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Should cannabis be legalised?
Member Name: AverageJoseph
Should cannabis be legalised?
Date: 06/07/12, updated on 07/07/12 (32 review reads)
Advantages: Medicinal Purposes, The High, Effects, Natural
Disadvantages: Smoked with Tobacco, Propaganda
Officials could not be more blind when it comes to something as timid as Mary Jane. The fact that any mention of legalisation, decriminalisation or even lowering the class of the drug - is ignored. Brushed away as an irrelevant issue, a stoner's complaint, a bunch of hippies preaching nonsense. Why? It's not a pressing matter.. at least not one thats causing problems. Fines and convictions make for a steady income and an appearance of diligent policing. However, when an official employee (professor Nutt in this case) comes forward with new scientific evidence detailing that cannabis is in fact far less dangerous a drug than others it shares a class with and states that it is less addictive and damaging than current legal drugs (Alcohol & Tobacco), the guy gets sacked. Fired by the home secretary for doing his job. The whole situation was baffling until you take into account all the reluctant actions of those involved. They underestimate the people and their intelligence, for the majority of people who are in the know about cannabis, see the true reasons as to why it is illegal, tax. With a suitable climate (or easily mimicked environment) the cannabis plant can be grown in greenhouses or even back gardens. If the government can find a way to get a little slice of the action, then it would be legal in no time, with a rapid switch in mindset, claiming to believe in its medicinal properties. In the past, the government sent out propaganda messages about the dangers of 'reefer', with consequences of 'Murder, Insanity, Death!' the kind of fear mongering that is still present in todays media.
Whilst the dismissal of Professor Nutt was made public and scorned upon by the papers, the mans evidence was simply forgotten - no questioning the relation to other drugs that people consume on a daily basis. The excursions of violent alcoholics going to court for GBH, public nuisance, vandalism, are not reported on, or at least not discussed in a mannor that befits the situation. The media sees binge drinking as a trend for youngsters, the 24 hour pub licensing as justice for the public. They glorify celebrities who stagger out of night clubs, cigarette in hand, bottle in the other and no one bats an eyelid. The amount of alcohol related crimes is staggering, as are its trends (both men & women are now consuming more alcohol than ever before). Any article relating to cannabis will typically show a hooded youth with a knife, a couple of balaclava donning men wielding machine guns in a warehouse packed with weed, or worse - the advice line FRANK who aired a commercial which saw a man in his 20's smoke a joint, conjure up about 20 different feelings and personalities of himself and end up loosing his mind. Again, the propaganda of the so called insanity drug. The media can shape the opinions of those naive and gullible enough to believe almost anything feasible. Redundant arguments abound, with the claims of mob violence and suffering - an argument that could be reasoned with by simply saying "If it was legal, there would be no gangs to partake in such violence". So why is it that the public can smoke tobacco, a drug that is clearly taking its toll on the health services with respiratory and cancerous illnesses, drink copious amounts of alcohol geting themselves into fist fights and comas.. but when someone tries to grow one little plant to ease a headache, get a buzz with no hangover effect, the police storm the door, you're handed a hefty fine and labelled a waste to society? Again though, one could argue, "why add yet another drug problem into society?"
Something I have personally witnessed in various discussions, is that the majority of people over 45, see marijuana as a dangerous 'gateway' drug that leads to harder drugs such as cocaine or heroin, the kind of substance abuse that kills and tears lives apart. No leeway is left for reason or logic. Of course its not all elderly people, some like my grandfather can see the benefits as well as the problems legalised drugs can bring. Young people however, don't do themselves justice either, with adolescents still in education scouting for drugs to get reputations and look 'cool' by breaking the law. When the age restriction on smoking was 16, teens would smoke until the day of their 16th birthday, only to find it wasn't so cool anymore. The same goes for cannabis, delusional youths get it into their heads that drugs are awesome since they're 1. illegal and 2. endorsed by the celebrities publicised, past and present. Frankly, I believe that people who have no experience with the drug (used for recreation or bearing witness to users) can have no viable opinion on the matter. Humans have sought the hemp plant for thousands of years, only now people are telling others what to do, when to do it and basically how to live. The people of Holland have had to put up with drug/sex tourists, holidaying for the activities ilegal in their own country. The Netherlands don't have youth running rampant, high on drugs, nor do they have high records of the apparent narcotic side effects and related medical issues for long term use. So who is to say that the use of cannabis wouldn't be a declining activity after legalisation?
College was, as ever, the location for my first encounter with the drug. Peer pressure not being an issue with true friends, I was open minded and saw it as a timid experience worth trying out. First impressions were that it had an impact unlike that of a standard cigarette, smelled different and generally made you feel a bit 'foggy', not unpleasant, just supremely chilled and of course, the fabled 'munchies' followed. No hallucinations, No side effects, No addiction, No physical or mental harm. It became a social treat to take part in on special occasions or after intense revision/work. It had the same principle as a sip of whisky after the GCSE exams. With some people, the effects vary and in such cases, the sensible thing to do would be to stop taking it - but don't claim its the same for everyone because 1 person had a bad trip. One need only look at the statistics to see that it has claimed little associated deaths compared to that of legal drugs. There are however several positive claims going around that it can be used for glaucoma, migraines and even in treatment for cancer patients (questionable). So a lot of its pros are that it can act as a tablet of paracetamol but with noticeable change, or even as stress relief medicine. Its also taken with tobacco - to make the 8th last longer - which ties into the trouble of addiction, although some people acquire vaporisers.
So it comes down to the following questions:
- Does the UK need another recreational but less harmful drug right now alongside tobacco & alcohol?
- Will the rest of Europe follow suit in legalisation so's not to suffer unwanted tourism?
- Could the government, media & public do a u-turn in opinion?
The answer to those 3 questions is, unfortunately, No.
Summary: Simply, Yes.