Cannabis is a naturally occurring substance that can act as a relaxant and mild hallucinogenic. Cannabis can be smoked with or without tobacco, filtered through water, cooled or inhaled using all manner of drug paraphernalia, or eaten. The Labour Government at present opposes the legalisation of cannabis not only for recreational use but also for those using it as a pain reliever, some of whom are sent to jail for doing so.
If cannabis was legalised it could help a lot of people. The medical benefits of cannabis have been proven by extensive medical research. This research has led to disproving many myths about the drug, e.g. it does not cause cancer, damage the lungs, impair short-term memory, nor causes brain damage. It is tobacco that cannabis is usually smoked with which causes these illnesses. Cannabis helps to ease pain, nausea and vomiting caused by serious illnesses such as cancer, AIDS, Multiple Sclerosis. It can improve the quality of life of many sufferers. It is less harmful than tobacco or alcohol. It should be a matter of choice whether or not people smoke cannabis because it is a fundamental human right that they can decide for themselves and this has been taken away as the decision has been made for them.
If the drug is legalised, the pressure on the police, prisons, and courts would be relieved and this in turn would create more police to arrest and punish a greater number of ‘real’ criminals. The quality of the drug would also be increased and therefore less damage would be caused by the impurities contained in the mixture sold as cannabis, as it could be grown at home and this would also cause a decrease in drug related crimes as less dealing would take place.
New legislation could mean already convicted criminals of cannabis crimes, may be given early releases from prison to comply with the new law. I think that any new legislation should insist that convicted offenders already serving a sentence should remain in prison to complete their punishment.
Although for some cannabis has mild effects, for others it can have the opposite effects causing them to become spaced out and behave inappropriately. The legalisation of cannabis could cause an increase in accidental deaths, which occur when the victim is ‘high’ on cannabis. The legalisation of cannabis could also lead to small children being able to get hold of the drug, as it would be regularly available in shops and in the home, which may cause them harm.
The legalisation of cannabis for those over 18 would still mean that there is an illegal market for those under 18 and therefore does not eliminate illegal sales. This is shown in Holland were the drug is legal to those over 18 and this has meant that the use of the drug in those under 18 has tripled between 1988 and 1992. Alaska tried legalising cannabis but it was stopped by a referendum after 8 years as the use of drugs increased, crime increased, use of cannabis by those under 18 went up and the harm from drug use increased causing an increase in health care costs. These are only a few arguments both for and against the legalisation of cannabis. In my opinion I think that cannabis should be made legal but for medical purposes only and I would appreciate your views on the subject.