Saturday, November 8, 2014

From the Archives: Cannabis Speech

For this post, I decided to pull an assignment out of the archives for posting because I believe it to be an excellent example of both an effective speech outline and a sound argument in favour of something. While I myself obviously have no personal interest in the legalization of marijuana, I found the topic's notoriety to be interesting academically, since I could see no realistic reason why it should not be as legal as alcohol or cigarettes. In researching for this speech, I also found out about many of its less obvious benefits, such as reducing the risk of breast cancer. All information is accurate as of the time the post was written, which was in my Grade 9 year (2012-2013). I dug it up recently as a result of an assignment in my Law 12 course.

One might also note that while this is the form of the speech as I gave it, the original was nearly twice as long and had even more arguments and talking points.

Legalization of Recreational Cannabis
  1. Introduction
      1. “Prohibition is best known as the disastrous 13-year attempt by the US to prevent people from consuming alcohol. Their intentions were noble: stopping alcoholism, preventing drunken violence, etc., but their effect was not: illegal imports and gangsters controlling supply. This is similar to what is currently happening with cannabis. Also known as marijuana, pot, weed, or hashish, marijuana is the most common illicit recreational drug. Today, I am here to tell you about why it should be legalized.”
    1. History of Cannabis
      1. Plant biology and history (Spread, etc.)
        1. Cannabis refers actually to a genus of 3 plants: Cannabis sativa, Cannabis indica, and Cannabis ruderalis
        2. Originate in Central and South Asia
        3. Been cultivated since at least 3000 B.C.E. for hempseed oil, hemp, birdfeed, religious/spiritual use (trance), and medicinal/drug uses
        4. Sativa: Generally what “high inducing” marijuana (actually a preparation of flowers) and hashish (resins and extracts) are prepared from
        5. Indica: Causes drowsiness (more “stoned” than inebriated, “body buzz”), less likely to cause psychotic break and/or anxiety due to higher Cannabidiol: Tetrahydrocannabinol ratio
        6. Ruderalis: Less commonly used for drugs, often used for industrial products (ie hemp) or crossbred with other breeds due to hardiness and autoflowering
      2. Legal History
        1. Cultivated for years by people in modern-day China, Romania, India, Nepal
        2. Shakespeare might have used it, as there were chemical traces of it on pipes dug up from his house garden
          1. "noted weed" mentioned in Sonnet 76
          2. "journey in my head" from Sonnet 27
        3. Cannabis Indica known to have been used by Rio Grande-area people in present-day TX
        4. First criminalized in “… most Eastern countries” by 1894
  2. Argument I: Scientific Evidence of Benefits (Medical)
    1. Already-Legal Medical Use
      1. Painkiller
        1. The THC contained within has been proven to ease pain in both pills and regular Cannabis forms
      2. Confirmed Medical Uses
        1. Amelioration of nausea
        2. Hunger stimulation in those with AIDS or undergoing chemotherapy
        3. Decreased intraocular fluid pressure in the eye (treating glaucoma)
      3. Some other individual studies show it is good for
        1. Multiple sclerosis
        2. Decreases risk of Alzheimer's disease
          1. stops formation of "Alzheimer plaques" in the brain”
        3. Breast Cancer
          1. “may stop breast cancer from spreading throughout the body by downregulating a gene called ID1
        4. Brain cancer
          1. Promotes the death of brain cancer cells by forcing them to feed upon themselves
        5. May help those with Opioid dependence stay off opioids
  3. End Illegal Trading & Tax It
    1. Less diversion of law enforcement from key areas
      1. Cheaper
    2. Tax legal users
      1. Similar to Alcohol, Tobacco (see below)
  4. Counter-Argument: Danger (esp. to underage)
    1. Smoke Danger
      1. Counter: Cigarettes & 2nd hand smoke
      2. “The harm caused by smoking can be minimized or eliminated by the use of a vaporizer or ingesting the drug in an edible form
    2. Use Under 18
      1. Madeline H. Meier et al in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA: “persistent, dependent use of marijuana before age 18 was associated with lasting harm to a person's intelligence, attention and memory, and were suggestive of neurological harm from cannabis. Quitting cannabis did not appear to reverse the loss. However, individuals who started cannabis use after the age of 18 did not show similar declines.”
      2. Counter: alcohol, cigarettes legal to people over 18 (or 19-21, law varies) and illegal to people below that age
    3. “Gateway Drug”
      1. Validity debated by science, but often seen as incorrect
      2. Cigarettes more likely to predict usage of alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs than Cannabis
    4. Deaths attributable to Marijuana
      1. Abuse-related deaths are almost always poly-drug (not just Cannabis)
      2. Also due to activities done under the influence (driving)
        1. Counter: alcohol
  5. Conclusion

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