This animated short picks apart marijuana prohibition, and shows why cannabis should be legalized here in the United States. Without using any imagery that directly implies cannabis, .eg. the seven-bladed leaf…etc., the short takes us on a journey where a benign “sunflower” is cherished by humanity and then comes under prohibition. The film makes many points, below are a few.
1. Is marijuana really as safe and fun as it looks in the first few seconds of the video?
Marijuana may not be safe for everyone. But this is also true of alcohol and snowboarding. Alcohol is 8x worse for your health than marijuana. Tobacco is 40x worse. Both of those drugs are legal.
2. How many people have died from using marijuana?
Marijuana has only ever killed one person, but it took half a ton of marijuana bricks and they had to crash into him pretty hard. No one has ever actually died from smoking too much marijuana, because it’s impossible: “a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times the amount of THC in a joint in order to be at risk of dying.”
3. Does marijuana really have value as medicine?
Hundreds of medical journals document the medical benefits of marijuana. Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, recently admitted: “Medical marijuana is not new … There [are] in fact hundreds of journal articles, mostly documenting the benefits.”
4. Could legalizing marijuana really help the government’s finances?
Legalizing marijuana could raise $8.7 billion in taxes. Dr. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economics professor, published a study in 2010 that estimated legalizing marijuana could raise $8.7 billion in federal and state tax revenues. That’s in addition to also saving the billions of dollars spent trying to enforce prohibition.
5. Is the government’s war on drugs as scary, violent, and mean-spirited as depicted?
In 2005, there were 50,000 paramilitary-style police raids on US homes. Dr. Peter Kraska, a graduate professor of criminology, has been keeping his eye on the police. Kraska says the yearly number of paramilitary police raids on homes in the U.S. increased from 3000 in 1981 to more than 50,000 in 2005. That’s almost a thousand every week.
6. Are innocent people really dying in street shoot outs because of drug prohibition?
In Mexico tens of thousands are dying because of drug-related violence. In 2012, the Mexican government reported an official tally of 47,515 people killed in drug-related violence since 2006.
7. Do the police really harass sick and injured people who use marijuana for their pain?
The government spends millions to bully medical marijuana businesses and patients. The Obama Administration has spent nearly $300 million combatting medicinal marijuana in states where it is legal.
8. Is the drug war really turning the U.S. into some kind of police state gulag?
The US has less than 5% of the world’s population, but local, state, and federal governments have locked up 25% of the world’s prisoners. Half a million people were locked up for marijuana offenses in 2008.
9. How does drinking alcohol actually compare with marijuana?
Excessive drinking kills 79,000 in the U.S. each year. The American Journal of Preventive Medicine also reported in 2011: “… in the United States an estimated 79,000 lives are lost annually due to excessive drinking. As terrible as the loss of life is, the full price that society pays is even greater — health care costs rise, property is damaged, productivity is lost, and more.”
10. How do prescription drugs compare with marijuana?
Prescription drugs taken properly killed over 100,000 in the U.S. in 1998. Prescription drugs actually kill more people in the U.S. than traffic accidents. This March, the Los Angeles Times reported: “Drugs overtook traffic accidents as a cause of death in the country in 2009, and the gap has continued to widen.”
11. Will there be a happy ending to our drug war story?
56% percent of U.S. adults wanted to legalize marijuana in 2010. A 2010 AP/CNBC survey estimated that 44% of U.S. adults thought marijuana shouldn’t be treated any differently than alcohol. Another 12% of the sample said marijuana should be treated even more leniently than alcohol.