Top 10 reasons to legalize marijuana now

10. Hemp benefits are denied.

Hemp can be made into paper, paneling, plastics, clothing, flour, cooking oil, cattle feed and thousands of other useful products.

It’s the No. 1 biomass producer in the world – 10 tons per acre in four months. It could be an excellent fuel-producing crop, greatly reducing America’s dependence on fossil fuels and significantly mitigating climate change.

9. Prohibition diverts billions from the needy.

More than 50 government agencies feed at the drug war trough. Social programs are being slashed while billions are spent trying to stop adults from using marijuana.

8. Prohibition is clearly counterproductive.

Guaranteeing massive profits to anyone who can produce and deliver marijuana to our streets cannot do anything but guarantee even more will be produced and delivered.

7. Criminalizing marijuana lacks moral justification.

A real crime implies a victim and a perpetrator. Can you imagine being jailed for robbing yourself? As insane as this sounds, our government has done the equivalent by making adult use of marijuana a “crime.”

6. Marijuana users are not debased human beings.

Cultures throughout time have altered their minds with a variety of drugs. Billions around the world derive positive benefits from mind-altering drugs (especially from alcohol, nicotine, caffeine and marijuana).

Demonizing and criminalizing some drugs, while approving others, without rational criteria, is clearly arbitrary and deceitful. Why are marijuana users demonized, but alcohol and tobacco users aren’t?

5. Marijuana is effective medicine.

There’s overwhelming evidence that marijuana is safe medicine for various illnesses.

4. Promising medical research is thwarted.

The discovery of naturally occurring marijuana-like substances in the human body that activate so-called cannabinoid receptors, has opened up vast possibilities for new medicines derived from the 66 or so cannabinoids identified in marijuana.

3. Billions in potential taxes go to drug cartels.

Americans are being cheated out of billions that could be obtained by taxing and regulating marijuana like alcohol.

2. Thousands of prohibition murders each year.

There were at least 24,000 prohibition-related murders in Mexico since 2006. Thousands more died here, also a direct result of marijuana prohibition.

1. Prohibition denies our most basic human right.

Prohibition takes away our right of sovereignty over our own bodies. Does any other human right make sense if we don’t have sovereignty over our own bodies?

There’s a word for people who don’t have sovereignty over their own bodies: slaves.

The glaring truth about the drug war

The drug war is a blatantly dishonest, extremely expensive, highly destructive, grossly unjust, abject failure of our government.

Despite 40 years and a trillion-plus dollars of taxpayer money spent trying to stop – not murder, not rape, not robbery, not even shoplifting – but trying to stop adults from using certain arbitrarily-banned drugs, despite draconian punishments, despite jailing millions of non-violent Americans, despite thousands of prohibition-related murders each year, illegal drugs are cheaper, purer and more readily available than ever.

The drug war is a vast government scam guaranteed to be perpetually futile. Prohibition only pretends to fight drugs. In fact, it guarantees massive profits to anyone on the planet who can produce and deliver prohibited drugs to our streets.

Jailing drug dealers just creates lucrative job openings for more efficient, more ruthless, eager replacements. Only a small percentage of illegal drugs are intercepted and these are easily and cheaply replaced.

Prohibition creates, sustains and handsomely rewards the illegal drug industry while pretending to fight that very same industry. Like the classic mafia protection racket, our government creates a perpetual problem and then charges us exorbitantly to “protect” us from it.

This abomination continues unabated because our government is addicted to the taxpayer billions it wastes year after year after year pretending to fight an enemy created and sustained by prohibition itself.

Marijuana is the linchpin of the drug war. Legalizing marijuana will sound the death knell for this devastating crime against humanity.

Carmen Yarrusso lives in Brookline and is self-described as often writing about the uncomfortable truth.