Should It Be Legalised?

Cannabis, also known as weed, grass, hemp, ganga, bhang, marijuana, dope and blow they are all the same thing, all completely harmless and completely misunderstood. Over 260 million people worldwide use cannabis for it’s potential advantages. Those who don’t use it are the ones who are missing out. In 1973, the drug was banned from use in Britain, much to the dismay of its users. For thirty years, people have fought for the right to use it both as a clinical and a legal drug unsuccessfully.

The first point that politicians make is that cannabis has a worse effect on the user than both alcohol and tobacco in cigarettes. This is also the first point at which they stumble. Cannabis is indeed ten times worse for the lungs when mixed with tobacco, but alone, cannabis does not cause any negative effects such as those of cigarettes. However, a cigarette does not simply contain tobacco. It also contains over two thousand other chemicals such as tar and nicotine, which effect the body in negative ways. As for alcohol, not only can it effect the body on the long term, but there is also a risk in “drink-driving”. Although driving after use of cannabis also increases risk far more people die at present, from the effects of alcohol or cigarettes than die from cannabis. And, very importantly, both cigarettes and alcohol are addictive, whereas, it is impossible to become physically addicted to cannabis. It is also impossible to overdose in cannabis, and people who die after taking it die of their own stupidity, for example walking out in font of cars and jumping from windows.

One claim is that, if cannabis were legalised, the tobacco companies would jump at the chance to produce tobacco based reefers so as to get more young people addicted to tobacco. This is true. However, if someone is buying cigarettes they are buying them for pleasurable effects that come with them. If they are buying cannabis hey are buying it for exactly the same reason. There would be no reason for people to buy cigarettes that contained cannabis, as the cannabis can give them the same effects. If anything, the customers would be drawn towards cannabis, as its effects are less harmful.

Another argument against the legalisation of the drug is that users of cannabis would move on to using hard-core drugs instead. In a recent survey of the country’s young people, it was discovered that around 45% of those interviewed had tried drugs. Probably more disturbingly, 73% of the sixth formers asked had been offered drugs. 80% of people who had taken cannabis did so because of the “buzz” they received. That is to say that they took the drug because it was illegal, and had a certain risk element. If the drug were legalised in Britain, it would be interesting to see whether the number of youths using the drug was reduced. I think so. The government has done close to no research into whether cannabis has a close influence on the users of drugs such as heroine, but still it insists that soft drugs lead onto hard drugs – or most heroine addicts smoked cannabis, therefore most cannabis users will go on to use heroine.

Another argument is that due to the legalisation of cannabis the levels of crime in this country will rise. Colin Brewer, the Medical Director at the Stapleford drug and alcohol abuse centre, says this, “As someone who treats alcoholism and illicit drug abuse, I have sometimes said to alcoholic drinkers, that if they cannot stop drinking then they should consider changing to a less damaging recreational drug, such as cannabis.” Alcohol is the country’s problem drug and is directly responsible for a large amount of violent crime because people get drunk and start fights. Most cannabis users drink little or no alcohol. For them, the drug is an alternative to alcohol, and not an addiction.

If cannabis is not open for pubic use it should be available for medical use. It is a commonly known fact among cannabis users that it can be beneficial in the treatment of cancer, glaucoma, AIDS, multiple sclerosis, epilepsy and chronic pain. Why are people piling their money into charities to help sufferers