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Noam Chomsky – Why Marijuana is Illegal and Tobacco is Legal

In the video, Chomsky argues that the reason why tobacco is legal while marijuana is not is because unlike tobacco, marijuana can be grown anywhere. Being tobacco an industrial crop that requires substantial capital and multiple inputs, suppliers, manufacturers and retailers can all make money from it, which would explain why cigarettes are legal despite being far more lethal than marijuana. Although Chomsky presents his argument as mere speculation, numerous studies have demonstrated that tobacco smokers are at a higher risk for many types of cancer — the most common one being lung cancer. In view of these considerations, one cannot help wondering whose interests U.S. policymakers are trying to protect by keeping tobacco legal and marijuana illegal. If the only reason why policymakers refuse to legalize recreational marijuana is because they truly care about U.S. citizens’ health, the most ethical and coherent thing to do would be to also outlaw tobacco.

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