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WATCH: Legalize It?

The basis for marijuana prohibition today is a 1937 court decision that cited a belief that marijuana would cause violence and insanity in the user. Ridiculous. A 1972 federal commission studied marijuana and concluded the substance should be downgraded from its Schedule I classification and de-criminalized. The recommendation was ignored. Medical research shows that marijuana not only doesn’t cause cancer, it can actually help treat certain kinds of tumors. Yet the stigma persists, and the federal government refuses to sponsor trials of the drug to determine its efficacy.

Marijuana policy expert Paul Armentano, Deputy Director of NORML and co-author of Marijuana Is Safer: So Why Are We Driving People to Drink?, appeared on Fox’s Freedom Watch to discuss the issue with host Andrew Napolitano.

AN: The War on Drugs that the federal government has waged, and on which it has spent billions and billions of taxpayer dollars, has been a complete waste of time, money, and effort. Take marijuana, for instance. It’s been grouped together and enforced by the Drug Enforcement Administration with real hardcore drugs like heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. But states like California and soon New Jersey have pretty much legalized marijuana for medicinal purposes. While the federal government contends that something in marijuana has the potential to promote cancer, patients of cancer and other similar ailments actually use marijuana to fight these deadly diseases. So wouldn’t the federal government be better off creating the incentive to empower people to make the right choice, to make their own free choice, rather than persecuting them and prosecuting them for what the feds consider to be the wrong choice?

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