Marijuana: our dirty little secret

I have some great news for all of you pot heads out there: marijuana is safer than both alcohol and tobacco, as if you were unaware.

Some recent studies have shown that lifetime marijuana use is potentially associated with reducing risk of head and neck squamous cell carcinoma and shows no positive relationship with cancers of the lung or aerodigestive tract. Marijuana cannot cause fatal overdose and its use is negatively correlated with aggression and injury.

Alternatively, even moderate amounts of alcohol (about six drinks a week or less) elevate the risk of various cancers and the harm from smoking tobacco is apparent.

Of course there is some bad news: marijuana is still illegal and has been since 1937. Harry J. Anslinger, first commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, lead the push to criminalize it. Anslinger led a vicious campaign filled with racism and sensational stories of violence.

Aiding Anslinger were powerful commercial interests (Du Pont, which patented nylon and didn’t want to compete with hemp and pharmaceutical companies) and the yellow journalism of William Randolph Hearst, who filled his newspapers with fictional stories of stoned criminals.

Dr. William C. Woodward of the American Medical Association testified to the harmlessness of marijuana and the deliberate lies of Anslinger, though it fell on the deaf ears of Congress, who passed the bill after virtually no discussion.

Everyone in the media seems to have a good laugh when politicians reminisce about the times they “toked a little herb.” What seems to go unnoticed is the blatant hypocrisy shown when these same people continue to support the prosecution and jailing of people whose only offense was getting high or helping others get high.

I always hear people say, “Yeah, we should legalize pot and tax the crap out of it.” How about we legalize it and then leave people the hell alone? Why must everything be taxed? Why would we want the federal government, one that has proven itself to be utterly wasteful of nearly every penny it steals, borrows and prints, to get any more money?

If you find an activity objectionable which harms nobody else, try to persuade people from doing it. Do not employ the heavy hand of the state to force others to behave in a manner approved by you. Unfortunately far too many people in our society have nothing better to do than worry about what others are doing in their private lives; pathetic busybodies who obtain self satisfaction from making others’ personal decisions.

I urge these people, as Nate Dogg so eloquently verbalized in his timeless defense of herbal liberty, to smoke weed every day.

Timothy Heacock is a senior majoring in finance and economics. He may be contacted at