I wish to address myself to the people who lead the world. Just for a moment of your time, if I may.
There is a serious problem with a certain subset of the laws that make up our United States. This problem concerns a grossly unfair and unreasonable misapplication of justice. All you have to do to see it for yourself is get your hands on the two files which correspond to two particular Controlled Substances. I'm sure there's an intern around that can dig that kind of thing up for you. Ask for the files on Alcohol and Marijuana, I'll wait.....
Ok, you have the files in front of you? Read them through; starting at the top where the substance and its effects are detailed, and reading down through the part detailing the position of US federal law on that substance.
Read them both.
What is wrong with this picture? Why is the federal mandate controlling alcohol so much more lenient than the one controlling marijuana? Why are Americans, by federal law, permitted to consume alcohol with relative impugnity, while they face prosecution for consumption of marijuana under any circumstances? If you are not seeing any discrepency here, perhaps your data needs revision:
Alcohol is lethal to humans. Although its medical uses are not non-existant they are rather mundane, in general treating ailments best treated by other substances with similar yet less destructive effects. Alcohol carries a high potential risk for addiction, carries risk for potentially devastating social, psychological and physical side-effects, and can severely hamper motor, cognitive and perceptive function.
Alcohol is also a substance which humanity has imbibed and enjoyed for all of recorded history. It is almost ubiquitous to human culture, including almost all stripes of American culture. It requires minimal infrastructure to produce in small quantities; therefore zero-tolerance control policies are ultimately wasteful and indeed counter-productive, and have been federally recognized as such since 1933.
An American is acting within US federal law when distributing alcohol, after obtaining proper licensing; and Americans are free and clear to possess and consume alcohol, in practically unlimited quantity, so long as they are not operating an automobile after having had too much and they themselves are age 21 or older.
Marijuana, on the other hand, is not lethal to humans. Marijuana's medical uses are also not non-existant; what's more they may be fairly significant. In fact there is strong evidence showing that marijuana has uses in battling the symptoms of particularly debilitating ailments, such as cancer; and due to its mild side-effects relative to other available treatments it has been shown to be decidedly useful in those roles. Like alcohol (and caffeine and sleeping pills) it carries high potential risk for addiction; however unlike alcohol its physical effects, relatively speaking, are quite mild. It has been shown to have relatively minimal effect on motor functions, and while it does have psychological effects evidence strongly suggests these effects are relatively benign even with long-term sustained use. Evidence suggests that when imbibed through inhalation of the smoke, which carries long-term risks regardless of the substance, the physical effects of marijuana are not significantly debilitating in the short-term regardless of quantity. If imbibed using techniques other than inhalation, marijuana's harmful physical effects are practically non-existant. As far as is known a human cannot overdose from consuming marijuana in any form.
Marijuana, as with alcohol, permeates the historical record. The cannabis plant and its many uses have been a staple of almost every culture of humanity. The plant itself is fairly rugged, as plants go, and grows almost anywhere. It is useful to humans directly from seed in a variety of ways, aside from recreation and medication, and it requires literally no infrastructure to produce in small quantities.
Marijuana, despite all this, is controlled with much more draconian efforts than alcohol. It is a Schedule 1 substance under US federal law; meaning absolutely no use, production or sale of any kind. Even the smallest cannabis plant growing wild in the woods, anywhere in the United States, is in violation of this law; and the plant is subject to summary destruction and the owner of the property on which it is growing will be subject to prosecution. Offenders face fines and potential prison time if caught and convicted.
So there we have it. A robust plant, non-lethal to humans, is controlled in its natural state with a vigor that rivals the most deadly and destructive substances known to man; while a lethally destructive metabolic poison is permissable, even in some ways encouraged.
Leaders of the world, how can this be fair? President Obama, how can this be reasonable? How can it be just? Why is marijuana so much more strictly controlled than alcohol? Why, if these questions are "silly" or "non-starters", are easy answers not obvious? Why do I have to ask these questions at all? You will notice that I have used no links and no statistics here. I deemed they were not necessary because everything that I've laid out is general knowledge. Not proven fact, maybe, but still held to be true by a majority of Americans.
Is this not a problem?
Is this not a misapplication of justice?
Is there something I'm missing; some piece of data, classified top secret and hidden from the world, that reveals marijuana to be destructive to the extent that would deserve the control our federal government exerts upon it? That would clear things up, and if it's the case I'd really like to know. (seriously)
Otherwise it makes no sense; yet still it remains the law of the land.
There are reasons, aren't there? Very bad reasons.
For instance: certain entrenched and donation-generous entities stand to lose large quantities of money should marijuana's legal status become more lenient. Lost money leads to displeasure, which is usually voiced through costly ungenerousness.
What has that to do with justice?
For instance: to delve into the motives behind the first efforts at strict control of marijuana, and as it happens into one of the more awful chapters in American political history, in certain cases marijuana use is prevalent within only a small demographic. If, as one of those few people in our country entrusted with the creation of laws, you find this particular demographic undesirable, and if you want them to go away but you don't want to just have the police round them up, you can simply cause marijuana to be illegal to possess, and then you have the police round up the lawbreakers. Problem solved.
What has that to do with justice? Or decency for that matter?
Are we a nation of just laws or unjust laws?
Now, I know there is inertia in politics. I know one cannot just wave a wand and reverse decades of policy, not to mention international treaties. However, the imbalance here is glaringly obvious, or should be so, to anyone of any moral persuasion. Most Americans agree and want the Federal government to end its strict control of the cannabis plant.
What is stopping you from listening? An election year?
Okay, I'll buy that. I can wait.
However, come January 20, 2013 perhaps you should start opening your ears.