This I Believe

James - Arkansas
Entered on October 24, 2007

Are You High?

What kind of government allows the legalization of a drug that kills 100,000 people a year but does not allow the distribution or use of another drug that has only been attributed to one death in the entire history of the United States? The answer: a government that’s saving all the toking for themselves. Are they high? I believe so. I believe the legalization of marijuana and the prohibition of alcohol would ideally be the best move for America in the contemporary world of drugs.

Alcohol kills an approximate 100,000 people a year in the United States alone. The statistics are staggering. Every thirty minutes, someone dies in a drunk driving accident; every five minutes someone dies from an alcohol related death; every day 244 people that meant the world to someone else are killed in alcohol related incidents. The sheer death toll is almost as impressive as the percent statistic on alcohol. An astounding 30 percent of all deaths in the United States by fire or flame are attributed to alcohol. Scariest of all is homicides relation to alcohol: 60 percent of all homicides are alcohol related. The statistics for marijuana are slightly less staggering. In the history of the United States, one documented case of death marijuana exists, and that was when a heavy load of the illicit drug fell on top of a man and crushed him to death. So statistically the worst thing about marijuana is its weight. Can alcohol say the same? Ask yourself.

If the statistics don’t do it for you, what about some first hand experience? Though it may be incriminating to say, I have had copious amounts of first hand experience with both of these substances. I have friends that drink alcohol on a regular basis and I have friends that smoke marijuana on a regular basis. The only difference between those two groups of friends is that my friends that smoked marijuana are all still alive. My school in Arizona was an infested hive for both alcohol and marijuana. Not once did you hear about a death by marijuana. Instead, we heard about the five students a year that died due to the effects of alcohol. Though this number seems small, the chances are that if a person went to high school with these people, you have at least met them and in turn are affected by their death. I have been on the receiving end of the effects of both of these drugs several times, and no matter how I cut it, alcohol has always impaired me worse. The main difference in impairment with these two drugs is that alcohol impairs movement, making it difficult to be coordinated at all, while marijuana merely slows reaction times and lets the smoker retain their coordination. I’ve injured myself while drinking several times, but not once have I ever injured myself while I was high. This holds true with almost everyone I know.

The ill effects of alcohol are readily documented and easy to find as the government sees no possible decline in the clientele tax base for alcohol and therefore finds no need to distort the information on liquor. Alcohol destroys the liver, plain and simple. Logically thinking, the function of the liver is to detoxify the body. Alcohol goes straight through the liver on a mandatory stop through the bodily tract. Putting two and two together, this writer can only conclude that if alcohol’s automatic destination in the body is the liver, then alcohol is a toxin. Alcohol is also a depressant, making the term “happy drunk” an almost paradoxical phrase, at best. After the initial euphoria of alcohol wears off, if the inebriated is not yet sleeping, the alcohol makes the above mentioned a miserable and undesirable conversationalist (an experience I have no desire to repeat). Alcohol has a correlation with respiratory and circulatory system illnesses as well as a pension for creating something that is commonly known as a “beer belly”. To add insult to injury, alcohol tricks your body into thinking it wants more, making alcohol a physically addicting substance with a high risk of dependency.

Marijuana inhibits the short term memory. That’s it. This may seem like an enormous negative effect, but in truth and reality, it is not. Short term memory loss due to marijuana usage is easily reversed by simply playing a regular game of chess or doing crosswords or Sudoku. These are the same remedies created to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s and it has been proven that they work. Though, once again, incriminating, my short term memory loss is minimal at worst. I was a heavy smoker. Honestly, how can marijuana even be considered that bad if the effects of marijuana are reversible?

On the positive side of marijuana, a sense of euphoria is created without creating a physical dependency on the drug. Experts have found that marijuana expands the lungs and makes the body’s airways open up causing a healthier and deeper breath. Marijuana increases the pain threshold and relaxes the body. What say you? You’ve never found such great information about marijuana before? I’ll tell my audience why. The government has hidden it or created discrepancies in the common data pool we like to call the internet. Find any government website and it will tell you this: marijuana is bad for you. Marijuana smoke in one joint is the same as smoking five cigarettes. Marijuana is directly related to lung cancer. Find any organization website, however, and find the privately funded research results and the results are very different. The privately funded research groups found no data that supports the statement that marijuana is worse for you than cigarettes or that it has any relation to lung cancer.

Why is it that there are such great discrepancies in the data about marijuana? Isn’t it the government’s responsibility to show us the objective truth about marijuana? Shouldn’t the government and privately funded research groups be yielding the same results? I can tell you what I believe to be the answer to all of these questions: taxes. The government doesn’t want the people to know the good about marijuana because there is no way to tax such an easily grown herb. The government yields different results in their tests because they know that the people are dependent on the government and that all too many of the people readily accept the spoon fed lies that the government tells them. Why is marijuana illegal, when it is so blatantly obvious that there are worse things on the market? Why is alcohol legal if the effects are so horrible? At this point I will direct my reader’s attention to the incompetency and greed of the government.

Alcohol is not a readily available substance to the public. A certain expertise and lots of machinery are needed to make alcohol, and the government can thus control and tax this industry. Marijuana, however, can grow anywhere, making it, in a sense, as easy to cultivate as a garden tomato. Marijuana, in this respect, can avoid government taxation. This is the sole reason why marijuana is illegal and alcohol is not. It has nothing to do with the fact that the government cares about the people or is concerned for their safety. It’s all about the money. I believe this is wrong, irresponsible, immoral, despicable and any number of adjectives expressing negativity. I believe the legalizations of marijuana and alcohol should be switched, if nothing more than to save the lives of those 100,000 people a year.