George Washington, William Shakespeare, and Carl Sagan may be some of history’s greatest minds and most celebrated figures, but they’d all probably be in prison today if they were still alive. What would make these unlikely cellmates so dangerous that they’d have to be kept off the streets?

Was Shakespeare a serial arsonist? Did Carl Sagan fly into a homicidal rage whenever somebody claimed to have invented a perpetual motion machine?

No, the threat these historical icons posed to the public is much worse: They all smoked marijuana.The idea that cannabis is a dangerous substance that should be avoided at all cost is a relatively modern invention. In fact, historians now believe that Egyptian pharaoh Ramesses II regularly used marijuana, possibly to relieve eye pain.

But if cannabis has indeed been in use for millennia, how come there has never been a single recorded instance of a person dying of a marijuana overdose? Think about that for a moment: In thousands of years of recorded history, not one person has ever died of THC poisoning, yet the federal government maintains that marijuana is among the most dangerous substances in existence.

Unfortunately, the alcohol, drug, and tobacco industries are spending millions of dollars to make sure Congress continues to treat marijuana as the world’s deadliest poison so they don’t have to compete with a new industry.

Let’s examine how your member of Congress is holding up in the face of all this dirty money flying around. Congresswoman Martha McSally has accepted more than $56,000 in campaign contributions from these companies. How can we expect her not to be influenced by all that money?

Not since prohibition has the federal government pursued a policy so rooted in deliberate misinformation and outright hypocrisy.

It is truly embarrassing that we, as a society, have for so long allowed ourselves to be manipulated into conflating the consumption of a relatively harmless plant with a lack of morality. It’s time to end the stupidity and stop wasting taxpayer money on filling our prisons with people who have absolutely no business being there. That’s why I urge you to call Congresswoman McSally at (202) 225-2542 and tell her to either legalize cannabis federally or make room for someone who will.

Kris Craig is a self-syndicated columnist. To date he has had articles published in more than 20 newspapers and magazines across 15 states.

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