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Word Count: 953
1 Moral It is immoral to arrest someone for owning a vegetable We have the right to keep and bear vegetables The most fundamental of all human rights is to have control over your own body As long as you are not harming others your body belongs to you to do what you wish 2 Economic It costs about 26000 per year to keep someone in prison In addition the inmate is not earning so his tax dollars are lost to the community Often an inmates family has to go on welfare The total cost for imprisonment can run up to 50000 per year per inmate There now are about 50000 people incarcerated in the U S for non-violent marijuana offenses The total cost to keep these people in prison is about 25 billion per year 3 Social We are criminalizing an enormous percentage of the population In 1994 7 of all U S males of age 18 or older entered prison or jail A male has a 9 chance of being incarcerated in state or federal prison during his lifetime based on 1991 incarceration rates Two-thirds of convicts now entering prisons are doing so for non-violent crimes One-half of these are for non-violent narcotics violations From 1980 to 1995 the incarcerated population in the Pennsylvania Department of Corrections quadrupled 4 Agricultural Hemp is a valuable agricultural product It is used to make clothing shoes diapers rope cellophane paints fuel chain lubricants biodegradable plastics paper fiberboard cement blocks food cosmetics and soap The Declaration of Independence and the U S Constitution were written on hemp paper Hemp was the number one crop on George Washingtons plantation at Mount Vernon
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