. Only 16.1% (239,682) were for the sale or manufacturing of a drug.
Further, the majority (43.2%) of drug arrests in 2015 were for marijuana — a
total of 643,121.
Marijuana is not all as dangerous as people make it
out to be. According to Leslie Iverson, British pharmacologist, “Tetrahydrocannabinol
is a very safe drug. Laboratory animals (rats, mice, dogs, monkeys) can
tolerate doses of up to 1,000 mg/kg (milligrams per kilogram).” Also, contrary to popular belief, there are
very few if any confirmed instances of people dying from a marijuana overdose.
In Britain, official government statistics listed five deaths from cannabis in
the period 1993-1995 but on closer examination these proved to have been deaths
due to inhalation of vomit that could not be directly attributed to cannabis
(House of Lords Report, 1998). By comparison with other commonly used
recreational drugs these statistics are impressive.
Compared to a lot of other legal gateway drugs, such
as alcohol or tobacco, marijuana has little negative impact on declining health
factors and can prove to be beneficial. According to Boffey, (NY Times) an independent
scientific committee in Britain compared 20 drugs in 2010 for the harms they
caused to individual users and to society as a whole through crime, family
breakdown, and other social ills. Adding up all the damage, the panel estimated
that alcohol was the most harmful drug, followed by heroin and crack cocaine.
Marijuana ranked eighth, having slightly more than one-fourth the harm of
alcohol. So why is alcohol legal and widely used, yet marijuana is still barred
Regulation is key to gaining a
hold on the drug “problem”. If marijuana remains illegal, there will
still be the following problems that occur:
– Underground markets will still be opened and controlled by
drug cartels. This could lead to more problems within the walls of Mexico and
even be brought across to our borders.
– Government spending can be better issued on other things as
right now the funding is currenty being wasted. People have been trying for so
long, and you simply can’t win the “Drug War”. People will always run
to drugs, and will always find a way to seek it no matter the costs. Expending
money on a war that can’t be won is useless, and could be more beneficial if
weed legalization were given a chance.
The negative health effects influenced by Marijuana have
shown to be very minimal, and has been proven to be less harmful then
cigarettes and alcohol. We as a nation need to understand that by keeping
something, that grows naturally in nature, with minimal negative health
impacts, and with such high demand by today’s population, we are inhibiting our
nations market growth.
Convincing the government to work towards Marijuana legalization
in the U.S. will eliminate the underground market for marijuana, and bring about
new opportunities in the job market, eliminate marijuana related crimes, lessen
the amount of people incarcerated for minor marijuana related offenses,
increase tax revenue for states, and make our cities safer from cartels.
Marijuana is not as bad of a drug
as people make it out to be and people should not be so harshly punished for being
in possession of it/ using the substance.
We need to work towards lesser
harsh marijuana regulation laws and strive for complete legalization of
It will take a lot of effort and
contacting governmental officials to fight for legalization of marijuana all around,
but in the long run, it will benefit the U.S. economy and make it a safer
“Marijuana in its natural form is one of the safest
therapeutically active substances known to man. By any measure of rational
analysis marijuana can be safely used within a supervised routine of medical
care… It would be unreasonable, arbitrary and capricious for DEA to contunie to
stand between those sufferers and the benefits of this substance in light of
the evidence in this record.”
DEA Chief Administrative Law Judge Francis L. Young,
Ruling in the matter of Marijuana Rescheduling Petition, September 6, 1988
We must take affirmative action to fight
for milder federal laws as a stepping stone and full marijuana legalization as
We need to spread the word. Send
letters to your U.S. senators and representative, using MPP.org ‘s (Marijuana Policy Project) free and
easy automated system. And to take action on the state level, visit their State
Policy page to choose your state, to learn
marijuana-related legislation in your state, and to
contact your state legislators.
C. Get involved. Work to get your city council to pass an ordinance making
marijuana offenses the city’s lowest law enforcement priority. If you’re a college student, join Students for Sensible Drug
Policy (SSDP). Visit SSDP’s website to
learn about starting a chapter at your school or joining an existing one.
“Crime in the United States 2015 – Arrests,”
FBI Uniform Crime Report (Washington, DC: US Dept. of Justice, September 2015),
p. 1, and Arrest Table: Arrests for Drug Abuse Violations.
Iversen, Leslie L., PhD, FRS, “The Science of
Marijuana” (London, England: Oxford University Press, 2000), p. 178,
citing House of Lords, Select Committee on Science and Technology,
“Cannabis — The Scientific and Medical Evidence” (London, England:
The Stationery Office, Parliament, 1998).
New York Times, “The Injustice of Marijuana
Arrests,” By Jesse Wegman, July 28, 2014.
The New York Times, “What Science Says About
Marijuana,” by Philip M. Boffey, July 30, 2014.
Policy. “Take Action.” MPP, www.mpp.org/takeaction/.