Cross-Culture Cannabis


The election is nearly to a close and various political, economic and social issues have been debated, mocked and criticized. With all this controversy, Americans and people around the globe are stressed in this environment where worry passively floats floats through the mind. Many individuals fear their ability to handle  school, work, disease, family and other personal issues, thus turning to methods that many believe are unreasonable for relieving stress or anxiety. Others for instance, understand these methods to be beneficial in their lives. Though these methods are greatly contended, it has always been questioned as to the rights of individuals in their choice of healthcare and simply in their rights to pursuing a recreational hobby.

To stop beating around the bush, the treatment I’m talking about is the cannabis plant, aka marijuana, weed or pot. Although I’m not hear to advocate the use of drugs or “herbal remedies” for whatever purpose, the idea of legalizing pot or at least decriminalizing small time users, would do great things for America and maybe the world. I sometimes wonder if other nations would follow America if they were to legalize weed? Even though some American politicians and states have made progress in lessening the government’s Federal Marijuana Law, there is still a significant DEA force cracking down on marijuana operations (some legal) and business.

The federal government regulates drugs through the Controlled Substances Act, which does not recognize the difference between medical and recreational use of marijuana. These laws are generally applied only against persons who possess, cultivate, or distribute large quantities of marijuana.It is characterized along the same lines as heroin and cocaine. Furthermore, the government views marijuana as highly addictive and having no medical value although government studies have demonstrated that cannabis doesn’t cause permanent harm. (.

Over the past few years, dozens of people have been targets of federal enforcement actions. Many of them have either been arrested or had property seized. More than a hundred are currently in prison or are facing charges or ongoing criminal or civil investigations for their cultivation or distribution of medical marijuana.

While no President will take a stance on the marijuana issue, most likely due to a dramatic hit in reputation (no thanks to the media),it should be something to be considered. Decriminalizing pot would recreate our long lost hemp industry, create jobs and business and most importantly decongest our jails so our tax money can be spent on more important things than locking up small time marijuana users. In 2009, up to 203 million people worldwide and 26 million Americans in 2009 have used marijuana in the past year. Out of that 26 million American users, about 872,000 people were arrested and 600,000 incarcerated for marijuana related offenses. It is astonishing how our government can conceive spending 42 billion dollars on a drug war when we have trillions in debt. It makes no sense. Could it be that our jail system is privatized and corporate institutions want people to be in jail so they can supply the food, clothes and materials that prisoners need and use to work? It is an outlandish claim yet why not speculate?

Although for now America’s drug laws are fixed, we can examine Israel, a country full of history and individuals who respect and follow the bible, whichever it may be. Marijuana and Hashish are illegal and so is any related action (buying, selling, growing, smoking) in Israel.
The Israeli law doesn’t distinguish between different kinds of drugs in terms of severity. However, there is an amount defined by the law as for personal use. In terms of enforcement, the police usually ignore marijuana smokers, but will probably arrest you if you got into any other kind of trouble and was carrying pot. Even though the Israli government recognizes pot as illegal and similar to other illicit substances, the police don’t see it as a major threat and don’t overreact to the lack of danger that’s occurring.

Lebanon on the other hand, used to be one of the world’s leading producers of hashish and Bekaa Valley as one in the cannabis industry, though government eradication has been the tactic since 1992. This destruction of crops hurt the income of many living in these areas and slowed their development as well. Colonel Adel Mashmoushi, head of the Lebanese anti-drug agency promotes the complete decimation of cannabis so it is not looking positive for the citizens in Bekaa valley. Why are most states NOT in favor of decriminalizing or medically legalizing cannabis? Do you believe it will benefit the American or any economy if regulated? Do you think there will be significant marijuana reform in the next 5 years? As Arnold Schwarzenegger puts it,”That is not a drug. It’s a leaf.”

References:

http://safeaccessnow.org/article.php?id=2638

http://www.unodc.org/documents/data-and-analysis/WDR2011/WDR2011-ExSum.pdf

http://informahealthcare.com/doi/abs/10.3109/10826088109038854?journalCode=sum

http://hightimes.com/legal/jgettman/5867

http://hashexpress.wordpress.com/the-hash-express-news-2010/marijuana-prison-statistics/

http://www.eazysmoke.com/marijuana-quotes.htm

http://www.alternet.org/story/64465/the_war_on_pot%3A_america’s_$42_billion_annual_boondoggle

http://stopthedrugwar.org/chronicle/2012/jul/24/lebanon_hash_farmers_attack_erad

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5 thoughts on “Cross-Culture Cannabis

  1. I do agree that the economic impact would be tremendous to the United States if marijuana became legalized.
    One third of all U S states have legalized medical marijuana and 3 states: Oregon , Washington, & California are trying to include the legalization of recreational marijuana on a ballot for the voters this year. Of course, if the citizens pass that, I’m sure there will be some federal interference but at least it’s a start!
    I do think we will see big changes within the next five years.

  2. I think its hilarious that marijuana is only illegal due to business rivalries when hemp first began to grow as an industry in the U.S. and now, decades later it is a drug considered equal to cocaine and heroin under the law. By the way, many approved drugs, mostly pain killers, are derivatives of those drugs and nobody makes a fuss about that. Many non-government sponsored studies have found beneficial qualities in marijuana, including the inhibition of cancer-cell growth, but people are too stubborn to care. They rather drink themselves to death than approve the use of less harmful and far more beneficial plant.

    In my home state, marijuana has been legalized for medical purposes, but the “medicine” is available in many forms, including in chocolates. There has been no negative repercussion to this decision; in fact it has boosted the economy, opening up new types of businesses and new jobs as well as putting previously disabled workers back to work. Unfortunately the federal government started to get involved and cracked down on marijuana farmers there. Even though he does not outwardly support the use of marijuana, Obama wrote a statement, telling the feds to back off and leave prosecutions up to the state. I think the federal government needs to back out of the issue of marijuana use, except for in the cases of trafficking, and leave it up to the people.

  3. Your thoughts on possible reasons why US prisons are filled with petty marijuana cases are very interesting. There is so much corruption in every part of our country, so this is definitely not out of line to think. Due to the recent establishment of legal medical marijuana in some states throughout the US, I think it will definitely be up for debate and of big concern. Even though no current presidential candidate is taking a stance on the issue, I would not be surprised if the issue shows up in the near future. Also, with the tremendous debt our country is facing and the economic state we are currently in, I think many people are looking for a way out and legalizing marijuana might be the answer.

  4. I believe that because many states in the U.S. are slowly decriminalizing marijuana there will be a reform in our lifetime and the time prior to that will be looked upon in a similar way as people see the period of prohibition.

  5. People have been opposed to marijuana based upon beliefs that have been advertised for about the past century with the use of American anti-marijuana propaganda. Common arguments against marijuana are that it causes brain damage and lung cancer. A major contributor to this belief is the 1974 Dr. Heath/ Tulane Study conducted by Ronal Reagan and his National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse proclaimed that from the most reliable scientific sources that permanent brain damage is one of the inevitable results of the use of marijuana. This study was the foundation for the government and other special interest groups claim that marijuana kills brain cells. Information that was not released to the public was how the test was conducted, which was by pumping sixty three Columbian strength joints through a gas mask to monkeys within five minutes over three months. This process suffocated the monkeys without giving them additional oxygen, and one of the first things that will happen during suffocation is the death of brain cells. It was easy for doctors to associate this with marijuana and create a widely believed public view that marijuana causes permanent brain damage. With all the stigmas anti-marijuana propaganda has created it is no wonder that people are in disbelief that such a horrible drug could provide medical benefits. With 10,000 years of marijuana use there has not been one recorded death. Instead its medicinal benefits have been revered and practiced widely up until the 21st century. Cannabis can treat a wide variety of pathologic states and diseases, and if we do not shed the bias and stigma associated with it, we may never learn the true medicinal properties of marijuana. Marijuana should be legalized for medicinal purposes in order to put an end to its continuous discrimination, recognize the success patients have found with using marijuana, and because legal and pharmaceutical drugs are more dangerous.

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