Legalize hemp

How many of you are reading this letter simply because you agree that marijuana should be legalized? How many of you are reading to see what insane reasons anyone could give for legalizing drugs? I am not arguing for the legalization of drugs. I argue for the legalization of marijuana—a source of fuel, fiber, a medicine and, yes, a recreational herb.

I could start by telling you about how marijuana is currently one of the best known treatments for AIDS or how it helps people with cancer avoid the nausea due to chemotherapy. I could tell you how it can replace plastics with biodegradable pulp and fiber or how over a 20-year time period, one acre of hemp can produce as much paper as 4.1 acres of forest, while using only 10 to 20 percent of the dangerous chemicals needed to make paper from wood. While all of these uses are incredibly important, the purpose of this article is to explain why marijuana should be legal for personal use.

Most people agree that alcohol should be legal, yet alcohol is incredibly more dangerous than marijuana. People die from drinking too much or destroy their lives through alcohol abuse. Alcohol causes people to be out of control and often violent. Most people who drink have at some point ended up vomiting. On the contrary, of all the people who enjoy smoking marijuana, few if any have been sick from it. Marijuana does not make people violent but instead friendly. And most important, marijuana cannot kill. Yes, smoking it can cause cancer but so do television sets and car exhaust fumes. However, marijuana can be eaten in food or made into tea. Neither of these methods put the user at any health risks.

The U.S. Constitution guarantees life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. If marijuana is illegal, we are deprived of the life killed in oil spills or when forests are destroyed for paper. We are deprived of our liberty when a government chooses for us whether we may use something that is not necessarily harmful, not physically addictive and has many therapeutic uses. All of these things mean we are impeded in our pursuit of happiness. Whether or not a person chooses to use marijuana or its innumerable by-products, it must be admitted that criminalization is a violation of our constitutional rights. The time is now. Stand up for what you believe in.

K. Miller