Pubdate: Sat, 6 Jun 2009
Source: News Tribune, The (Tacoma, WA)
Copyright: 2009 Tacoma News Inc.
Author: Ian Barry, Peninsula High School student
Note: From MAP: This is the speech referenced in the article 
"Student's Marijuana Speech Ends With Flourish - and Trip to Jail"
Bookmark: (Students - United States)
Bookmark: (Marijuana)


Can I see a show of hands how many people here have ever smoked 
Cannabis sativa, commonly known as marijuana? I see none of you 
raised your hand. Well obviously no one would want to admit to a 
criminal activity in front of their teacher. But why is it that 
smoking pot is so taboo in our society? After all numerous famous 
intellectuals support marijuana. Al Gore is considered by many to be 
the leading figure in climate change awareness and environmental 
preservation. But few people know that Al Gore also supports the 
legalization of marijuana. The famed German philosopher Freidrich 
Nietzche once said, "If one seeks relief from unbearable pressure one 
is to eat hashish". The founding father of our nation George 
Washington, said, "Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it 
everywhere!" Marijuana is one of the safest medicinal substances on 
the planet and is supported by many acclaimed celebrity role models. 
Famous Hollywood actor Johnny Depp says, "I'm not a big pothead or 
anything like that... but weed is much, much less dangerous than 
alcohol". Other well known supporters of marijuana include Snoop 
Dogg, all of the Marley family, Niel Young, Willie Nelson, Michael 
Phelps, Chris Farley, Al Gore, Andrew Jackson, Abraham Lincoln, 
Nietzche, Barack Obama, John Adams, James Madison, JFK, and of course 
myself. A total of 11 United States presidents either grew, smoked, 
or supported the legalization of Marijuana. With the support of some 
of the greatest thinkers and world leaders of all time it's a wonder 
that marijuana is still illegal. "Government ties is really why the 
government lies"   Immortal Technique. Common Misconceptions about 
marijuana are set about by high end government officials who think 
only of themselves and own their prosperity. For instance few people 
know the history of weed and the means by which it was criminalized.

Most of you have probably seen "Reefer Madness", the ridiculous 
propaganda film set about by the U.S. government to discourage the 
use of marijuana. The movie debuted in 1936 making arbitrary claims, 
calling Cannabis "The devils weed", and stating that weed is more 
dangerous that cocaine or opium. This was the outlook of the 
government at the turn of the century, but in fact pot was smoked as 
early as 2700 BC, in China. In 500 AD marijuana spread to Europe and 
Africa where it was cultivated and smoked for its medicinal 
qualities. By 1545 marijuana had been introduced to the New World 
where it was grown as a cash crop alongside tobacco and cotton. Sold 
in bars throughout the Americas pot was seen as tobaccos little 
brother. It is reported that several of our founding fathers 
including Benjamin Franklin and George Washington smoked ganja out of 
water hookahs with Turkish emissaries shortly after the revolutionary 
war. After this experience both Franklin and Washington began to grow 
weed for themselves. At the turn of the 20th century marijuana began 
to gain popularity and by the 1920's was the drug of choice for 
America's youth. Historians say this popularity is what led to its 
prohibition. But history itself tells a different story. Whenever 
something be-it and idea, substance, or social behavior, becomes 
popular, American companies brand and market it for all it's worth. 
Take for example punk rock which originally was a counterculture but 
through marketing was assimilated into mainstream society. So why is 
it that the same fate was not suffered by marijuana, why was it made illegal?

In 1937 the first official action was taken against weed, the 
Marihuana Tax Act. The act itself did not criminalize the possession 
of cannabis but levied a tax on anyone dealing the substance. This 
didn't just mean the buds anything with hemp or hemp oil in it was 
essentially taxed out of business. A legitimate dealer was required 
to have a tax stamp but no stamps were ever printed. These over 
elaborate regulations prevented marijuana from being a profitable 
source of income. In reference to the International Opium Convention 
of 1928 Cannabis sativa was considered a drug and all state 
governments had some kind of laws against its consumption. Today it 
is generally accepted that these hearings included incorrect, 
excessive, and unfounded arguments. The Marijuana Tax Act was 
introduced to the U.S. congress by "Drug Czar" Harry Anslinger, a man 
who had no sense of morals and may have had NPD (narcissistic 
personality disorder), not to mention his pig faced features. 
Anslinger is where the conspiracy starts. 1937, the year the tax act 
was passed, was coincidentally the same year that the Decorticater 
Machine was invented, with this new technology the hemp industry 
would have been able to take over competing industries virtually 
overnight. "Popular Mechanics" predicted that hemp would be America's 
first billion dollar crop. William Hearst, a corporate business 
owner, possessed enormous acreage of forest. His land and paper 
making company would have lost tremendous value and eventually gone 
bankrupt had the tax act not been passed. Hearst reportedly had 
strong influence in Congress and his interest in preventing hemp 
production is easily explained. DuPont, a chemical company that was 
involved in other industries, also had a hand in the conspiracy. At 
the time of the Marihuana Tax Act DuPont was patenting a new acid 
process for producing wood pulp based paper. With the boom of the 
hemp industry this invention would have been useless. DuPont was also 
in the railroad car industry. According to their own records wood 
pulp products accounted for 80% of all DuPont's railroad car loadings 
for the 50 years prior to 1937. 80% of all their profits would have 
been lost with a hemp takeover. Two years earlier, in 1935, DuPont 
developed nylon, a substitute for hemp rope. Nylon was equal in 
strength and quality but with the Decorticater Machine would not have 
been cost effective when sold alongside hemp. Even with hemp 
eliminated nylon was not extremely profitable.

The year after the tax was passed DuPont came out with rayon, a very 
cost effective fiber that would not have been able to compete with 
the strength and durability of hemp. Harry Anslinger, the man who 
proposed the Marihuana Tax Act, was also a CEO of DuPont, and would 
have stood to loose millions had marijuana not been driven out of 
business. Anslinger, who was married to Treasury Secretary Andrew 
Mellon's niece, was appointed to lead the FBN (Federal Bureau of 
Narcotics). It's widely believed that his relationship with Mellon is 
what earned him the promotion. Harry Anslinger's first action as 
commissioner was to pass the Marijuana Tax Act. Reasoning behind 
Anslinger, Hearst, and DuPont was for no moral or medical issues. 
They fought to criminalize marijuana to save their business and to 
save money. It's simply another example of capitalist pigs taking 
advantage of their power and manipulating the law for personal gain. 
Marijuana continued to be present in society throughout the 40's and 
50's. During this time it came to be associated with the rise of rock 
n' roll. The hippi movement of the 1960's and 70's was largely 
involved in experimental drug use. Artists such as The Beatles and 
Jimi Hendrix experimented with drugs like acid and heroin. Their fans 
followed suit but Mary Jane remained America's drug of choice. The 
increased support of the environmentalist movement also supported the 
use of weed. Hemp can be made into paper that is equivalent to paper 
made from trees, without destroying the rainforests. After all the 
first, third and final drafts of the Declaration of Independence were 
all written on hemp paper. At anti-Vietnam protests many people could 
be seen smoking pot. This fueled the idea that marijuana should be 
legal, and in the late 60's the first serious calls for legalization were made.

In 1975 weed supporters around the United States celebrated a victory 
as Alaska decriminalized the use and possession of small amounts of 
Cannabis. Until, in 1990, residents voted to recriminalize the 
substance. During those 15 years Alaska prospered and its economy was 
the highest it had been in years. Calling it a "dangerous experiment" 
the DEA's stated reason for the recriminalization was that "teenagers 
used marijuana at twice the national average". I think it's pretty 
obvious that when a substance is legalized it will be used more than 
when it was illegal. Had we kept the same policy throughout history 
alcohol should have been recriminalized shortly after the repealing 
of the 18th amendment due to an increase in alcohol consumption. 
Several other countries have attempted various forms of legalizing 
drugs, in the Netherlands marijuana is illegal but under certain 
restrictions its consumption is allowed. The coffee shops of 
Amsterdam are renowned worldwide as a pot-smokers Mecca. Coffee shops 
are allowed to sell under 5 grams of marijuana as long as it is 
smoked on the premises. One of the opposition's most acclaimed 
arguments is that legalizing marijuana will lead to an increase in 
crime rates. The only way to prove this theory is through real life 
experience. The only domestic experience we have with legalized pot 
was in Alaska in the 70's and 80's. Government analysis showed that 
there was no change in the crime rate for these years. All other 
claims about the marijuana-crime correlation are mere speculation. 
The fact is that Amsterdam has a lower crime rate than any major U.S. 
city. One could argue that the Alaskan experiment actually benefited 
the crime rate. As a whole, the national crime rate went up from 1975 
to 1990, while Alaska's remained the same.

Other Cannabis antagonists look to Switzerland's Needle Park 
experiment to justify marijuana's legal status. People in Needle Park 
were allowed to openly purchase and use drugs without police 
intervention. The idea was to give addicts a "clean and safe" 
environment to inject heroin. To compare this with legalizing 
marijuana is absolutely absurd. First, in terms of classification 
marijuana and heroin are completely different. Heroin is a level five 
highly addictive drug that causes long term brain damage as well as 
damage to the central nervous system. A heroin addict will experience 
collapsed veins, infection of the heart lining, abscesses, and liver 
disease. Not to mention second hand use of needles often leads to 
full blown accounts of AIDS. Marijuana on the other hand has its own 
category and no proven health detriments. The results of Needle Park 
cannot be compared to those of legalizing marijuana. Your parents 
have probably told you that smoking pot causes lung cancer and brain 
damage. Unfortunately they were probably teenagers in the 70's and 
smoked pot themselves so their very objection to weed is extremely 
hypocritical. The U.S. government provides facts and statistics that 
seem to demonstrate the pernicious nature of marijuana. Let's take a 
look at the so called facts that the DEA claims are results of the 
habitual smoking of Cannabis sativa. First, and I quote, "Marijuana 
is an addictive drug". That my friends is an outright lie. All 
clinical studies including those conducted by the government have 
concluded that marijuana contains no addictive properties. A person 
can become chemically dependent on the drug but that is radically 
different than an addiction. Another study regulated by the 
government studied 182 "random" fatal truck accidents. It just so 
happened that in these "random" accidents marijuana was present in as 
many of the drivers as alcohol. The National Transportation Safety 
Board then determined that marijuana is just as dangerous as alcohol 
while driving. The reasoning behind this argument has more than 
several flaws. First of all marijuana can stay in a persons system 
for more than 2 weeks, there is no way to tell that the drivers were 
high at the time of their accidents. Now I'm not an expert but I know 
that 182 is not a large enough number to be considered reliable 
research. To study 182 of 5 1/4 million accidents, .0034%, and make 
apocryphal claims based on that research shows ineptitude beyond that 
of any man disposed to devout his life to a hierarchy of pious 
infidels who understand nothing of the nature and complexity of life.

Other major concerns of consuming marijuana are lung and brain 
damage, as well as memory loss. According to the UCLA School of 
Medicine "marijuana does not impair long term memory". Weed can cause 
short term memory loss but only while under the influence, the same 
can be said for alcohol and many over the counter sleeping 
medications. Brain damage that does occur is not because of any 
chemical property in ganja, but because the brain is deprived of 
oxygen for so long that brain cells are killed. For any self 
acclaimed pot smoker that's an easy fix, just don't hold your hits in 
for so long. One of the studies that is referred to the most was 
performed on monkeys in which they suffered severe brain damage. It 
was only until recently in careful review of the study that we 
discovered that the monkeys were breathing pure THC for over a 
minute, that lack of oxygen is what killed the brain cells, not the 
marijuana. The other substantial health concern is over lung 
function. Also according to the UCLA School of Medicine "neither the 
continuing nor intermittent marijuana smokers exhibited any 
significantly different rates of lung function as compared to those 
individuals who never smoked marijuana". The study was conducted on 
243 pot smokers over an 8 year period. Another of the governments' 
critical expostulations against legalizing marijuana is that 
pharmaceutical companies have developed a synthetic THC pill called 
Marinol. But Marinol is substantially different than marijuana. 
First, it's not real THC; there is not one part of the Cannabis 
sativa plant in Marinol. It's a bunch of chemicals that some 
scientist mixes up in a lab. Second Marinol is only available through 
prescription, so it's incontrovertibly not the same as legalizing 
marijuana. Not only is it very hard to obtain a prescription, the 
requirements exclude nearly everyone. You must either be a cancer 
patient who underwent chemotherapy or be an AIDS patient who has 
appetite loss. Both diseases have no cure and are generally fatal. So 
the government won't let you take Marinol unless you have a virtual 
death sentence. If I have a malignant disease I'm not going to take 
the time to get a government prescription, I'm going to smoke the 
real thing. So please don't feed me spurious claims that legal 
marijuana already exists.

Now that I have addressed the supposed health detriments let's take a 
look at the medical benefits of Cannabis. As mentioned above 
marijuana has been infallibly proven to relieve the vomiting and 
nausea that come with chemotherapy. Many cancer patients have said 
that marijuana was the best treatment for their symptoms. I 
interviewed a cancer patient who has miraculously over come the 
disease, for privacy reasons I won't reveal their name but when asked 
about the effects of marijuana the interviewee said, "I would not 
have lived if I didn't smoke lots of marijuana". Isn't it interesting 
that cancer, one of the world's deadliest, incurable diseases, is 
treated with marijuana, an illegal drug? Marijuana is also used for 
treating multiple sclerosis and several mood disorders. After smoking 
small amounts of marijuana patients are said to be relaxed and stress 
free. Unlike alcohol which is a depressant, Cannabis can be used to 
treat low level depression. Most depression is caused by stress; 
smoking pot relieves stress and thus relieves depression. Glaucoma is 
yet another disease that smoking weed will treat. Glaucoma is an 
optical disease that leads to permanent damage of the optic nerve 
endings and resultant visual fields, which can ultimately progress to 
blindness. Glaucoma is the leading cause of blindness in the world 
and doctors predict that this number will increase as longevity also 
increases. Symptoms of glaucoma include intraocular pressure, patches 
of vision loss, headaches, and pain behind the eyeball. Despite 
making the eyes red marijuana actually lowers intraocular pressure 
and can prevent as well as cure Glaucoma all together. As you can see 
marijuana has copious medical uses and little to no medical 
handicaps. For it to illegal while tobacco and alcohol are legal is 
absolute madness.

Like any substance marijuana can be abused, but it is impossible to 
overdose on. The most common problem associated with marijuana abuse 
is lethargic behavior, but does not cause serious health or social 
concerns. Overuse of alcohol will result in an inability to walk, 
stand, or even death, whereas overuse of weed will simply put a 
person to sleep. 40% of all fatal car accidents are caused by alcohol 
while no car accidents ever have been directly caused by marijuana. 
Alcohol induces violent behavior and is often attributed to wife 
beating and other violent behaviors. Someone under the influence of 
alcohol will experience fits if rage which has often led to their own 
demise or the death of others, while someone who got high from 
marijuana will stroll around pleasantly with a smile on their face in 
search of the nearest McDonald's. It is as the iconoclast Bob Marley 
once said, "Herb is the healing of the nation, alcohol is the 
destruction". Cigarettes are another legal substance that are far 
more dangerous than some good sensimilla. Smoking cigarettes is the 
leading cause of lung cancer in America. Tobacco cigarettes are 
filled with harmful chemicals such as nicotine, rat poison, 
formaldehyde, ammonia, and arsenic. Both cigarettes and alcohol are 
immensely addictive phenomenon's that lead to very serious health 
problems, predominantly cancer, and ultimately death. Marijuana is 
considered by many to be a dangerous substance but in reality many of 
our legal drugs are far more portentous.

Annual American Deaths Caused by Drugs

Tobacco................. 400,000

Alcohol.................. 100,000

All legal drugs......... 20,000

All illegal drugs........ 15,000

Caffeine................. 2,000

Aspirin.................. 500

Marijuana............... 0

In all of recorded history going back as far as 2700 BC there has 
never been one single human death attributed to a health problem 
caused by marijuana.

Not only is marijuana a safe drug with medical benefits but it could 
rapidly stimulate our failing economy. At its current rate of 
production legal marijuana generates 35.8 billion dollars per year. 
Profits from marijuana exceed that of corn and wheat combined. And 
that's just the legal margins. Revenue from illegal domestic 
marijuana is speculated at around 60 billion dollars a year. That's a 
total of 95.8 billion dollars each year excluding imports. Marijuana 
is considered by profuse amounts of economists to already be our 
nation's number one cash crop. It's already the number 1 cash crop in 
12 states including California, Alaska, and Hawaii. In Washington 
weed is second only to apples. In 30 other states ganja is among the 
top three on the list of cash crops. As Thomas Jefferson said, "Hemp 
is of first necessity to the wealth and protection of the country". 
George Washington himself predicted that hemp would be our most 
valuable product. Economists estimate that if marijuana were 
legalized annual tax returns would be 6.2 billion dollars. That's 
over 6 billion dollars in the hands of the federal government rather 
than in the hands of so called drug criminals. This money could be 
spent on combating the flow of hard, more serpentine drugs onto our streets.

If the fact that legalizing marijuana will engender enormous sums of 
money isn't enough for some skeptics let's take a look at the money 
that it will save. Approximately 7.7 billion dollars is spent 
annually on law enforcement to traverse marijuana consumption. 
Legalizing marijuana would eliminate 100% of these costs. Another 
taxpayer expense that would be emphatically reduced is prison 
disbursements. New FBI statistics show that one marijuana smoker is 
arrested every 45 seconds, by the end of my speech more than 20 
people will have been incarcerated on marijuana related offenses. 
Since 1990 5.9 million innocent Americans have been arrested on 
Cannabis charges, a number greater than the population of Alaska, 
North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, and Wyoming combined. 88% of all 
people in jail, a staggering 2 million, are there due to marijuana 
offenses. In the case that marijuana is legalized that number will be 
reduced to 440,000 people, a prodigious decline. The deprivation of 
operating prisons would also deteriorate dramatically. The cost of 
operating prisons comes directly out of taxpayers pockets. Currently 
a 40 billion dollar per year expenditure would be cut back to 8.8 
billion dollars, still a gargantuan amount but much, much less than 
what it was. With this amount of savings and profits I find it 
amazing that our capitalist society hasn't already demanded the 
legalization of pot.

Simply selling the buds is not the only way to make money off the 
Cannabis sativa plant. Hemp fibers from the stalks have countless 
other uses. An entire hemp based industry will be created. Oil 
extracted from the seeds was used to lubricate gears and mechanisms 
in many of the original cars including Henry Ford's Model T. Hemp 
fiber, renown for its strength, has long been used to test the 
durability of other fibers. When George Bush Sr. was forced to eject 
from his F-50 over Vietnam, the parachute that saved his life was 
made from 100% hemp fiber. Hemp can be made into rope, clothing, and 
paper. More important than the products made will be the jobs 
procreated by this industry. The current unemployment rate is 8.9% as 
of April 2009. 8.9% sounds like a small number out of 100 but 8.9% 
translates to over 13.7 million people without a job. I talked about 
tax deficits earlier but how about the decrease in taxes if all 
13.7million people got off welfare and started working in the pot 
industry. Though legalizing marijuana won't create all 13.7 million 
jobs necessary it will create some. That's a step in the right 
direction to resurrect our falling economy.

A common misconception is that smoking sensimilla makes a person this 
lazy, unexcited, useless, crippling abrasion to society. That's not 
true at all. Like most Americans, people who smoke pot pay taxes, 
love and support their families, and work hard to make a better life 
for their children. Suddenly they are arrested, jailed, and treated 
like criminals solely because they choose to relax in a way that is 
safer than tobacco or alcohol. State agencies frequently step in and 
declare children of marijuana smokers to be "in danger", and many 
children are placed into foster homes as a result. This causes 
enormous pain, suffering, and financial hardship for millions of 
honest American families. It also engenders distrust and disrespect 
for the law and criminal justice system overall. If the children of 
marijuana smokers are in danger than the children of cigarette 
smokers and alcoholics are in a situation far more perilous. 
Responsible pot smokers present no threat or danger to America and 
there is no reason to treat them as criminals.

Many people also believe that marijuana is a gateway drug and will 
lead to other more dangerous drugs. It's true that most people who do 
hard drugs didn't immediately start out snorting cocaine or shooting 
heroin, but smoking pot every now and then doesn't condemn you to be 
some cracked out heroin feign. As it stands right now only a small 
portion of sensi smokers go on to harder drugs and I'm sure that 
number will go down if marijuana is legalized. If kids could run down 
to the gas station and pick up some weed their interest in other 
drugs would be diminished. The only way that pot could be considered 
a gateway drug is if it is sold alongside hard drugs. True some pot 
dealers sell harder stuff but legalizing marijuana completely negates 
that arguement. If marijuana were legal there would be no need for 
side street dealers who might have hard drugs on them, it could be 
sold in any convenience store across the country. I know for a fact 
that teenagers would much rather get high legally than break the law 
to do so. The problem is legal highs aren't readily available, the 
closest you can get is with cigarettes which not only taste 
disgusting but are extremely deleterious to your health and the 
health of others. Implying that smoking weed always leads to harder 
drugs is like saying that anyone who has ever stolen something will 
go on to armed piracy of oil tankers. The Somalians that hijacked 
those tankers probably did steal in their youth but that doesn't mean 
everyone who steals will end up like them. Marijuana as a gateway 
drug is a false implication and cannot be used in a serious 
discussion about legalizing marijuana. Many people also insinuate 
that marijuana leads people to a life of crime. The only way to test 
this theory is to study the results when pot is legal. Amsterdam, 
where marijuana is legal, has a lower crime rate than any major U.S. 
city. I think that soundly disproves that theory and clearly shows 
that smoking marijuana is not a gateway to anything illegal.

I have provided you with information, facts and statistical evidence 
that all point towards the legalization of marijuana. But the truth 
is it doesn't matter what I say until you, the people, stand up and 
besiege the government to re-address the litigation of marijuana. But 
I'm sure there are many of you thinking, "Well that's a great speech 
in all but I don't smoke pot so why should I care if it's legal or 
not?" So I have come up with several reasons why everyone should 
support the legalizing of marijuana. If you're politically left wing 
stick it to the corporal business owners who made it illegal in the 
first place. If your right wing, marijuana is our number 1 cash crop, 
legalized we can make even more money than we are now. If your 
Christian or adhere to the Bible, Genesis 1:29 "And God said, behold, 
I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of 
all the earth", according to the Bible it's your god given right to 
grow and consume any plant on this earth, including marijuana. If 
you're an environmentalist or at least care about the fate of our 
planet, you can save the 4 billion trees that are cut down every year 
to make paper. I assure you hemp paper is a fine substitute. Everyone 
should support legalizing marijuana and everyone here now understands 
why. The biggest problem is that people are more inclined to suffer 
the sufferable that to rectify changes in their lives. But with 
growing support the Cannabis sativa predicament will soon be 
rectified and the world as a whole will be a better place, in the 
words of Bob Marley, "Legalize it, don't criticize it".             
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake