Pubdate: Mon, 12 Oct 2009
Source: Daily Iowan, The (IA Edu)
Copyright: 2009 The Daily Iowan
Author: Justin Sugg
Bookmark: (Cannabis - Medicinal)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


Our esteemed Editorial Board -- of which I am a member -- advocated
medical marijuana's legalization on Oct. 9. In an interview with Sen.
Joe Bolkcom, D-Iowa City, he talked with passion about the need to
legalize medical marijuana but hesitated to support recreational use.
He said Iowa was not ready to legalize recreational marijuana, and the
Editorial Board agreed.

I agree Iowa should legalize medical marijuana, but only because
everyone should be able to use it.

That's not to say I believe marijuana has limited medicinal benefits.
In fact, I have very personal reasons to advocate medical marijuana
use. My mother suffers from glaucoma and has terrible headaches from
the pressure. Many times she goes without sleep from the pain and
takes large doses of ibuprofen to little avail. She hesitates (rightly
so) to take stronger medication because of adverse effects. Marijuana
is known to reduce glaucoma pressure and could effectively treat my
mother's ailments.

Doctors at the UIHC recently replaced nearly my father's entire aorta.
The hospital had to extend his stay because of chronic wasting. He
lost more than 50 pounds. An appetite stimulant like marijuana or its
derivative, Marinol, could've reinvigorated his appetite and expedited
his recovery.

Marijuana has significant medical benefits, but that's not the only
reason to legalize it.

I call marijuana a commodity, because that is what it is. There is
nothing inherently wrong with the substance. Most evils associated
with marijuana are ones our prohibitionist culture has thrust upon

Marijuana made up more than 60 percent of Mexican cartels' revenue in
2006, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control
Policy. I'm not among the chorus condemning the drug war as a failure,
but I do believe decriminalization would undermine narco-terrorists
more than increased police and military activities.

Drug traffickers gain all their money and power through the monopoly
they maintain in the black market. The United States should break up
that market with market forces. Competition from legal markets would
draw revenue away from the cartels and thus diminish their power.

Marijuana's health risks are quite minuscule, especially compared with
controlled substances currently available. Last week's editorial
pointed that out, so I won't discuss it much here. Marijuana opponents
will also bring up the dreaded gateway effect: Marijuana use leads to
much harder drugs.

The Institute of Medicine concluded there was no evidence linking
marijuana use to harder drug use in a 1999 study and debunked the
marijuana-as-a-gateway myth.

Marijuana's legalization could also produce fiscal benefits. A study
cited in Forbes magazine estimated the United States would save $10.7
billion through legalization and bring in $31 billion in revenue.
That's only through taxing and licensing. There's a whole industry
that could blossom as a result. Iowa City already has two hookah bars
(that only serve tobacco), but just think how many could open if pot
were legal. That's marijuana tax, licensing fees, and corporate tax.
And I know the City Council's been looking for a dry alternative to
the bars.

Perhaps the biggest reason to legalize marijuana is in our Declaration
of Independence, whose preamble states people have the right to life,
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Marijuana legislation violates
at least two of those rights. We should be free to choose whether or
not to smoke pot. 
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MAP posted-by: Jo-D