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Arnold Jay Hodges

In 1987, Supreme Court nominee Douglas Ginsburg lost the nomination because

he admitted to trying Marijuana. In 1992, then Governor Bill Clinton famously said:

“When I was in England, I experimented with marijuana a time or two, and I didn't like

it. I didn't inhale, and never tried it again.” Fast forward to 2006, while on Chris

Matthews’s show our current President Barrack Obama admitted that he had in fact

smoked and “inhaled” marijuana frequently as a youngster. Although President Obama

has made it clear he does not support the legalization of marijuana he has said, he

believes the government needs to rethink how they operate in the drug wars because they

are not doing a good job. This consecution above indicates that as the times are changing

so are peoples perceptions or received notions about smoking marijuana.

The legalization of marijuana is a controversial topic however I believe the pros

outweighs the cons. When considering legalizing marijuana, there are many economic,

health, and social issues that need to be taken in account. Also to truly understand the

pros and the cons it’s necessary to view the issue’s origin, how it came about or what

were the reasons behind marijuana being prohibited initially?

As I researched for information that would support my belief of why marijuana

should be legal I began with the question; why was marijuana prohibited? In my attempt

to find the answer to this question I was lead to Harry Anslinger the first director the

Federal Bureau of Narcotics and William Randolph Hearst, an American newspaper

magnate and leading newspaper publisher. Anslinger was an extremely ambitious man,

and he recognized the Bureau of Narcotics as an amazing career opportunity. Hearst too

had his own personal reasons for joining sides with Anslinger in the fight to prohibit

marijuana; one being that he invested heavily in the timber industry to support his
Arnold Jay Hodges
newspaper chain and didn't want to see the development of hemp paper in competition.

Although they were the ring leaders in the fight to illegalize marijuana they weren’t the

only interested parties. Hemp seed oil derivatives could replace DuPont's petroleum

derived compounds, so of course the DuPonts, of DuPont plastic fame, joined the fight in

illegalizing marijuana. In the 1930s, Hearst, who owned newspapers all over the country,

started publishing sensationalist-type "news" stories about marijuana use. These stories,

were written by Hearst or Anslinger himself and they talked about "insanity, criminality,

and death" caused by smoking marijuana however none of these stories were based on

fact. The intense propaganda and campaign led to anti-marijuana laws in many states.

To my understanding due to the exaggerated stories about marijuana use of a few

interested parties the prohibition of marijuana was applied to policy.

With the current recession President Barrack Obama has stated the economy is the

most important issue that he believes will define his legacy. I read an article about

Economist Stephen T. Easton’s attempt to calculate how much tax revenue the Canadian

government would gain by legalizing marijuana. Although his study was strictly

confined to Canada I do believe it’s a perfect model of how the legalization of marijuana

would generate tax revenue overall. The study estimates that the average price of 0.5

grams (a unit) of marijuana sold for $8.60 on the street, while its cost of production was

only $1.70 producing a $6.90 profit for a unit of marijuana. Stephen T. Easton argues that

if marijuana was legalized, we could transfer these excess profits caused by the risk-

premium from these grow operations to the government. Legalizing marijuana would

generate revenue creating a new industry providing the economy with the stimulus we

could use in this recession.

Arnold Jay Hodges
“You can get killed walking down the street,” was the saying my stepfather (who

was a chain cigarette smoker) would say to anyone who would say the cliché statement,

“you know smoking kills.” My reason of mentioning this is for the people who say you

shouldn’t legalize marijuana because it can kill you; well there are a lot of legal things in

the world that can kill you. According to the United States government, National

Institute on Drug Abuse, Bureau of Mortality Statistics the annual American deaths

caused by drugs while tobacco was at the top of the list with 400,000, marijuana was at

the bottom with zero. Like any substance, marijuana can be abused. The most common

problem attributed to marijuana is frequent overuse, which can induce sluggish behavior

but does not cause serious health problems.

Driven by the Drug War, the U.S. prison population is six to ten times as high as

most Western European nations. According to some legalization of marijuana websites in

2000, more than 734,000 people were arrested in this country for marijuana-related

offenses alone. Knowing this fact, what we have are young people going to prison for

simple possession and getting out more experienced criminals. To compare it to the

prohibition of alcohol on society I believe would be relevant. The Prohibitionists hoped

the crime rate would decrease due to the decrease in consumption of alcohol, especially

in large cities. Although at the beginning of Prohibition this purpose seemed to be

accomplished, the crime rate soon shot to nearly twice that of the pre-prohibition period.

Minor crimes such as swearing, mischief, and vagrancy decreased but the more serious

crimes like homicides, assault, and battery, increased nearly 13 percent. The Legalization

of marijuana would have a positive effect on society because it would decrease the crime

Arnold Jay Hodges
Although there are pros and cons to the legalization of marijuana I strongly feel

that the pros outweigh the cons. The legalization could stimulate the economy, decrease

the crime rate and it’s not deadly or doesn’t cause extreme health hazards. To legalize

marijuana and treat it as a controlled substance is sensible it would be a prudent decision.

Part II

Webster’s dictionary defines drugs as substances other than food intended to

affect the structure or function of the body that causes addiction, habituation, or a marked

change in consciousness. The idea of legalizing marijuana is not only immoral but it’s

suggesting that the government promotes drug use. Understandably alcohol is a drug and

it’s legal, cigarettes are highly addictive drugs and they’re legal not to mention so many

others legal drugs, but legalizing marijuana is adding fuel to fire that we could struggle

for years to put out. Legalizing marijuana may not be creating problems but it would

intensify problems that we already face with controlled substances.

“Cause I was already a smoker, it was easy to get addicted. The one thing that

they don't teach you about marijuana is how addictive it is.”

Merle Haggard-

Marijuana is known as the gateway drug, in which by theory means the habitual

use of it may lead to a future risk of using more dangerous drugs and crime. The idea that

legalizing marijuana would lead to less crime is moronic and on the contrary we’d see an

increase in crimes. In relation to driving while under the influence, alcohol is already

responsible for about 10 to 15 thousand deaths a year with the legalization of marijuana

this number would increase because the affect that marijuana has on your body will affect
Arnold Jay Hodges
your ability to drive. Marijuana slows reflexes which make it difficult for drivers to

respond to sudden, unexpected events also it has a negative affect on a driver’s ability to

stay in lane and this could impair you for at least four to six hours. Considering how

many traffic deaths and how many people are arrested for driving under the influence,

already due to alcohol I can only see this total increasing with the legalization of


Smoking in general causes problems to your body that could be detrimental to

your health in the long run. Marijuana smoke has been found to contain more cancer-

causing agents than tobacco smoke and if used for a number of years may in deed cause

cancer. Also many marijuana users also smoke cigarettes combining both effects of

smoking these two substances creates an even greater health risk. Marijuana causes your

heart rate to increase as much as 50 percent, depending on the amount of THC. It can

cause chest pain in people who have a poor blood supply to the heart. In addition to the

physical dependence long-term regular users of marijuana may become psychologically

dependent. They may have a hard time limiting their use, they may need more of the drug

to get the same effect, and they may develop problems with their jobs and personal

relationships. Some studies suggest marijuana may have a negative effect on your

reproductive system resulting in a temporary lost of fertility and if used during pregnancy

could produce a premature birth and low birth rates. A common bad reaction to marijuana

is the "acute panic anxiety reaction." People describe this reaction as an extreme fear of

"losing control," which causes panic. The symptoms usually disappear in a few hours.
Arnold Jay Hodges
It’s obvious even considering legalizing marijuana is a bad idea and could result

in problems to our society, to our health, and to our environment. We’re fighting a war

on drugs legalizing marijuana would be helping the enemy. We have organized

campaigns against cigarettes, alcohol, and illegal substances but legalizing marijuana is

taking two steps backwards.

Part III

"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. A

prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was

founded." Abraham Lincoln, December 1840.

In my argument against legalizing marijuana I took the approach legalizing

marijuana would be wrong because it’s morally wrong and instead of focusing on

marijuana specifically being illegal I added all drugs of recreation should be illegal such

as cigarettes, alcohol, etc... This point of view I disagree with based on the fact that

we’re dealing with policy putting into law what people are and aren’t allowed to do.

Drugs are bad for a person but I do believe disabling a person to make the choice on

what’s good or bad for them personally is just as wrong.

There are more serious crimes out there that are caused by more serious drugs and

just more serious issues. Marijuana is not a drug that people use and get violent or go on

rampages and kill a lot of people. I’ve never heard of a story about marijuana being the

reason a person goes off and kills innocent people not saying there isn’t any just saying

I’ve never heard of it. Smoking marijuana is a personal decision I believe because it
Arnold Jay Hodges
affects one person. With every commercial I see with a campaign against marijuana I

only see one person being affected and that’s the individual who smokes. The

government making illegal this drug that only affects the individual and isn’t putting

citizens in harms way is wrong and should be corrected. Laws are rules and regulations

place in a society to promote structure and to protect the rights of the individuals of the

society and because legalizing marijuana doesn’t contest or violate the rights I don’t

believe it should be a law illegalizing it.

Something I strongly believe is marijuana would be less an issue if it was legal.

I know there are restrictions on legal substances that I believe could be applied to

marijuana such as age, however, the substance is still legal. Driving under the influence is

a law in itself that doesn’t just apply to alcohol it also applies to prescription drugs or

anything that will alter your driving abilities. I don’t believe marijuana will increase this

number because people drive under the influence already and it’s not a number that is

based on the availability of a drug but it’s dependant on the person making a responsible


I still believe legalizing marijuana would help to stimulate the economy, I’m sure

it would have little effect if any on the crime rate, and it maybe unhealthy but that’s not a

reason it should be outlawed. If we outlawed everything that was unhealthy for us we

would be saying bye to McDonald’s and Burger King and to the revenue that the fast

food restaurants bring in. I understand reason’s behind why marijuana should be legal I

still don’t quite understand why it shouldn’t be.

Arnold Jay Hodges