Pubdate: Tue, 20 Feb 2007
Source: Exponent, The (Purdue U, IN Edu)
Copyright: 2007 Purdue Student Publishing Foundation
Author:  Richard Leahy
Bookmark: (Cannabis)
Bookmark: (Decrim/Legalization)


As Americans, the concepts of freedom and justice should always be on 
our minds. This country has come a long way in guaranteeing certain 
inalienable rights, but any responsible citizen must realize that 
there is plenty of room for progress.

The decriminalization of marijuana is no doubt a controversial issue, 
but it is the next logical step in our path towards freedom. There 
are numerous shocking statistics on the subject of cannabis, such as 
the U.S. prison population, the lost revenue due to the prohibition 
of hemp production, and the health effects of smoking marijuana. I 
encourage everyone to read about the subject from a variety of 
sources to become educated on the matter, as there is more than I can 
include here. After extensive research, I have come to believe that 
this country would be a safer and more pleasant place by lifting the 
prohibition on marijuana. There is no proof that marijuana has caused 
a single death. Meanwhile, money is spent towards the war on drugs, 
and the incarceration of peaceful users that could otherwise be spent 
improving our nation's schools.

Like every aspect of public policy, this is an issue that affects us 
all and it should be treated seriously. Many people in our local 
community have become victims of this human rights violation. 
Although such a problem is best dealt with on the national level, you 
can start by reading up on all the facts and sharing information with 
friends. Talk to health-care professionals, politicians, and even 
those who are against legalization in order to form an educated opinion.

Richard Leahy

Senior, College of Science 
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