Opinion: Marijuana is the cash crop of the century

By Joshua Burciaga

Marijuana has carried a negative stigma throughout recent history.

In the ‘60s and ‘70s marijuana was associated with hippies, so if you smoked you were viewed as a lazy bum or a drug addict.

In the ‘80s and ‘90s the plant was then associated with rap and R&B, so if you smoked you were viewed as a troublemaker, hoodrat or drug dealer.

Weed legalization leads to less crime and criminal behavior, and there hasn’t been a single recorded marijuana overdose since its legalization.

Marijuana has been legalized in over 29 states in the U.S, however, there are still 21 states which refuse to legalize marijuana.

These 29 states reap the medical, economic, and social benefits of weed legalization.

This leads some to ask: why is marijuana illegal?

The common argument I often hear for opposing legalization is that marijuana is unhealthy. But your brain’s anatomy suggests otherwise.

Scientists Kevin Bonsor and Nicholas Gerbis released a study called “How Marijuana Works”, that explains how marijuana affects your brain.

Your brain has millions of microscopic cells known as neurons that utilize neurotransmitters and receptors to communicate with one another.

Each neuron performs a specific function. You have neurons for food, for water, for oxygen and even for weed.

Your brain has groups of cannabinoid receptors concentrated in several different places,” Bonsor and Gerbis said.

“High concentrations of cannabinoid receptors exist in the hippocampus, cerebellum and basal ganglia.”

The brain contains neurons for marijuana, but what the brain doesn’t posses are neurons for meth and alcohol.

This is why if you smoke too much meth or drink too much alcohol, you overdose and die.

Therefore, the likelihood of overdosing on marijuana, is the same as having an overdose from food, water or even oxygen.

So if marijuana is harmless, why don’t we legalize it everywhere?

I mean, why is something as harmless as weed considered illegal, yet something as toxic as nicotine perfectly legal?

Here’s the thing you need to know about weed, it’s a weed and weeds grow anywhere.

You can throw a couple of seeds on the dirt, come back eight months later and then you have yourself a plantation.

Anyone could grow it in their backyard. It doesn’t require a lot of work, effort or money.

Nicotine on the other hand, is completely different.

In order to successfully grow nicotine you need perfect weather, soil, amount of water, fertilizer and so on and so forth.

Growing nicotine requires a lot of work, skill, effort and a considerable amount of money just to grow it in your backyard.

If you want to start a business in the nicotine industry, not only do you have to spend millions of dollars just to start, but you also have to constantly invest millions of dollars on new technology in order to stay ahead of the game.

With a business model like this, you’re able to monopolize it so then only the rich and well connected can start this type of business.

Whereas with weed, anybody can pretty much grow it by themselves and start their own business overnight.

This type of business model is a threat to the type of model that many businesses rely on.

In fact, there are hundreds of pharmaceutical companies that would be put out of business by marijuana because the industry would easily replace them.

A study done by Ashley C. Bradford and David W. Bradford showed states that legalized medicinal marijuana saw a decrease in prescriptions for other drugs.

This included anxiety, depression, glaucoma, nausea, pain, psychosis, seizures, sleep disorders and spasticity,” Debra Borchardt, writer for Forbes Magazine said. “The Bradfords also found a 13% decline in depression drug prescriptions, a 12 percent drop in psychosis drug prescriptions and an 11 percent slide in pain drugs.”

This resulted in pharmaceutical companies losing billions of dollars worth of revenue.

That’s why big pharmaceutical companies are funding anti-pot studies, lobbyists for certain federal agencies and reelection campaigns for lawmakers who oppose legalization.

Big business can’t make a profit off of weed. This is precisely why it’s illegal.

Marijuana doesn’t stop at the production of cheaper and safer medication. The hemp grown from marijuana can be used to make cheaper necessities.

It can make products such as newsprint, computer paper, stationery paper, cardboard, envelopes, toilet paper, diapers, tampons, clothing, rope, canvas, paint, ink, plastic substitutes and thousands of more items.

Using hemp to produce these items are extremely beneficial to the environment as well.

One acre of marijuana can produce up to four times more paper than one acre of trees. Harvesting marijuana does little damage to the topsoil compared to the harvesting methods used to collect wood and cotton.

Hemp could easily replace cotton and reduce the amount of water and pesticides we use to produce clothing and textiles.

The economical and environmental aspects of marijuana can help us curb pollution, make necessities cheaper and more available to the public and create thousands of jobs in the process.

Jack Herer, cannabis rights activist and author of “The Emperor Wears No Clothes”, informs that marijuana has been commercially used to make products for thousands of years and that the plant has only been illegal for less than a hundred years.

“Benjamin Franklin started one of America’s first paper mills with cannabis,” Herer said. “This allowed America to have a free colonial press without having to beg or justify paper and books from England.”

In a letter to William Pearce, plantation field manager for George Washington, the former first president wrote for him to follow a very strict order.

“Make the most of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere!” said Washington.

Our Founding Fathers understood the potential marijuana could bring to our nation and grew marijuana themselves.

Now it’s time for us to make the most of our seeds and lift the prohibition on marijuana.

Marijuana isn’t illegal because it’s dangerous for our youth or because it’s a gateway drug. It’s illegal because it endangers the insurmountable amount of money and power that big business leaders hold on our economy.

We can create a world where clothing can become affordable for everyone. Where public schools no longer suffer from shortages because supplies are too expensive. Where the pollution and damage caused from deforestation could end in a heartbeat.

Do not settle for weed legalization which limits us to recreational or medicinal use. In order to truly change our economy for the better, we must allow businesses to legally own and utilize marijuana for commercial use and we should demand for nothing less.