Advertising and the Politics of Consumption

By Alex Swann

As a result of the beauty culture in America, women could experiment in self-presentation through the availability of new beauty products, advertising, public appearances, and new aspirations for what was achievable. Gender roles and stereotypes of gender were deeply entrenched and even as female consumption grew, male dominance still often prevailed. The advertising industry often corrupted ideas of natural beauty and misled women into consuming products that weren’t for them. Also, the gender roles of the post war period were characterised by representations of the perfect American family.

 

Palmolive

“Doctors Prove Palmolive Soap… Using Nothing But Palmolive… Can Bring Lovelier Complexions!”, Palmolive, 1949, Magazine Ad., Advertising & Marketing History, Duke University

My argument is that this advert is contradictory, meant for cleansing but showing a woman plastered in make up. A central theme is ‘loveliness,’ which can’t be only described by physical beauty which is on the advert.

 

NY Rail

 “Easy does it”, New York Central Railway, National Geographic Ad, 1954, Advertising & Marketing History, Duke University

This ad shows a perfect American suburban family, with a male breadwinner and female housekeeper, at a time when females were increasingly becoming more consumers. The advert wants wealthy consumers on their transport, and promises a premium of comfort.

 

monroe

“Tru-Glo Liquid make up”, Westmore Hollywood Cosmetics, Life Magazine, 1952, Advertising & Marketing History, Duke University 

Marilyn Monroe, an icon of natural beauty, sells a cheap product and the false belief to women that if they use it they will be like her. This is a corruption of ‘natural’, a coercive way to use a celebrity to bribe people become part of this culture.

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Should Cannabis Be Legalized?

The legalization of medical marijuana has been a national enigma that has lasted decades. Examples of legalization of cannabis in other nations have turned out to be a success. Crime rates drop, the economy gains a new source of income through taxation, and money is not spent in the pursuit to stop the distribution of marijuana. So where is the harm in legalizing pot? In short there is no harm, just misbeliefs and misconceptions. Weed is sought out to be a very influential drug and some say it is even a gateway drug to other more potent substances, yet this tends not to be the case. Just because some serious drug users started off by using pot does not mean that marijuana necessarily was the influence to the heavier drug usage. For example, “in 2009, 2.3 million people reported trying pot — compared with 617,000 who tried cocaine and 180,000 who tried heroin” (http://healthland.time.com/2010/10/29/marijuna-as-a-gateway-drug-the-myth-that-will-not-die/). So what happened to the other million and so individuals who’ve tried pot and not cocaine or heroine? Could it possibly be that the people who were survey twisted the truth or could it be that marijuana does not influence other drug usage?

Indeed we can see the downfalls in using marijuana, the laziness, the unproductiveness, etc., but there are  also some good qualities the drug contains. First and foremost the main use of medical marijuana is obviously to aid the sick. Marijuana is used to alleviate the symptoms that other drugs cannot. Marijuana is used to ease nausea and vomiting in patients undergoing chemo, and use to alleviate muscle pains in general. So cannabis is essential in the lives of those who rely on it to ease the pain. And for this reason there should be no question about legalizing medical marijuana. It is clearly a no brainer. In this case “they found that medical marijuana can help alleviate some symptoms of multiple sclerosis (MS)” (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2014/04/28/medical-marijuana-may-treat-symptoms-ms-ineffective-for-other-brain-disorders/), so imagine the great relief it would be to a person suffering with multiple sclerosis to be able to treat some of it’s symptoms. And from my perspective if the drug is able to help people, why not allow it for its medical purposes?

The legalization of medical marijuana is one debate, but the legalization of marijuana is another. Recreational marijuana is viewed as a powerful drug although the effects are not as harmful as other legalized drugs. One great argument for the legalization of marijuana is that weed never killed anyone. To this day there is no deaths based on marijuana. No overdoses or anything similar to it. Statistically more people die from drinking water and although irrelevant it has a lot to say about the drug. Although mistakenly viewed and a harmful drug, cannabis is responsible for no deaths.

It honestly makes no sense to make a harmless substance illegal, while legalizing more dangerous ones. Tobacco and alcohol are responsible for hundred of thousands of deaths annually, yet they are legal. Both substances can be addictive and even “lead to liver disease, neurological problems, certain psychiatric issues and may increase your risk of several types of cancer.” (http://www.cnn.com/2014/01/20/health/marijuana-versus-alcohol/). So the question arises why not legalize a substance that has no long term affects and does not add on to country annual death count? It is unfathomable to think that there are substances out there that kill people daily and are completely legal, while a plant that has a medical purpose, is illegal.

Many states have already legalized medical marijuana dispensaries and some even legalized marijuana for recreational use, but not why the whole nation? Colorado, just one state, made about twenty nine million dollars off marijuana taxes from January to July. Recreational Marijuana “sales have surpassed medical marijuana sales. The milestone is largely symbolic, but the overall trend shows a strong increase in recreational sales since the spring.” (http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2014/09/11/colorado-marijuana-tax-revenues-surge-as-recreational-sales-surpass-medical-for-the-first-time/), so it honestly makes no sense to legalize marijuana and collect the taxes from all fifty states. We are already in a recession, so the taxes made from the sales of recreation and medical marijuana can surely even help lower our hefty debt. America is in debt for trillions of dollars, so why not add another source to help fuel our economy?

One user tried to argue that marijuana should not be legalized because in the recent years the usage of medical marijuana in our youth has skyrocketed. But quite in the contrary, the legalization of marijuana would lower the number of youth who use marijuana. Teenagers smoke marijuana in an attempt to fit in, but legalizing marijuana would only take away from the cool factor that the “illegal substance” brought. If weed was legalized, it would no longer be as cool. It would just be another legal substance like tobacco and alcohol and although many teenager also use those substance, I am sure there will be less marijuana users in our youth. They would no longer receive the thrill from smoking pot, it would no longer be an illegal substance, they would just be underage users.

The United States has to spend a lot of money it does not have in the effort to stop the distribution of marijuana. Countless individuals are thrown in jail for possession, and distribution of marijuana, so that just means the United States has to pay for the imprisonment of these individuals and that tends to be very expensive. The usage of police force and the need for the DEA could also be avoided with marijuana. These officer can focus on more important things than a 17 year old kid smoking pot. So overall the US can also save money by legalizing weed. “More than 300 economists, including three nobel laureates, have signed a petitioncalling attention to the findings of a paper by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron, which suggests that if the government legalized marijuana it would save $7.7 billion annually by not having to enforce the current prohibition on the drug.” (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/04/17/economists-marijuana-legalization_n_1431840.html) and this only means more money for other more important issues, such as poverty in the United States. Therefore, by saving money and gaining money through taxes, the US can surely gain a lot from the legalization of the drug.

Overall the legalization of marijuana can be seen as a very positive thing to many americans. By legalizing the drug, we save money, gain money, cut our crime rate, help our youth, and even help the sick. Legalizing marijuana has many beneficial aspects and can really help stimulate our economy. In short there is very little to no reasons to why marijuana should not be legalized. It should be legalized especially because there are more powerful and lethal substance that are legal and have no positive components to it, marijuana can actually be resourceful.

Science has even helped prove the usefulness and it’s effect on the human brain. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oeF6rFN9org

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Minimum Wage

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There is always a political debate on the horizon in politics. A major debate that is currently being held by all politicians is the minimum wage debate.   Minimum wage is defined as the lowest amount of money an employee can make. With this in mind, this debate holds the interest of all young workers, as a wage increase is very close for them in the near future. I chose to explore this debate because I am a firm believer that the current minimum wage is too low and an increase is definitely needed. I concur with President Obama that the federal minimum wage should be increased to $10/hour.

Like all debates there are pros and cons on the agenda. This particular debate definitely has its share of pros and cons. Sympathy can be given to the small businesses who will feel the increase would be a major setback to their livelihood, and on the other hand a great feeling of relief to the worker whose income would be increased. Everyone has an opinion of this debate, some realistic and others unrealistic. There are proponents and opponents as in most debates. Individuals and organizations have publically expressed their concerns either for or against the debate. I will present some of these concerns in the following pages.

The organization Access Justice, PSC, consisting of legal professionals, has expressed their concern by supporting an increase in minimum wage. They issued an article entitled “The Minimum Wage Debate.” In this article they expressed their belief that with the cost of living rising and wages staying the same, it is increasingly difficult for millions of people to afford basic essentials. With the current amount of low-wage jobs in the United States millions of financially strained workers now exist who cannot afford to feed their families. Their major concern is that families are provided income to meet their day-to-day needs and this cannot be maintained with the current minimum wage.

A very interesting article appeared in the Star Ledger on October 27, 2014, concerning the debate. The article presented views of Governor Christie, Republican (opponent) and U. S. Senate Booker, Democrat (proponent). Christie said he’s tired of hearing about the minimum and he’s entirely against raising the wage, and Booker criticizes the remarks Christie made calling them really unfortunate, as Booker is for an increase. Both parties clearly expressed their views on this debate. Christie vetoed a bill last year that would have increased New Jersey’s minimum wage from $7.25 to $8.50 saying it would hurt the economy. On the other hand, Booker states that “nobody should work full time and find themselves under the poverty line and going to food banks to make ends meet.”

Another interesting article that was presented by Mr. Young & Mr. Hobson for Here & Now concerning California’s minimum wage. Ron Unz of that sate is pushing for an increase to $12/hour, the highest in the nation. He states, “One of the arguments frequently made is that a lot of the immigrants who come here take the jobs that Americans don’t want, and that’s perfectly true. In a lot of these jobs, if the wages were reasonable, Americans would take the work, and then there wouldn’t be as much of an immigration problem. Raising minimum wage would also take the burden off taxpayers to subsidize the working poor.”

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An article by Reason entitled “17 Million Reasons Why Raising the Minimum Wage Is a Terrible Idea,” by Ira Stoll on March 3, 2014, expresses great concern why this increase would be bad for the United States. They state that “as an anti-poverty tool, it is a blunt instrument.” They further claim that a lot of minimum wage earners are second or third-job holders in households with other income, or teenagers living with parents, or retirees supplementing Social Security. They are also concerned that an increase would eliminate jobs, reduce the incentive for low-wage workers to get an education in order to better themselves because the increased minimum wage may suffice their needs, and above all it’s a sneaky way to increase welfare spending and raise taxes.

On the other hand, an article by Senator Elizabeth Warren for ABC News dated March 25, 2014, entitled “Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage” states her claim that “raising the minimum wage is good economics. It means that people will have more money to spend, and that helps propel the economy forward and give a much-needed boost to many small businesses. So why have the Republicans refused to budge on the minimum wage? Who are they protecting? Certainly not the families and their 17 million children who would be helped.” In conclusion of her article she states, “Raising the minimum wage is one way we can start to level the playing field for working families.”

After reviewing all the pros and cons on this debate, as stated in the beginning of this paper, I am in favor of raising the minimum wage. I believe it would boost the economy, lift millions out of poverty, it is an important racial justice issue, and Americans need a raise! It has been a very long time since the federal minimum wage was increased and the time has come to move forward.

References:

Access Justice, PSC. “The Minimum Wage Debate.” http://AccessJustie.net

19 November 2014.

Hobson, Jeremy and Young, Robin. “The Conservative Arguments for Raising the

Minimum Wage.” Here and Now. 17 March 2014.

http://hereandnow.wbur.org . 19 November 2014.

Johnson, Brent. “Booker says Christie’s Minimum Wage Remarks are Really Unfortunate.”

NJ.com. 27 October 2014. http://www.nj.com/politics. 19 November 2014.

Stoll, Ira. “Reasons Why Raising the Minimum Wage Is a Terrible Idea.” Reason.

3 March 2014. http://reason.com/archives/2013.03.03/9. 19 November 2014.

Warren, Senator Elizabeth. “17 Million Reasons to Raise the Minimum Wage.”

ABC News. 25 March 2014. http://abcnews.go.com/Business.

19 November 2014.

Smoking Bans help me, and save YOU

Smoking bans have been saving and improving lives since implanted and all smokers and non-smokers should be thankful for it. Those against smoking bans base their arguments primarily in the fact that they have the right to smoke. It is a valid argument since the United States guarantees its citizens freedom. But, is it really a valid argument? What is the real impact that smokers have over non-smokers? Is second-hand smoke a real thing? Yes, to smoke is an option. Sadly, that option happens to impact not only on the person who does it, but on those around as well.

You have the right to smoke and nobody should take it away from you, but your rights end where the others’ start. According to the American Lung Association, “Between 2005 and 2010, an average of 130,659 Americans…died of smoking-attributable lung cancer each year. Exposure to secondhand smoke causes approximately 7,330 lung cancer deaths among nonsmoker every year.” Non-smokers are being affected by second-hand smoke or so-called Indirect smoking, even though it was not even their choice. There is no excuse to tolerate so many deaths and many others associated diseases. Why should others pay for your choice? The following picture describes how tobacco smoking affects almost every organ in the body, with same consequences on direct smokers and second-hand smokers.

Tabacco3

Flash news, Cigarettes cause cancer! It has the potential to develop cancer on the smoker. 600 different ingredients are found on a single cigarette, creating more than 7000 chemical when burned with 69 of them to be known to cause cancer according to the American Lung Association. These all 69 carcinogen substances are breathed too by those who happened to be around. While Smoking is a choice, breathing is not. There is a thin line between own rights and others. Second had smoke is proven to be affecting others. It kills people who do not smoke. According to many researches, second hand smoking is as dangerous as smoking a cigarette. There is a double morale when talking about the impact of cigarette on others. When removing asbestos, a mineral used in construction before it was banned for being directly associated to cancer, high security measures are taken to minimize its impact/exposure on the neighbors. Why is asbestos taken too serious and cigarettes smoke to lightly. Both of them cause cancer, both travel thru the air to the recipient body developing same health problems. If the Law requires to guarantee the minimal exposure of neighbor to asbestos while removing them, why should not cigarette be threatened the same way?

Since smoking is an option, diseases associated with it are avoidable or easy to minimize. CNN.com states that “Five things kill more people in the United States than anything else: heart disease, cancer, lung disease such as emphysema and chronic bronchitis, stroke and unintentional injuries such as those on roads or caused by medication overdoses.” Tobacco is the major factor of 4 out of these 5 diseases, costing the U.S. around 96 billion dollars. Added the health related cost of those who happen to live with a tobacco related disease, the number goes from 96 to 193 billion dollars. Those are 193 billon dollars not invested on transportation, public safety, education or rural development, making the impact of cigarettes even bigger. The usage of the phrase “It is my right” is costing the country 35 dollars [on health related cost] per pack of cigarettes smoked. Numbers do not lie, tax money is going to the wrong necessities.

Tabacco1

Tabacco2

Different kind of methods have been implanted over the years to minimize tobacco consumption and the effects that it has over people. Separating smokers from non-smokers, air purifiers, higher taxes on tobacco or educational classes are some measurement taken that did not have the instant impact that smoking-bans indoor had. The Mayo Clinic Nicotine Dependence Center from Minnesota, made a research in a 36 month period to analyze the real impact of smoking bans. The Olmsted County was chosen and analyzed a 18-month period before bans were implemented and 18-months after. Results were encouraging. The admissions for Myocardial infarction declined by 33% and the incidence of sudden cardiac death went down 17%, both per 100,000 population observed. Concluding that there is an inverse relationship between bans and disease-related to tobacco, and second-hand smoke has to be avoided by those who do not smoke and those with coronary heart disease. Let’s make smoking a habit socially incorrect .

Smoking bans work because make it difficult to smoke in the short run and help them quit in the long run. When the number of smokers drop, second-hand smokers drop as well making it a win-win situation. With fewer places to smoke, smokers tend to stop the habit. To stop cigarette commercialization is not a real goal or not now at least, but to minimize it consumption is a good place to start. If we want to increase The United States’ overall health, makes no sense to keep wasting money fighting the illness, but to attack what it seems to be causing it. To smoke is a right and that is understandable and should be respected, even though 80% in the country do not smoke. That is why to ban smoking indoor or prohibit smoking in public places make perfect sense.


Debate chosen: It’s good that restaurants ban smoking indoors

References:

  1. http://www.lung.org/lung-disease/lung-cancer/resources/facts-figures/lung-cancer-fact-sheet.html
  2. http://www.cancer.org/research/infographicgallery/tobacco-related-healthcare-costs
  3. http://www.lung.org/stop-smoking/about-smoking/facts-figures/whats-in-a-cigarette.html
  4. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sABLOElBxwk
  5. http://www.cnn.com/2014/05/01/health/frieden-preventable-deaths/
  6. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23108571

Should Video Games Be Used For Education?

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During the month of October in the year 1951, man had created the first video game. People were amazed at the way technology could be utilized and reinvented. From that day on, video games were used for entertainment by young and old alike. As time passed, video games had become more developed and graphic and memory capabilities of these console games expanded. It was unthinkable to be able to have such prime entertainment in the comfort of your own home. Video games were able to captivate the mind and hold the attention of a person for hours on end. Some began to think that video games wasted the potential of the mind. So why not use video games as a catalyst for educational development? I have been a big fan of video games for majority of my childhood and believe that if educational video games were used in a school environment that it would have motivated me, as well as other students, to push ourselves forward in a learning environment while enjoying the process at the same time. I believe that allowing video games in educational environments has many benefits and could possibly change the way school is looked at forever.

A rarely known fact about playing video games is that video games contain many health benefits for children. It is already common knowledge that video games help strengthen hand eye coordination. Unknown to most, a recent study at the University at Rochester in New York has proven that video games also help to strengthen visual skills. 2 researchers at the university had studied a child who played an action video game called Medal of Honor. The fast paced action game actual strengthened the boy’s ability to process visual images at a faster rate. The researchers also predict that video games can be used to help strengthen the sight of the visually impaired. Visual skills and hand eye coordination are among the many benefits video games have in a child’s development.

Video games have the ability to capture the attention of the user. According to www.pamf.org: “Video games are a unique form of entertainment because they encourage players to become a part of the game’s script. Although video games have been available for more than 30 years, today’s sophisticated video games require players to pay constant attention to the game. Players engage on deeper level—physically and emotionally—than people do when watching a movie or TV.” Video games are able to contain one’s attention the same way that cinematography does. It is the fact that it contains so much realism mixed with the fact that the entertainment is so abnormal compared to our everyday lives mixed with different types of action elements (whether racing, shooting, swordplay or fighting) that really enables the user to be immersed in such an exciting form of entertainment. Video games have such a strong power of captivation that if it were to be applied in an educational environment, students will never want to stop learning. It is difficult to picture considering the fact that when people think of school they imagine miserable students being forced against their will to learn things that they do not care about and just trying their best to make it through the day. With video games in place in classrooms, learning becomes a little more bearable and students will want to learn rather than feel as though they are being forced.

It is no secret to anyone that video games, simply put, provide entertainment for children. Polls show that 97% of teenagers in the United States play video games. Video games are able to provide a prime form of entertainment in the comfort of peoples’ own homes. Video games captivate the mind of its young players and send them into a world where anything is possible. So why not incorporate such entertainment into the classroom. School doesn’t need to live in the past like it used to. School has been the same since the establishment of the educational system. With all the technological advances we have been blessed with over the years, no one has taken the steps to try and incorporate a fun and entertaining way of educating students. Student who play video games in the classroom with enjoy learning and continue learning in a fun and efficient environment.

A very popular genre of video games is puzzle games. Puzzle games help exercise the mind and stimulate creativity. Puzzle games are no easy feat and take a lot of practice and perserverence. These ideas can also be applied to a classroom atmosphere. Psychcentral.com states: “The more adolescents reported playing strategic video games, such as role-playing games, the more they improved in problem solving and school grades the following year, according to a long-term study published in 2013.” Video games help teach children real world skills necessary to thrive such as the problem solving skills stated in the article. Video games promote healthy development and can be used as a key resource in skills to help develop their skills in an efficient and timely manner.

A common stereotype involving video games is that video games promote social isolation. To the contrary, video games have enhanced so greatly over the years that it allows for children to cooporate in video games together in order to solve different types of problems. Some video games, as a way of promoting socialization and cooporation, only let you advance to certain parts of the game with a 2nd player available. Psychcentral states: “More than 70 percent of gamers play with a friend and millions of people worldwide participate in massive virtual worlds through video games such as “Farmville” and “World of Warcraft,” the article noted. Multiplayer games become virtual social communities, where decisions need to be made quickly about whom to trust or reject and how to lead a group, the authors said. People who play video games, even if they are violent, that encourage cooperation are more likely to be helpful to others while gaming than those who play the same games competitively, a 2011 study found.” Aside from the basic education a student would receive from video games, they also instill proper morals in children that are to exemplified.

Another monumental benefit to video games is that it engages, and even improves, one’s ability to retain memory. Its so common to find a child who may not remember what happened during the civil war for his or her history test but is able to remember the the cinematic ending to The Legend of Zelda on the Nintendo 64. According to CBS.com, a study was performed with senior citizens who were told to play video games for a certain amount of time for a month. Concluding the experiment, the study proved that video games actually helped the citizens multitasking capabilities and their ability to remember different things. According to the article: “Researchers at UC San Francisco say video games may offset or even reverse the negative effects of aging on seniors’ brains. According to the study’s authors, the research provides evidence that video games can alter the brain’s plasticity, or its ability to change functionally over time.” If this were applied to a scholastic environment, students  would be able to retain vital information in their minds which would enhance their performance as well as their test scores. This can prove to be an exciting and significant improvement in educational standards.

 

As clearly stated above, there is no reason why video games should not be used for educational means in a scholastic environment. As a society, we need to realize that times are changing and that media is the way of the future. The world is in need of an educational reform. It is because we are so used to the olden educational system of days past that people fear the change. What they fail to realize is that incorporation of entertaining media can drastically enhance the educational system. We must learn to accept change so that we can continue the trend of evolving as a species. It is a simple matter of time before people come to realize that times are changing and that it may well be for the better so we better start accepting it because they will happen sooner or later.

 

Bibliography:

http://www.aps.org/publications/apsnews/200810/physicshistory.cfm

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2003/05/0528_030528_videogames.html

http://www.pamf.org/parenting-teens/general/media-web/videogamehtmls.

http://psychcentral.com/news/2013/11/26/video-games-help-boost-social-memory-cognitive-skills/62537.html

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/study-video-games-sharpen-seniors-multitasking-memory-skills/

Alcohol should be illegal

Life is sweet, precious, and sacred. Preserving life should be one of our daily sacrifices. We can do this by making sure that we eat healthy, drink healthy, and avoid an unhealthy habits. What we consume, be it food or drink, has the tendency to determine how long we will live. Many people have lost their lives because of what they eat or drink. Drinks such as alcohol has the potential to cut lives short, destabilize families, and send may people frequently to the hospital. This is why I am in favor of the argument that alcohol should be illegal. I choose this debate because of the negative effects of alcohol such as alcohol related accidents, family or domestic violence, and health issues.

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Many people, young and old, have been involved in an unnecessary car accidents due to alcohol. Alcohol impaired our judgment and driving a car requires us to be in our right senses. A minor misjudgment by a driver cannot only lead to car accidents but can also cost lives in that regard. A drunken driver does not only put him/herself in danger but also put others as well. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), about 30 people die daily in the United States in alcohol related car crashes. Also, more than $59 billion are spent yearly in alcohol related crashes. This money could well be save and use to better our lives if alcohol is made illegal.

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In 2012, according to CDC, alcohol related car accidents cost about 10,322 lives in the U.S.; this amounted to about 31% of all the car related deaths. About 20% of children from ages 0 to 14 died in alcohol related car crashes in 2012. Out of the 239 child passengers age 0 to 14 that died in alcohol related car accidents in 2012, about 124 of them were in cars being driven by an alcohol impaired driver. Almost half of those killed each year in alcohol related motorcycle accidents were 40 years or older. Many have been attacked and killed by an alcoholic while walking on the street.

In order to make our roads safer, alcohol should have zero tolerance in our present society. The above argument clearly shows that it is a threat to our lives and our mode of transportation. A society free of alcohol is always safe and healthy.

Alcohol also instigate family or domestic violence. Child and spouse abuse are often attributed to the offender being drunk. A lot of families are no longer together because either of the spouses or both are alcoholic(s). Because of the addictive nature of alcohol, people often abuse it because the more you drink, the more you want to drink. An alcoholic husband often abuse his wife and children and vice versa. Children who drink alcohol have high chances of assaulting their parents and others. They also have high chances of engaging in criminal activities and the potential to use alcohol complementary substances such as illegal drugs. All these could and have resulted to a broken home and many divorces.

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Reports from the Australian Government Institute of Criminology (AIC) stated that one in four Australians were verbally abused by an alcoholic; 13% were made to fell fearful by an alcoholic, and 4.5% of all intimate partner homicide are alcohol related. Additionally, the National Council on Alcoholism and Drug Dependence (NCADD) reported that 37% of rapes and sexual assaults in the United States are alcohol related same goes with 15% of all the robberies, 27% of all the aggravated assaults, and 25% of simple assaults. Because of the contribution of alcohol to family and domestic violence, child and spouse abuse and neglect, rapes, robberies, and many more, criminalization of alcohol is important for overall safety and well-being of the  family and the society in general.

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Health issues caused by alcoholic intake is quite alarming. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIH) reported that alcohol causes brain malfunction by interfering with its communication pathways thereby disrupting mood and behavior. This, by extension, can lead to brain damage and memory lost. Alcohol also causes stroke, high blood pressure, heart failure, liver problems, cancer etc., and they all result to deaths. In the same vein, the World Health Organization (WHO) warned that alcohol drinking carries an adverse health issues that often result to death. Also, social consequences with regard to alcohol intoxicating, toxic and “dependence-producing properties” are averse. According to WHO, 3.3 million deaths, about 5.9% of all global deaths, in 2012 are related to alcohol; among them, 7.6% are males while 4.5 are females. In 2012, about 139 million net “disability-adjusted life years (DALY), or 5.1% of all the burden of disease and injury in the world are related to alcohol. Based on these facts, I strongly support making alcohol illegal.

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In conclusion, because alcohol is a threat to human lives, dangerous to our society, families, and health, criminalization of alcohol is of great importance in order to save millions of lives and promotes long life and prosperity. All the evidence provided above supports this proposition.

References:

http://www.niaaa.nih.gov/alcohol-health/alcohols-effects-body

http://www.who.int/topics/alcohol_drinking/en/

http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/impaired_driving/impaired-drv_factsheet.html

https://ncadd.org/learn-about-alcohol/alcohol-and-crime

http://www.aic.gov.au/publications/current%20series/rip/1-10/04.html

Drug Legalization

pot pic drug legalization

A strongly debated issue in today’s culture is drug legalization. Drug legalization is the process of removing or reducing certain laws that prohibit one to use, sell, or possess illegal drugs. There are several methods to approach this issue: controlled legalization, full legalization, or drug decriminalization. Many supporters as well as opponents exist within the realm of all 3 methods. For all supporters and opponents in a realm of 3 methods, there exists an approximately even percentage for those in favor and those against drug legalization. These 3 methods are unknown solutions to a problem that is dependent on their continuities; that is, if and only if their nature can remain consistent without any sudden breaks for a finite amount of time will they transform the issue for the greater good. The relevance of drug legalization is evident when analyzing the current crime rates, the number of drug-related deaths, and the children who experiment with drugs, but this topic has a greater scope than a few examples. Independent of the possible number of combinations of the examples, their paths all intersect with marijuana being the point of intersection. It is difficult to discuss drug legalization without mentioning the impact and influence that marijuana has emitted. To instantiate a position on the topic of drug legalization, it is safe to say that full legalization is an erroneous solution in its entirety.

Controlled legalization is a straightforward term whose definition deserves no explication. What is most notable is that this operation abstracts full legalization from the set of 3 operations. However, it agrees with drug decriminalization in the sense that it also abstracts full legalization. Therefore, the size of the set of 3 operations can be reduced to 2. But this streamlines the problem that is trying to be solved. A smaller set equals a faster analysis, thus a more efficient execution. The operation that was once increasing the time complexity is now expunged from the set; it is lost in space. To think of space is to think of a curve, which implies a path. Where does controlled legalization’s path lead one to? Is this path constantly changing with time or can its algorithms remain continuous? One component of the controlled legalization method is the limitations on advertising. In a nation where the youth are our future, it is wise to restrict their visual and auditory senses from harmful drugs. A latent veracity will only stall the inevitable. It will only control the inevitable. This is exactly what this method can accomplish. Additional components consist of age limitations and limitations to the overall amount of drugs purchased.

If one is arrested for illegal drug use, distribution, or possession and the consequence is prison time, what does this person hope for? Surely, it is not a “get-out-of-jail-free” card because that is not thinking realistically. This person would hope for less severe consequences. This is an abstraction of drug decriminalization. This approach is logically lucid. If selling cocaine lands someone in jail for 6 months, make it 5. If overdosing on meth puts someone in the drug rehabilitation center for treatment, then send him there with a pack of cigarettes. If a teenager is caught smoking pot by the cops, then just tell him that pot is bad.

Marijuana has been affecting the United States in a negative way. Teenagers smoke pot in high school. More people on the streets are getting arrested for selling pot. Pot is an unhealthy way of living. Some states have already legalized marijuana. Imagine a world in which marijuana is legal. A world in which everyone is always high is not a world worth living. “Legal marijuana use means more marijuana use, and more marijuana use means above all more teen marijuana use.” Try to contemplate a world in which all of the youth are high, and workers are extremely inefficient because they, too, are high.

To take an example in regard to marijuana, suppose a highly ambitious college student who had to live on campus for several reasons got roommates who were pot heads. However, he did not find out until a few weeks into the semester. If he tells them to stop, and they do not, then he has a few options. He can switch rooms, but that almost always leads to worse roommate and the amount of time required to move all of his belongings would be a nightmare . He can call the cops on them, but the cops cannot search anybody without a search warrant, even if they smell the pot. The roommates will most likely stop, but they will become vindictive, which would be worse. What is most important is that this highly ambitious student has a tough challenge that will prevent him from achieving his goals. This situation would be even more worse if pot was legal.

teenWeedPic

With tobacco and alcohol already legal, it does not make sense to legalize anymore drugs. Tobacco and alcohol are the cause for so many deaths. Legalizing more deadlier drugs would be equivalent to letting most of the country commit suicide. “Nevertheless, a given dose of cocaine or crack is far more dangerous than a drink of alcohol. Alcohol has an addiction rate of 10 percent, whereas cocaine has an addiction rate as high as 75 percent.” It affects everybody. “Don’t tell me that drugs only hurt the user – Tell that to a crack baby. Tell that to a woman who is raped by her boyfriend while he was high on PCP. Or tell that to the six year old that is raped by that same guy….Tell that to the taxpayers who will be paying out the wazoo for higher insurance rates, more taxes for drug rehabilitation programs, and more money for court cases due to the increased number of drug related offenses.”

Drugs are used to help people be happy. When people are sad, they take drugs to give themselves a thrill. They use drugs as a way ease the social tension. All of these reasons to use drugs can be accomplished in a way that does not have a high possibility for overdosing or dying.

Suppose that drug legalization was enacted. Then suppose that it was a complete disaster. How would the country come back from that? Is it feasible to just turn back on everything? Will it be too late? It is too risky.

Full legalization is not the correct path to pursue when handling the issue of drug legalization. Controlled legalization and drug decriminalization are more effective methods. Marijuana is a juggernaut in the debate of drug legalization. When looking at all the damage that tobacco and alcohol have caused, it is difficult to fathom why full legalization is even a consideration. People use drugs in ways to help themselves, but these ways can be accomplished in a more productive way without the risk of overdosing or death. For many reasons, the government may legalize drugs in some way, but they cannot give up and enact full legalization. Controlled legalization or drug decriminalization are the best methods to solve the big issue of drug legalization.

Bibliography

1. Jacobs, J. (1990). Imagining drug legalization. Public Interest, (101), 28-42.

2. Johnson, P. (2013). The War On Drugs: A Defining Moment. Forbes, 191(4), 34.

3. Pot and public health. (2014). Christian Century, 131(15), 7-9.

4. Stacy, D. a., Nguyen, J. j., & Block, W. w. (2014). Drinking Smoke. Journal Jurisprudence, 23243-253.

My Take on Capital Punishment

I will be engaging the issue of capital punishment, as proposed in the following debate: http://www.debate.org/debates/Banning-the-death-penelty/1/. The debate is centered around the outlawing of capital punishment, or as the debate states “banning the death penalty”. The pro side utilizes mostly hypothetical and philosophical ideas to argue their case, the con side does the same with a single quote from the department of justice as statistical support. I chose this debate because I feel both sides took a very simplistic view of an extremely complex issue, while getting sidetracked, and missing several key topics relevant to the discussion of capital punishment. In my blog assignment I will attempt to communicate the ideas I feel are relevant to the debate, especially those that were not proportionately elaborated on to their importance of the topic. Throughout my everyday life, formal education, and casual self-education I have come across many intelligent discussions of the death penalty; that accurately reflect my opinion on the subject, that capital punishment is immoral and unjust, and I will use them as support for stating my position. My position is that capital Punishment is immoral because of the discriminatory and malicious attitudes it causes to be prominent in our culture and unjust because it doesn’t solve any aspect of the problem that the original crime created.

The side that is pro-banning the death penalty, justifies their position with ideas that the death penalty does not take the moral high ground, leave room for sympathy, set an example, solve the root of the issue, or address the inequality behind crimes worthy of capital punishment. And while these are good support for his or her position, the elaboration is weak, poorly worded, and only makes use of personal examples and hypothetical situations as support.

The side that is against banning the death penalty also takes a very simplistic approach that is essentially an eye for an eye, that sees those who commit crimes worthy of capital punishment as essentially unworthy, immoral, wastes of society and by taking their lives are improving the welfare of the rest of society.
I will begin by countering the points made by the individual that is against banning the death penalty. When he or she states:

“For people to have an appreciation for ‘being above them’ they wouldn’t have committed murder in the first place. They know (unless they are mentally incompetent for which they are then not held accountable)that the world as a whole does not advocate murder by the actions and laws of the citizenry. So the idea of ‘setting an example’ is lost on them as they don’t respect it and commit murder anyway.”

The argument here is basically stating that those individuals that commit crimes worthy of capital punishment, are not capable of recognizing society taking the moral high ground by not compensating a wrong with another wrong, in this case death for death. He or she is making the assumption in his argument that all capital punishment crimes are pre-meditated and intentional, that the person guilty of committing the crime was completely cognizant of the repercussions. This is not true of many crimes that result in a death and is exemplified by the different legal degrees and according punishments of crimes resulting in death, first degree murder is the only crime that fits the above understanding of capital punishment crimes but crimes that result from intense emotional reaction are also punishable by death. This attitude also ascribes a personality to the person who committed the crime, that they are equal to the crime they committed, but a much more optimistic outlook and one that I believe is put forth by author, lawyer, and professor Bryan Stevenson; that “each of us is worth more than the worst thing we’ve ever done” (15:20). You cannot sum up a person by their lowest actions, because just as every person has done wrong, every person has done right. When combining the two issues I have raised with the quotation it reveals the attitude put forth in the above quote is blinding and makes it acceptable to put a person to death by equating them to being nothing but a murderer, nothing but societal waste, someone incapable of growth, redemption, and recognition of society not giving up on them.

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/bryan_stevenson_we_need_to_talk_about_an_injustice.html

And so instead of “subscrib[ing] to the ‘eye for an eye’, ‘tooth for a tooth’ mentality… [Because] with death there is no possibility of parole, escape, sentence overturning on technicalities, etc.” as the argument states. I feel we should shift directions and recognize that with death we are also giving up. Our current philosophy “does nothing for no one” it does not deter crimes, it does not help the victim of a crime deal with their loss, it does not create a community which values human life, in all it doesn’t solve the problems of the crime or what led to the crime. Instead of dealing swift punishment as exemplified when the author states those found guilty should be swiftly executed. “Found guilty, goodbye… [to] the non-deserving.” Instead we “need to find ways to embrace challenges, problems, an suffering because ultimately our humanity depends on each other’s humanity” and our current punishment system with its ideology of dealing with results rather than the source of capital punishment crimes, is wrong and reinforces a disconnect of our people rather than an interdependent cooperation. And it is only through our recognition and honest confrontation of these problems, united that we can eventually address the root of the problem; by simply removing the problem from society via the death penalty we are sweeping the underlying issues under the rug.

These underlying issues is my belief on how we significantly decrease the amount of crimes worthy of capital punishment, not by enforcing the death penalty after the crime has been committed, but instead by recognizing patterns of those who are committing these crimes. Firstly by doing what Mr. Bryan Stevenson suggests and recognizing the problem and engaging in clear, honest communication for effective means to solve it, something our current system is not doing.

Secondly, I introduce Mr. David R. Row lawyer, law professor, and author on what he feels is the common corner that both advocates and opponents on the death penalty will agree is that we should work on preventing the death of an innocent person in the first place. And this is something I agree with.

https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/david_r_dow_lessons_from_death_row_inmates.html

The next question is how we do this, first we must recognize the common pattern that “80% of people on death row were in the juvenile justice system”, if we could somehow reach these offenders at a young age and prevent only half of them from committing the crimes that lead to their placement on death row that would be a 40% decrease in capital punishment crimes. Under our current system the FBI has only seen an 16.9% decrease in murder and non-negligent crime rate over the past 10 years.
http://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2012/crime-in-the-u.s.-2012/tables/1tabledatadecoverviewpdf/table_1_crime_in_the_united_states_by_volume_and_rate_per_100000_inhabitants_1993-2012.xls#overview

Also from an economic standpoint “…for every 15,000 dollars that we spend intervening in the lives of economically and otherwise disadvantaged kids in those earlier chapters, we save 80,000 dollars in crime-related costs down the road. Even if you don’t agree that there’s a moral imperative that we do it, it just makes economic sense.”

It is then obvious that prevention is our best means of action to do the most good, if we can do so effectively, and in order to effectively prevent we must cast out mindsets that a person who committed a crime is nothing but a fruitless, criminal. And since the attack should be focused on the juvenile system, we must analyze the inequalities and the factors that lead to juvenile crime such as home life, disproportionate racial representation of juvenile inmates, types of crimes leading to youth incarceration, and alternatives to incarceration for the youth that is instead focused on rehabilitation.

We are incarcerating 40% of our youth based on crimes that are not clear threats to public safety, while I am not establishing a causal link between these 40% of non-violent offenders and the 80% of death row inmates that are youth offenders, I am arguing an overlap is likely and this serves as evidence of the inadequacies of our current system. There must be a better solution to TEACH the youth about the consequences of their actions and a better punishment methods to deter them. Currently, punishment teaches nothing and only lead to re-incarceration and handicaps placed on those incarcerated. The way our current legal system is set up, with probation, parole, heavy fines/legal fees/court fees, and decreased civil rights leads to the question; Are we trying to help and improve those that violate the law or Are we attempting separate and subjugate them? There are a multitude of solutions, the ones posed by Mr. David R. Row as well as the Annie E. Casey Foundations’s infographic are all ideas we need to explore in order to be able to tackle the problem and prevent our youth from going on to become death row inmates. And while youth incarceration rates are at an all time low in our country now, worldwide we still have the highest youth incarceration rates by far.

Lastly, I engage in answering why we should engage in and focus on preventative measures rather than post-incident punishments. And for that I use this lecture by author and evangelical pastor Richard Duane Warren.
https://embed-ssl.ted.com/talks/rick_warren_on_a_life_of_purpose.html

But before I discuss his ideas I feel it’s important to discuss our current situation, that led to our policy to exist in its current state. Which I feel is summed up excellently in this interview between Jon Stewart and Bryan Stevenson

http://on.cc.com/1sPhJJK

Around the 3:00 minute mark, they discuss how characteristics of millenial culture such as media fear-mongering of certain races as dangerous, combined with the overprotectiveness resulting from smaller families in millenial generations leads to implementation of laws that require mandatory sentences, 3 strikes laws, the war on drugs and in general lead to our system that is now more separation and subjugation rather than rehabilitation and redemption based. Now while this an extremely complex issue that can veer off into arguments about drug legalization, racial profiling, mass incarceration, racial inequality and many other modern issues; I will stay focused on how it applies to capital punishment. Based on the interview with Jon Stewart and Bryan Stevenson, we are currently in an environment that is not conducive to criminals improving themselves and becoming productive members of society. Instead we are in an environment that views criminals as beasts, keeping them on a short leash ready to again strip them of their powers to re-incarcerate and segregate them from productive members of society. Or if they commit a crime to harsh, end their life. But as Pastor Rick Warren so eloquently puts it we need to change how we view the world. We can no longer let fear, bias, and hate guide us. We need to recognize our inherent connection to everyone (through things like the internet and social influence) and how our culture causes us to evaluate the world. “Your worldview, though, does determine everything else in your life, because it determines your decisions; it determines your relationships; it determines your level of confidence. It determines, really, everything in your life. What we believe, obviously — and you know this — determines our behavior, and our behavior determines what we become in life.” Therefor by becoming a society that does not cast down it’s criminals, does not equate them to a beast to be put out of its misery, we take the first step towards solving the root of capital punishment crimes. Only then can we “…look at what’s in your hand — your identity, your influence, your income — and say, “It’s not about me. It’s about making the world a better place.”

Marijuana Legalization

Over the last fews years marijuana has been widely debated. With states like Colorado, Washington, Oregon and Alaska legalizing the recreational use, more states are opening up to the idea. What the big misconception regarding the legalization of marijuana is that all its supporters smoke marijuana and are a bunch of stoner’s and hippy’s, but theres a number of people who do not smoke marijuana and are pro-legalization. They believe it is their right to chose whether they smoke or not smoke, not the decision of elected officials. Some people find medical marijuana extremely beneficial and less harmful than other prescription drugs, but some state’s strict medical laws does not provide patients with a prescription. Then there are those who smoke marijuana because they enjoy its recreations uses. Whether it’s used to compliment a movie or book, or to unwind after a long day.

Marijuana is not the only drug that has been banned from this country before. Alcohol prohibition started in 1920 and was lifted in 1933. During this time alcohol was not impossible to get. People still drank alcohol, but it wasn’t regulated. They didn’t know what they were drinking, similar to how marijuana is now. “Was it really Scotch, or was it industrial alcohol with caramel coloring added for “aging” and iodine for that smoky sea salt taste?” People would go to speakeasies and drink alcohol that was made in a bathtub. It was really disgusting what people were drinking to get drunk. Since alcohol was illegal and people needed to get drunk, there was a market to fill, money was to be made, so the mob stepped in and started bootlegging. There was so much business it quickly became a problem. Today we have Mexican Cartels, dangerous groups of people who are smuggling drugs into this country by means of violence. Legalizing marijuana will play a huge role in stopping the Cartel, and has. “In 2012, a study by the Mexican Competitiveness Institute found that US state legalization would cut into cartel business and take over about 30 percent of their market.” Sinaloa farmers have stopped planting because the profit margin is so low compared to what is was before legalization in Colorado and Washington. Legalizing marijuana would also provide tax revenue, this would help the country out tremendously. In Colorado,” total revenue from marijuana taxes, licenses and fees topped 7 million dollars in June, and is likely to keep rising as more retail outlets enter the market.” Tax revenue is one of the reasons that brought us out of alcohol prohibition.

It has been said that marijuana is addicting and causes dependency. Marijuana does not have any physical addictive properties other than people liking it and its uses. Sure you can abuse marijuana and smoke it all day and not do anything, you can say the same thing about alcohol and a bunch of different things, dangerous and non dangerous. People drink coffee everyday, but no one seems to be worried about America’s caffeine addiction. People are addicted to donut’s and sugar, but that’s okay because caffeine and sugar is a safe drug. I’m not saying that stopping obesity is not on the agenda, but it sure gets a whole lot less attention than the “War on Drugs”.

Saying that marijuana is addictive implies that there is some type of withdrawal. People who drink alcohol in excess have a physical dependence for it. It is dangerous to go from being a heavy alcoholic to quitting cold turkey. The only problem going from a heavy marijuana user to not using it at all, is you’re going to have a lot more time on your hands, you might not know what to do with yourself.

Legalizing marijuana would give patients alternative options of treatment for a number of diseases and medical issues. People who have cancer and are going through chemotherapy experience nausea and loss of appetite. Marijuana has been proven to stimulate appetite and help with nausea. Having cancer and going through chemotherapy is an awful experience. If marijuana helps someone feel better, or helps keep food down, who are we to take that away from people. Patients in states like Texas who do not have medical marijuana, are prohibited from such practices of medicine. Some states have legalized medical marijuana, but they laws are so strict that it only applies to people who are terminally ill and suffer from more sever diseases.

medical-marijuana

Steven suffers from fibromyalgia, Hepatitis C, degenerative spinal disease, spinal stenosis, scoliosis, and arthritis. The medication he is prescribed has adverse affects. Some of his medications he takes puts him at risk for liver failure. He can not sleep at night, has constant paint, and muscle spasms. He’s used marijuana before to treat his diseases, and it has been a really big help to him. He can take less pain medication and can manage his pain better. 

One Missouri College Student uses marijuana to cope with his mental illness and high anxiety. Smoking marijuana significantly helps lower his anxiety. Marijuana helps get him through his day without having to take dangerous addictive perscription medications.

Justin is a 22 year old man who suffers from severe stomach pains and is waken up early in the morning by his stomach pains and runs to the bathroom every 20 minutes. His stomach lining is deteriorating and causes all his problems. He was been hospitalized twice for severe episodes.” I didn’t have health insurance at the time, so hospital bills are piling up, and there is no prescription medication that effectively treats the disorder, which my doctors believe is Crohn’s Disease. I’ve even taken drugs that are given to cancer patients to treat the effects of chemotherapy, but they have not worked.” The first time he smoked marijuana, his symptoms instantly vanished. He was able to enjoy food and sleep comfortably, not bothered with severe stomach pains.

These are just a few of the many medical stories, where marijuana helped ease their pain. I just don’t see anything wrong with a “drug” that has been helping people when nothing else was working. You would think that marijuana helping people and generating tax revenue would lead to the widespread legalization of marijuana, so what is the problem?

People believe that if you legalize marijuana there will be an increase of motor vehicle accidents. Obviously if you take any kind of drug that impairs you, you should not operate a car. There are plenty of legal drugs and medications that you are not supposed to drive while on them, why is marijuana different. Marijuana being illegal is not going to stop people from driving high. People are going to do it either way, just like people drive drunk. If we’re worried about motor accidents, alcohol should be illegal. “According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) 33,561 people died in traffic crashes in 2012 in the United States (latest figures available), including an estimated 10,322 people who died in drunk driving crashes, accounting for 31% of all traffic deaths that year.” This is outrageous, if anti-marijuana advocates want to prevent drug related car accidents, they should put their attention on making alcohol illegal, but that will never happen again.

People deciding to drive high should not be a reason for it to be illegal for everyone. Driving high is a choice, a bad one, the individual makes that call. There are people who make bad decisions, like smoking marijuana and driving a car, and then there are people who smoke marijuana responsibly. People will abuse anything and get in trouble, people who are smart and chose not to abuse something, should not be punished for other people’s mistakes.

One of the most important reasons I am for the legalization of marijuana is because petty marijuana charges are ruining lives of good kids. Lets start off ripping apart the war on drugs. The amount of money spent annually on the war on drugs is more than 51 billions dollars. That nine zeros… Why are we spending so much money on a war that can’t be won. People are going to do drugs whether it is legal or not, there is nothing stopping people. Let’s say your at a party and someone offers you marijuana, no one is going to shoot back, “No thank you, I don’t want to get arrested.” They might say that they don’t smoke, or they are not comfortable with it. I’m not saying that you’re not going to get arrested if you smoke marijuana. Now if you decide to get into a car and smoke marijuana with the same group of friends, the likelihood of being arrested is extremely higher. People who are get arrested for marijuana usually don’t get busted in a house. Unless they’re selling it out of that house. People arrested for possession are smoking it in public places; and a lot of these kids are getting pulled over late at night, and the police officer tries to intimidate you into consenting to a vehicle search. A lot of the times kids don’t know there rights, they don’t know you can say no to a police officer. For the lack of their constitutional knowledge, they are going to jail for a little bit of weed.

 

Your average recreational smoker, might be someone who might be pursuing an education, has ambition and is an overall good person. These are not the people who should have their record tarnished and hurt their future employment. One might argue that they shouldn’t be smoking marijuana in the first place. One independent study by a college student surveyed students asking them if they smoked marijuana. About 70% of them said yes. So do you really think that 70% of those college students are bad kids and shouldn’t be smoking marijuana because they might…. get arrested. No. The fact is kids are stupid and sometimes make bad decisions, we all make bad decisions sometimes, were human, they shouldn’t haunt us for the rest of our lives and prevent us from success.

To conclude, marijuana is a positive and beneficial “drug” that does more good than harm. It’s time we stop being so political and start doing what is obviously the right decision and legalize marijuana and save billions of dollars a year, and generate trillions in tax revenue.

Bibliography

“Drug War Statistics.” Drug Policy Alliance. N.p., 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

“Drunk Driving Fatalities – National Statistics.” Century Council. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Nov. 2014.

Ingraham, Christophher. “Colorado Marijuana Tax Revenues Surge as Recreational Sales Surpass Medical.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 11 Sept. 2014. Web. 17 Nov. 2014.

“Medical Testimonials.” ShowMe Cannabis. N.p., 2014. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

O’Connor, James, and Zach Raymond. “Up In Smoke: 71% of College Students Have Smoked Marijuana.” Connecting Art. N.p., 24 July 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

O’Hara, Marry Emily. “Legal Pot in the US Is Crippling Mexican Cartels | VICE News.” VICE News RSS. N.p., 8 May 20114. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

Peck, Garrett. “For Marijuana Legalization, Lessons From Prohibition.” The New York Times. N.p., 22 May 2013. Web. 20 Nov. 2014.

These Laws are Wee-diculous

by Nicole Johnson

Check out this video! It might open up your mind to the discussion we’re about to dive into!

The decision to make marijuana legal again after it has been so many years since it was deemed illegal, will inevitably be much harder and cause twice the controversy. However the matter of the fact is, no matter how much Governor Christie is displeased with the statement in the video that, “the legalization is inevitable,” the changes within our culture as a society most definitely are inevitable. Therefore, the government, if it is true to its definition of serving for the people, should be keeping up with these changes in society before anyone else!

The re-legalization of marijuana is going to be a process in which many scenarios and situations are going to have to be considered. The different state governments that have not made marijuana legal are being placed under pressure to act fast, as the legalization clearly holds, as seen in the touching video above, high priority for many families. Marijuana affects almost all Americans because of the high popularity of its usage country-wide and is an issue that should continued to be pushed forward at the podiums of justice.

The most obvious reason as to why marijuana should be legalized is the mere fact that the drug alcohol, which has far worse consequences than weed, has been legal in our country for years. I agree with fellow blogger, William Lolis in his blog post, “Marijuana: The Steps Towards Legalization” that a drug that like alcohol that is responsible for several thousands of death a year should not be legal over a drug that has no documentation of being a cause of death. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that more than 37,000 annual U.S. deaths, including more than 1,400 in Colorado, are attributed to alcohol use alone. Meanwhile, the CDC does not even have a category for deaths caused by the use of marijuana. The image below helps separate the two drugs and lists clear facts about the effects of each compared side by side, for those whom are skeptical.

effects_alcohol_vs_marijuana

It does not make sense that we allow one drug that is so detrimental to our society and us as humans continue to run ramped across the country but yet had so much hostile opposers that with their opposition are taking away the chance at life for individuals such as baby, Vivian in the video above.

In the controversial article, “Why Marijuana Should be Legal, and Expensive” posted on The Atlantic magazine website by Olga Khazan, the question that stood out to me as an important factor in this debate was, “Is there a way to let adults toke while keeping marijuana out of the hands of high schoolers?” One prominent issue that arises from this is situation is whether or not  the government should have control to intervene on behalf on those American adults who are considered irresponsible, in the eyes of society. Would they be able to monitor their teenagers enough and prevent them from gaining access the marijuana? On the other hand it is completely unfair to those parents who are responsible enough to smoke without their kids being around or prehaps at an hour of the night when they are alone and will not be interrupted by their children. I agree that there should be an age limit on the consumption of marijuana so that teens can have a fully developed brian out of their adolescence stage and into their adulthood and then make the decision is they want to becomes users of the drug. That being said when it comes to the decision of marijuana being the only way of saving one’s life, there should not be any age restrictions.

To go hand in hand with the point right before, if there are teens who do get into marijuana, in a state without a legalization law, then the process of decriminalization should definitely be considered. having a criminal record for possession of weed, just seems so miniscule to the numerous amount of gang member s running ramped through certain neighborhoods putting the lives of many innocent people in danger. Due to the fact that I am very much on the fence about this issue, in my opinion the idea of drug decriminalization as opposed to complete and full legalization of marijuana seems like a promising change to make. The amount of teenagers getting charged with possession is high and happening daily. The feeble generosity of the court system to grant a conditional discharge to first time offenders, has been an important option as a way out of inheriting a criminal record for many teens. It is often that the prosecutor of a court will speak to teenagers who slipped up this one time and got caught smoking with a group of friends around the way somewhere. Along with the statistical information, the following statement “In sum, there is little evidence that decriminalization of marijuana use necessarily leads to a substantial increase in marijuana use.” – National Academy of Sciences, Institute of Medicine (IOM). 1999  This quote proves to show that just because the punishments will be less harsh and not place such a strain on young people who are just starting to build a future for themselves.

Generic-Marijuana-Arrest-graphic-31353885_63104_ver1.0_640_480

The background as to why marijuana became illegal in the first place is about as concrete as a foam ball pit in the arcades. In the article, “Why was Marijuana made illegal in the first place?” by Tom Hoff, he dives a little more depth into the reasoning behind the illegalization of marijuana since 1910. Hoff goes on to reveal racist remarks that at the time had very influential meaning to the point in the eye of any people living in this era. Below in an excerpt form the article that highlights the point I am referring to.

Check out this racist quite from the authority on drugs in 1930s, Harry J. Anslinger of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics (the original DEA):

“Most marijuana smokers are Negroes, Hispanics, jazz musicians, and entertainers. Their satanic music is driven by marijuana, and marijuana smoking by white women makes them want to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and others.”

In addition, the different meditation and focus methods that people participate in should be taken into account. Many users of marijuana look to it in order to relax after a long day similar to a working business women downing a bottle of red wine, as we see so eloquently played out by Keri Washington’s character Olivia pope, in one od televisions’ hottest shows out right now. Or prehaps the way a man would come home from work and poor a shot of scotch in his cup as done by President Fitz in the abc family show Scandal as well. These are okay to show even though, meanwhile the relaxation factor of marijuana is completely dismissed and many people have this option taken away from them as well as their right to make a decision as to which stress reliever they choose to use.

As “One Nation Under God” it is crucial that our states across the country begin to learn to conform and do what is best for the greater good and make decisions more promptly so that we are not at war with one another over issues that should never be drawn out and pushed to the side for as long as they have been. At one time, us people lived with this hemp plant as means for many different purposes for multiple resources and although we have evolved from the days of it being completely legal, in the end we will never know how much better our society can be, if we do not try life will marijuana legal across the U.S.