Friday, June 26, 2009

North and South Carolina should probably look at legalizing marijuana

Another person has been arrested for growing marijuana in the Carolinas. This time it's a dentist, a highly educated doctor who may well see jail time for this. North Carolina's already overstretched prison infrastructure will get yet another inmate who hasn't harmed anyone or anything, and North Carolina's overstretched medical infrastructure will lose yet another professional.

Both Carolinas have always been, and still are, tobacco producing States. Some of us aren't proud of that but we won't bash the farmers for growing it, no one bashes farmers who grow the ingredients for beer and it's harmful, yet it's celebrated as a staple of Americana. With the recent tobacco legislation farmers in the Carolinas are going to take a huge hit, and while ten months ago this may have been a small deal ever since the banking industry (a major Carolina employer) has fallen on it's face our secondary industries are a big deal. North and South Carolina both rank in the top ten of unemployment.

Which brings me back to the issue of marijuana, something which is somewhat of a "hot button" issue due to it's status as a "gateway drug" (don't tell anyone, but so is beer). Many people demonize marijuana as some evil substance sent by the devil or something, despite the fact that it has been shown to be less harmful than alcohol to the human body. In fact, hundreds die from an alcohol overdose ever year, there has never been a recorded marijuana overdose. In fact, alcoholism is the third leading cause of death in America. Marijuana addiction hasn't really caused any. Celebrated. Americana. Among smokers who smoke marijuana exclusively there have been zero (as in, less than one) cases of lung cancer caused by smoking. Alcohol contributes to the destruction of the liver, kidneys, pancreases, and heart. While small amounts of alcohol are touted as being healthy, marijuana's active ingredient actually kills cancer cells. Kills cancer cells.

I don't think alcohol should be illegal, you should have a right to drink if you want to, but for it to be legal and marijuana to be illegal is simply mind-boggling. But how does this effect North and South Carolina you ask? Well, the federal government seems to be asleep at the wheel on this topic. The reason they banned marijuana in the first place was because so many racists were in power at the time and they wanted to arrest Mexicans. Really. North and South Carolina have endless tobacco fields, thus endless space for growing marijuana. Both States, regardless of what Mark Sanford says, need tax revenue badly. Even Bev knows that and she's stupid. Marijuana legalization could provide a lifeline for the farmer who will be hurt by the tobacco legislation and provide the two States with a stream of tax money at the same time it will stop harmless people from clogging up our prison system. This is without mentioning the benefits of legalizing marijuana's sister plant Hemp, which is being studied for many, many uses including ethanol.

Honestly, it's 2009. It's time to move forward.

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