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Are the Marijuana Wars Over?

Some might say the war in drugs in general is a lost cause and that all effort spent trying to stop drugs from being distributed and consumed by Americans is a colosal waste of time, taxpayer's money and lives - especially those of police officers who have been killed in this ultimately futile pursuit.

Of course there are different arguments against different drugs because of the varying level of danger attributed to each. The arguments for maintaining the prohibition against marijuana are certainly the weakest and originate more in rationalization (the "gateway" drug) than reason.

Marijuana has proven to be one of the least harmful drugs known to man. It is a plant that is simply cultivated, the buds dried and trimmed, sometimes it is aged, and then smoked. Though all smoke effects the lungs, because modern strains of marijuana are stronger than that smoked in Marilynn Monroe's day, must less smoke is now inhaled. There are also tinctures available that allow one to bypass smoking altogether. It is worth repeating that no one in all of history has ever died from an overdose of marijuana. See here for the death rates from marijuana (including as a suspected contributing factor) 1997-2005 vs. death rates from 17 other FDA approved drugs. (Deaths directly attributed to marijuana - 0, Viagra - 2, 254)

It is good to see the government is beginning to respond to the will of the people and is backing off prosecution of medical marijuana in states where it is allowed. The beneficial uses of marijuana, including as therapy for alcoholism, are just now beginning to be explored as more states follow the lead of California, Alaska, Oregon and Colorado. Currently 13 states have already legalized medical marijuana and 2 more, Alabama and Maryland have laws favorable to medical marijuana, but have not totally legalized its use. 15 more states have laws pending which, if passed, would legalize the use of marijuana as medicine.

The marijuana wars may not be over, but the tide is definitely turning in favor of the plant. Were it not for the sheer cowardliness of our elected officials, who are as afraid to be labeled "soft on drugs" as they are of being labeled "Islamophobes," marijuana would probably have been legalized years ago. As it is, the next twenty years will probably see the gradual repeal of the marijuana prohibition in America.