Changing America through Re-Legalization
Welcome to Hemp 4 Victory where our belief is that there can be a better way of life for every American citizen. At Hemp 4 Victory we like to provide non-biased and educational information on why the drug war has failed, and how cannabis re-legalization will help provide this better way of life. The main topics you will see within our pages focus on the benefits of cannabis as a medicine, and the economic improvement that legalization may provide. All information on the following pages is intended for the educational use of the citizens of the world to better understand the use of cannabis, and how the current laws against cannabis and other illicit substances is causing more harm then good. Some of these things include corruption, cost, and friend/family relations.
Hemp 4 Victory does not condone or promote the use of cannabis or other illegal substances, however; if you are going to use cannabis, please do so safely, responsibly, and thankfully, and also take into consideration your fellow brethren as to where and how you partake of this herb.
What would a legal Cannabis industry look like?
"The Flower" contrasts a utopian society that freely farms and consumes a pleasure giving flower with a society where the same flower is illegal and its consumption is prohibited. The animation is a meditation on the social and economic costs of marijuana prohibition.
Cannabis: Profitable for our country
How can a plant be a crime? Cannabis is ranked as the 8th largest crop, edging out sweet cherries. Does that mean that cannabis could be one of America's most profitable crops if legalized. Stop letting the government rob us of our herbs, as seen in the above image. Cannabis is losing the government $10.7 billion dollars in direct law enforcement costs. At least another $31.1 billion dollars in lost tax revenues. By other calculations, cannabis in the us is a $113 billion dollar buisness. One of our fellow stoners is arrested every 38 seconds. You could be next. we need to end the war before u get caught, or even myself.
Why cannabis should be re-legalized
People have a basic right to make choices for themselves as long as their actions do not harm others.
Responsible individuals in a free society should be allowed to choose whether or not they use marijuana. Individual liberty is a fundamental value.
Our government is wasting our time and money by prohibiting marijuana.
Taxpayers are forced to pay billions of dollars to persecute, prosecute, and incarcerate people for having marijuana. If marijuana were legal and regulated (like alcohol and tobacco) this money, plus tax revenues from marijuana sales, could be used for other purposes such as education and health care.
Prohibition is not an effective solution to the problems associated with marijuana use.
Marijuana, like alchohol and tobacco, can be abused. But prohibition is expensive and ineffective; education and regulation are better solutions. Regulating sales of marijuana and teaching people the truth about it's health effects will minimize the harms and costs to society.
We have learned a lesson from history.
Alcdhohol prohibition did not work, and there is no logical reason to believe that marijuana prohibition is a better idea.
The price of keeping cannabis illegal
It is incredibly expensive to keep marijuana illegal. Nobody knows exactly how much money is spent to enforce anti-marijuana laws because there are so many factors to consider. Some of these factors are listed below.
Cost of keeping marijuana illegal =
cost of active law enforcement + cost of prosecution (and defense!) of accused offenders +
cost of incarceration of convicted offenders +
hundreds of millions of dollars in tax revenue that would be generated if drugs were legal and taxed +
cost of foster care and social services for children of incarcerated offenders +
Other reasons that may not be listed here!
Citizens Against Government Waste recently released Through the Looking Glass, a special report documenting the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s waste of government resources.
New report projects $10-14 billion annual savings and revenues from marijuana regulation: Leading economists would prefer a system "in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods." Harvard Economics professor Jeffrey Miron concludes that marijuana legalization would create approximately $14 billion benefits every year.
British Columbia's marijuana crop worth over $7 billion annually: according to a recent study by The Fraser Institute, the marijuana industry in British Colombia generates billions of dollars in revenue every year. This is a potential source of significant tax revenue to fund programs for health and education, but governments can't tax marijuana if it is illegal.
US marijuana crop estimated to be worth over $35 billion. A new statistical analysis indicates that marijuana is America's most valuable cash crop. If these figures are even close to the truth, a logical system to regulate and tax marijuana would produce billions of dollars in revenue every year. Instead, our government stubbornly insists on keeping marijuana illegal and wasting billions of tax dollars enforcing prohibition.
Washington state would save about $105 million a year if marijuana were legally regulated, according to University of Washington Economics professor Dick Startz.
The US Federal Government spends more than $12 billion per year on drug control programs. Federal drug control budgets do not separate spending by drug, so we there is not a precise figure available for the amount that is spent on marijuana alone. Also, these figures do not include any spending by state or local governments, which are likely to be substantial since state police, courts, and prisons are constantly busy dealing with marijuana offenses.
Michael Hess of BBSNews estimated that marijuana prohibition in the U.S. costs at least $7 billion per year, not including misdemeanor cases.
Cannabis and the Gateway Theory
What is the Gateway theory?
Some people claim that using marijuana will make you want to use other drugs, like heroin, cocaine, LSD, amphetamines, and ecstasy. They argue that marijuana acts as a stepping stone, or a gateway, that leads people to harder drugs. They support their argument with statistics that show that most people who use hard drugs have tried marijuana before.
What's wrong with the Gateway theory?
the gateway theory doesn't really explain anything. It's just an observation that has been distorted. It's true that hard drug users generally try marijuana before they try hard drugs, but that's only because marijuana is more popular and easier to obtain than other illegal drugs. The more important observation is that MOST people who use marijuana DO NOT go on to use harder drugs. There is nothing special about using marijuana that makes people want to use harder drugs.
What's really going on?
In essence, the link between marijuana and other illegal drugs stems from the fact that they are illegal. Because they are illegal, marijuana and other drugs are only available on the black market, and anyone who enters the drug market is likely to be exposed to more than one drug. The solution is simple: by legalizing and regulating marijuana sales, we will eliminate the connection to hard drugs.
But don't just take my word for it
According to NIDA (the National Institute on Drug Abuse),
"Using marijuana puts children and teens in contact with people who are users and sellers of other drugs. So there is more of a risk that a marijuana user will be exposed to and urged to try more drugs." (From Marijuana: Facts for Teens, 1998).
This quote from the NIDA really supports what we are saying; the connection between marijuana and hard drugs exists BECAUSE marijuana is illegal. We need to legalize and regulate marijuana to close the 'gateway.'
The Institute of Medicine agrees that the marijuana-gateway theory is misleading:
"In the sense that marijuana use typically precedes rather than follows initiation of other illicit drug use, it is indeed a "gateway" drug. But because underage smoking and alcohol use typically precede marijuana use, marijuana is not the most common, and is rarely the first, "gateway" to illicit drug use. There is no conclusive evidence that the drug effects of marijuana are causally linked to the subsequent abuse of other illicit drugs." (from the Executive Summary of the IOM report Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base)
Research indicates teen marijuana use does not predict drug or alcohol abuse: a 12-year study at the University of Pittsburgh refutes the 'marijuana gateway' hypothesis (December 2006).
A RAND study finds serious flaws in the marijuana 'Gateway' theory (Posted December 6, 2002).
Other Resources about the Gateway Theory
One of the leading proponents of the 'Gateway' hypothesis is Robert DuPont, former head of the National Institute on Drug Abuse. His book, Getting Tough on Gateway Drugs: A Guide For The Family, first popularized the theory. Another prominent supporter of the 'Gateway drug' argument is Denise Kandel, who recently published Stages and Pathways of Drug Involvement: Examining the Gateway Hypothesis. Gateway to Nowhere, by Stanton Peele and Archie Brodsky, is an excellent article which explains some of the problems with the Gateway hypothesis.
Cannabis and Health
Some people argue that marijuana should be illegal because it poses health risks. This claim is not logically sound. Health considerations provide arguments to avoid excessive use of marijuana, but ultimately each individual should be allowed the personal freedom to decide whether or not to use marijuana.
Marijuana only poses health risks to people who choose to use it.
As is the case with other potentially harmful substances, such as unhealthy foods, individuals should be able to weigh the risks for themselves. Think of it this way: numerous studies have shown that foods with a lot of cholesterol and fat are unhealthy. Should we outlaw bacon? That would be going too far. Instead, we should make sure to educate everyone about the dangers of a high-fat, high-cholesterol diet, but recognize that people should be free to make their own decisions about eating bacon. The same logic applies to marijuana.
The health risks associated with Marijuana are often misunderstood or exaggerated.
The best recent scientific research shows that marijuana is much less harmful than prohibitionists say it is. The truth is that marijuana's health effects are complex and cannot be simply labelled good or bad. Heavy marijuana use doesn't damage the brain (from WebMD, July 2003). A recent survey of research found that long term marijuana use did not have a significant effect on cognitive abilities. The report was published in the July 2003 Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society.
Study finds no cancer-marijuana connection (from Washington Post, May 2006). A recent study of the effects of long-term marijuana use found that "smoking marijuana, even regularly and heavily, does not lead to lung cancer." This study, the largest of its kind, was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse. The same study found that heavy tobacco use greatly increased the chance of lung cancer.
Marijuana can make depression better or worse, depending on dosage (from CTV, October 2007). Researchers at McGill University studied the effects of THC on users suffering from depression (THC is the primary psychoactive component of marijuana). The study found that moderate doses of THC had an antidepressant effect, but that heavy doses of THC could make a patient's depression worse. This finding should serve as a reminder for those who would oversimplify the legalization debate by asserting that all use of marijuana is harmful (or beneficial). The truth is not one-sided.
Because marijuana is illegal, it cannot be controlled or regulated to protect health
(Funny, don't they call it a controlled substance?). Because marijuana is not regulated, there are no safeguards against contamination by pesticides, herbicides, and other toxic chemicals. In this sense, it is actually the fact that marijuana is illegal that causes the health danger. If marijuana were legal, steps could be taken to reduce the health risks associated with its use by avoiding contamination. Time Magazine reported in 1978 that numerous samples of marijuana imported to the United States from Mexico were contaminated with paraquat, a chemical herbicide capable of causing severe lung damage or death. It turned out that the paraquat had been sprayed on drug crops in Mexico as part of a U.S.-sponsored eradication program. The paraquat was not easily detected by consumers, and of course there was no regulatory inspection of imported marijuana to check for such contamination. While the spraying did not prevent the marijuana crops from being harvested or sold to American consumers, the contamination substantially increased the danger of consuming those crops. There is clearly something wrong with a drug policy by which the government, while supposedly protecting citizens from a drug, succeeds only in making the drug more harmful. (Of course there are additional health risks and ethical concerns raised by a policy of spraying harmful chemicals on areas inhabited by poor farmers.)
Contamination by fungus poses a health risk to marijuana users (from the Colorado Association of Proberty & Evidence Technicians). According to Judy O’Brien of the Westminster, Colorado Police Department, a fungus known as Aspergillus can grow on marijuana plants, especially if the crop is not properly harvested and dried. Inhaling the spores of Aspergillus can cause an allergic reaction and lung damage. O'Brien notes that Aspergillus contamination can be easily detected. However, under the present system of prohibition, marijuana consumers are on their own to detect and avoid the fungus. This ChestJournal article, published by the American College of Chest Physicians, notes that Aspergillus exposure can be fatal to those with compromised immune systems.)
Marijuana can be used as medicine.
There is an abundance of anecdotal evidence, as well as some scientific research, indicating that marijuana can be effective as a treatment for some illnesses. Benefits of marijuana can include appetite stimulation for cancer and AIDS patients, and general pain relief. Yet our government consistently stands in the way of research and testing of marijuana as medicine.
Cannabis as medicine
Many people believe that cannabis can be used as medicine to treat certain illnesses. Canada and several states in the U.S. have passed laws in recent years to specifically allow sick people to use cannabis for medicinal purposes. The only major federal report on the subject of medicinal use of cannabis concluded that there was evidence that cannabis could be useful for "pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation."
Still, under the Title 21 of the U.S. Code, Section 812 (part of the Controlled Substances Act or CSA), the U.S. federal government classifies cannabis as a 'Schedule One' substance which has no medicinal value. Despite the evidence indicating therapeutic uses, The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has refused to consider reclassification of cannabis, and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has officially opposed the use of cannabis as medicine.
We support the rights of sick people to help themselves by using cannabis as medicine. However, in the long term, we believe that medicinal cannabis will be a non-issue because it will be legal for responsible adults to use regardless of illness.
Read what doctors, scientists, and others say about medicinal cannabis
Senior citizens support medicinal cannabis: 72 percent of respondents in an AARP survey agree that "adults should be allowed to legally use cannabis for medical purposes if a physician recommends it."
"Marijuana and Medicine: Assessing the Science Base" (1999) -- The Institute of Medicine (IOM) published this report in response to the the White House's request for a review of scientific information about marijuana's medical uses. This report is informative and straightforward, and states the clear conclusion that scientific evidence indicates the therapeutic effects of "cannabinoid drugs, primarily THC, for pain relief, control of nausea and vomiting, and appetite stimulation."
Cannabis may protect against cancer. According to Forbes.com on April 17, 2007, Harvard University researchers have reported finding that delta-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the main psychoactive component of cannabis, reduced the growth of lung cancer in mice. These results are promising, but further research is necessary to see if THC treatment has the same effect in humans. As reported in The Guardian's "National Roundup" on March 1, 2000, scientists at Madrid's Complutense University found that THC "destroyed malignant tumours in laboratory rats," suggesting the possibility that cannabis might be an effective treatment for brain cancer. As reported on May 26, 2006 in the Washington Post and Science Daily, a long term study by UCLA researchers found that cannabis use did not increase the probability of cancer, and suggested that the herb may have some protective effects against cancer. In 1975, researchers at the Medical College of Virginia reported finding that marijuana's active ingredients slowed the growth of lung cancer in mice. The report was published in Oxford's Journal of the National Cancer Institute [1975 Sep;55(3):597-602] and is available through PubMed.
Canada has a much more sensible approach to medicinal cannabis than the U.S. Health Canada "grants access to marijuana for medical use to those who are suffering from grave and debilitating illnesses."
Americans for Safe Access is an activist organization devoted to defending patients' access to medical cannabis.
Read Ann Harrison's article about "The Trial of Ed Rosenthal", courtesy of Alternet.
"Federal Foolishness and Marijuana," is an excellent article by Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D. The article appeared in the New England Journal of Medicine (Volume 336:366-367, January 30, 1997, Number 5) and explains why the federal government's position on medicinal marijuana doesn't make sense. The New England Journal of Medicine is one of the nation's most respected medical journals; subscription is required to view the article online.
NORML's section on the medical use of cannabis has good information and polls showing that Americans support making the herb legally available for medicinal purposes.
Read Marijuana Rx: The Patients Fight for Medicinal Pot, by Alice M. O'Leary and Robert C. Randall.
Cannabis Vs. Alcohol and Tobacco
Why is marijuana illegal, but alcohol and tobacco are available and regulated? People who support marijuana prohibition claim that marijuana is unhealthy and dangerous. They say we need to keep drugs illegal to protect our society from the addiction and disease that they cause. These arguments are not consistent with the fact that the two most deadly drugs in America are legal. Alcohol and tobacco are far more addictive and harmful than marijuana, but they are legally available. If we want to have drug policies that are logical and effective, we need to legalize and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to the regulation of alcohol and tobacco.
Alcohol Alcohol is highly addictive and contributes to many diseases.
See "Alcohol Dependence" by Ann Reyes, from Discovery Health.
Alcohol abuse damages organs and causes liver disease.
Alcohol abuse can cause steatohepatitis (fatty liver disease), alcoholic hepatitis, and cirrhosis. See "Effects of Alcohol on the Liver" from Liver-disorders.com.
Alcohol abuse kills over 100,000 Americans every year.
See "By the Numbers: Deaths Caused by Alcohol" from Scientific American magazine (December 1996), and "Magnitude of Alcohol Related Mortality and Morbidity Among U.S. College Students Ages 18-24" from the Harvard School of Public Health.
Alcohol prohibition failed miserably. Marijuana prohibition is failing for the same reasons.
For an economic analysis of why prohibition doesn't work, see Alcohol Prohibition was a Failure, by Auburn Economics professor Mark Thornton.
Tobacco Nicotine, the active chemical in tobacco, is highly addictive.
See "The Health Consequences of Smoking: Nicotine Addiction" from the U.S. Surgeon General (1988).
Tobacco is the second major cause of death in the world, responsible for roughly 5 million deaths each year.
See the "Tobacco Free Initiative" from the World Health Organization (WHO)
Cigarette smoking is the single most preventable cause of premature death in the US. Each year, more than 400,000 Americans die from cigarette smoking.
See "Cigarette Smoking Related Mortality" from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Tobacco is legally available throughout the United States and can be purchased at gas stations, convenience stores, and supermarkets for less than $5 per pack.
Cannabis and Violence
Marijuana itself does not induce violence. People don't smoke a joint and decide to shoot somebody. What produces the violence associated with marijuana is that it is illegal. The same dynamic caused the murderous Capone-style violence during Prohibition. And once Prohibition was repealed, the violence associated with the bootleg trade vanished, although the gangsters that it spawned did not. Before any sensible discussion can take place about how to deal with illegal drugs in the United States, we must make the distinction between violence associated with a drug and violence associated with the drug trade.
-- Judy Mann, in the Washington Post, May 23, 2001, p. C15
Marijuana does not cause violence. Some people who support prohibition claim that marijuana itself causes violence. This was one of the original claims used to justify making marijuana illegal, but this claim is false. In fact, people who are high on marijuana tend to be relaxed, mellow, and too happy to want to fight. See "Psychoactive Substances and Violence" by Jeffrey A. Roth. In a report for the US Department of Justice, Roth noted that, rather than causing violence, marijuana actually "temporarily inhibit[s] violent behavior."
Prohibition causes violence. That was established pretty clearly between 1920 and 1933 when the federal government tried to outlaw alcohol. Alcohol prohibition created a lucrative black market that funded mobsters and generally promoted violence and criminal activity, without significantly changing the rate of alcohol consumption. Marijuana prohibition has the same effects. Innocent people are hurt by violence due to marijuana prohibition. Read the Tahoe Tribune article about William Hunt and his 8-year-old son, who were both shot when they accidentally stumbled upon a marijuana garden that was protected by armed guards. If marijuana cultivation was legal, William and Matthew Hunt would not have been in danger.
Legalization, along with sensible regulation, would reduce violence. If marijuana were legal, the violence associated with it would disappear. Controlled distribution of the drug in a safe, regulated environment would eliminate the black market and its associated criminality. It worked with alcohol: the mobsters are no longer in control of alcohol, and police don't get shot making alcohol raids. We should take a lesson from history and legalize marijuana to reduce violence even further.
Hemp is perhaps best known for its use in healthy foods and as a cotton substitute in clothing. But it is slowly gaining profile as a building material as well.
A variety of wood-like products, such as fiberboard, can be made from the compressed woody core of the plant. The fibers can also be used like straw in bale wall construction or with mud in a sort of modified cob style of building. A natural product, it is environmentally friendly, produces no toxic by products and is fully recyclable. It is thermally efficient, resulting in lower fuel costs. It absorbs sound and is non-flammable.
More than 250 houses have been constructed in France using a product made of hemp fiber and lime. The hemp building product, called Isochanvre, has won awards as an environmentally-friendly and innovative product.
And now, a social housing organization in Suffolk, England has completed a test project that studied the environmental impact, energy use and other factors of hemp housing in comparison to more traditional construction methods.
Suffolk Housing Society provides and manages over 1,300 homes for people who need housing at affordable rents. In Britain’s first hemp housing project, the organization built two hemp, lime and timber houses in a terrace alongside their brick and block counterparts as part of an 18-unit social housing development.
The project was studied by the Building Research Establishment (BRE) in regards to the sustainability, economic and environmental differences between the two construction methods. The first tenants moved into a two-bedroom hemp home in December, 2001. For three months, their lives were closely monitored by sophisticated instruments measuring qualities such as insulation, energy efficiency, sound proofing, structural stability, resistance to water and condensation factors. The second hemp home remained empty until the spring of 2002 so that its properties as an unoccupied house could also be monitored. The same occupation pattern applied to the brick/block houses.
The BRE report’s principal conclusions are that while the hemp homes have far less impact on the environment – they use less energy to build, create less waste and take less fuel to heat – they cost about 10 percent more to build than brick and block houses.