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Marijuana, also known as Cannabis, is a plant which contains the psychoactive chemical THC. In most of the United States, it is currently illegal to possess or consume the drug. It is often used as part of a wedge strategy in politics by both supporters and opponents of its legalization. The purpose of the strategy is to separate people who for health, religious, or other reasons (temporary impairment of motor skills) oppose the use of mind-altering substances from those who argue that citizens should have freedom from government regulation to determine for themselves what substances adults are allowed to ingest.
Marijuana has been illegal in the United States since the Marijuana Tax Act was passed in 1937; it is legal in some countries (e.g. Holland), and legal for specific medicinal use in other countries (e.g. Canada). (can someone put together fuller lists?)
Those who favor its use or legalization are often seen as "hippies" or "stoners", interested only in the substance's entertainment or "high" value, by those who oppose it; such accusations are often used in ad hominem responses to pro-marijuana arguments.
However, there are far more uses for Hemp, a low THC content (less than 1%) cousin of Marijuana which those who are against its legalization fail to realize and accept.
War on Drugs
In the United States of America, a "War on Drugs" has been declared by the government and many civil liberties of the people are being stomped on to enforce this war. Many people have been deprived of their right to liberty, and even life, due to this unjust war.
"Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes." - Abraham Lincoln
"No acute lethal overdoses of cannabis are known, in contrast to several of its illegal (for example, cocaine) and legal (for example, alcohol, aspirin, acetaminophen) counterparts." - Stephen Sidney, M.D., associate director for clinical research at Kaiser Permanente, in an editorial published 9/20/03 in the British Medical Journal (Vol. 327, pp. 635-635)
"Unlike many of the drugs we prescribe every day, marijuana has never been proven to cause a fatal overdose." - Joycelyn Elders, M.D., former U.S. Surgeon General, in a 3/26/04 editorial published in Rhode Island's Providence Journal
"The estimated lethal human dose of intravenous Marinol is 30 mg/kg (2100 mg/70 kg). Using this estimation of lethal dose, the equivalent inhaled THC would represent the smoking of 240 cannabis cigarettes with total systemic absorption of the average 8.8 mg of THC in each cigarette.
"Since absorption is much less than 100 percent, the amount of smoked marijuana required to reach lethality is on the order of one to two thousand cigarettes.
"The physical impossibility of a fatal overdose using smoked cannabis is obvious." - Denis Petro, M.D., in his 1997 paper "Pharmacology and Toxicity of Cannabis", published in the book "Cannabis in Medical Practice - A Legal, Historical and Pharmacological Overview of the Therapeutic Use of Marijuana", pg 62
"Marijuana has been used as a medicinal herb for thousands of years, going back to ancient civilizations in Egypt, India and Africa. In all that time, up to and including the present day, there has never been a report of a fatality directly due to the consumption of marijuana.
"In contrast, over 1,000 people die annually in the US from an overdose of our most common non-prescription drug, aspirin. In addition, many thousands of deaths result from the legal prescription drugs.
"After hearing two year's worth of evidence on the presumed dangers of marijuana, DEA Judge Francis L. Young said this: 'marijuana is the safest therapeutically active substance known to man ... safer than many foods we commonly consume.'" - Bill Zimmerman, Executive Director of Americans for Medical Rights
"Drugs used in medicine are routinely given what is called an LD-50. The LD-50 rating indicates at what dosage 50% of test animals receiving a drug will die as a result of drug induced toxicity...
"At present it is estimated that marijuana's LD-50 is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000. In layman terms this means in order to induce death, a smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette.
"NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately 0.9 grams. A smoker would have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about 15 minutes to induce a lethal response. In practical terms, marijuana cannot induce a lethal response as a result of drug-related toxicity." - Judge Francis L. Young wrote in a 1988 decision
"A commonly used over-the-counter product like aspirin has a therapeutic ratio of around 1:20. Two aspirins are the recommended dose for adult patients. Twenty times this dose, forty aspirins, may cause a lethal reaction in some patients and will almost certainly cause gross injury to the digestive system...
"By contrast, marijuana's therapeutic ratio... is impossible to quantify because it is so high." - Judge Francis L. Young wrote in a 1988 decision
"No one has ever died of THC [marijuana] poisoning, mostly because a 160-lb. person would have to smoke roughly 900 joints in a sitting to reach a lethal dose." - Time Magazine in a Nov. 4, 2002 cover story
"Death by overdose isn’t the only danger that drugs present, but it is one important measure.
"In fact, a study conducted by Kaiser Permanente from 1979-1985 with a follow-up in 1991 found no correlation between marijuana use and death, evidence that even heavy marijuana use for decades does not appear to be associated with major health risks, whereas heavy alcohol users will develop cirrhosis and other potentially fatal conditions." - David Borden, Executive Director of The Drug Reform Coordination Network, wrote MedMJpro/con
"Marijuana is rarely the only drug involved in a drug abuse death. Thus, in most cases, the proportion of marijuana-involved cases labeled as ‘One drug’ (i.e., marijuana only) will be zero or nearly zero." - The Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) report, “Mortality Data From Dawn, 2000,” published 7/01 by the Office of Applied Studies, Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), page 25. Marijuana shold be legalized because people could use it as a medicine o just to get high and have a good time.