decriminalize Pot

Decriminalization of Marijuana
Think for a minute about alcohol. It\'s something we are well accustomed to in our every day lives. We associate it with celebrations, parties, relaxation, and many other things that involve leisure. What else do we associate alcohol with? How about drunk driving and the deaths that occur as well. The thought of alcoholism and the destruction of the body as well families might spring in to mind. Now think about marijuana. Pot is something we all have been taught is next to sin. " Pot will make you stupid and lazy." "Pot will ruin your life." These might be a few examples of phrases that accompany the mentioning of the marijuana in any context, and the government has spent a lot of time and money in keeping it that way. They have also kept up a strict policy of administering jail time to any persons caught using or in possession of the drug. Should someone be imprisoned for having a beer ? A night of drunkenness beats down on the body far worse than marijuana (Fortgang 53). The little ill effects the drug possesses is why marijuana should be decriminalized. When I say decriminalized, I don\'t mean legalized. Politicians should at most in a case involving pot issue a fine, not years and years of a persons life in prison.
The hard facts about the drug marijuana are quite different to the beliefs of the U.S. society. The way it actually alters the brain, and it\'s addictiveness are quite minor. The chemical THC is what does the majority of the work when someone smokes marijuana. This chemical borrows the pathway of molecularly similar neurotransmitters in the brain called anandamides. The THC sits in the receptors for a time, making use of already functioning neural systems. Many studies have been preformed to determine if pot smokers are less intelligent than non-smokers. The Lancet which is Great Britain\'s leading medical journal, has not found much difference at all between the I.Q.\'s of both groups. Scientists do agree that pot has temporary cognitive effects lasting up to 24 hours after being smoked, but these disappear soon after leaving a normal mental state. This is similar to the effects of alcohol. The addictiveness of pot is ranked considerably lower than alcohol or nicotine. It falls in the area of caffeine which is very weak. In a study by the University of California of pot smokers who engaged daily for at least 70 months, only 16% of the subjects experienced withdrawal symptoms when asked to stop for a time. The symptoms included minor tension, sleeplessness, and appetite changes. The only proven ill effects are the effects that a cigarette smoker would contract, such as lung and heart problems. Although people think that pot can be deadly, it has never been credibly linked to a single death through overdose or acute toxicity (Fortgang 53, 101).
The gov\'t has continually tried to cover up these findings making false, uneducated, and absurd claims. When Reagan came into the presidency he took a hard stance against pot. His officials claimed that researchers viewed pot as the most dangerous drug in existence. Carlton Turner who was Reagan\'s leading anti-drug advocate, believed that marijuana was the cause of the youths involvement in anti-authority campaigns. He even made the claim that the drug could transform young men into homosexuals. These claims were all made in the name of demonizing the drug. With all the money spent by the gov\'t on marijuana research producing no significant reasons to keep the drug illegal, these claims were necessary. Necessary to keep the taxpayers from seeing their hard earned poured into a lost cause (Schlosser 49).
The money involved in pot arrests is astounding. In 1997 roughly 695,000 people were arrested for pot. This is the largest number of arrests for the drug in U.S. history. The cost of those arrests not including the cost of imprisonment after conviction hovered just over $3 billion dollars. Total spending for war on pot for this year is estimated to reach $17 billion, an all time record (Schlosser 47).
The punishments that a pot user may be subject to are also quite strong. These range from 10 to life in prison sentences that usually include huge