Legalisation of Marijuana

cannabis

For the first time in America two states, Colorado and Washington, voted for the legalisation of cannabis for recreational use on the 6th of November 2012.

The Independent states that “personal possession of up to an ounce of marijuana would be legal for anyone over 21 years of age”. I personally found those limitations realistic and achievable. But isn’t it too late to be able to smoke marijuana legally? It looks to be a good idea as people will be mature enough to consume it but I think it will create the same problem as with alcohol. As you may know, alcohol in the US is legally forbidden under the age of 21. They can go under serious problem if they are seen consuming alcohol.

“Everyone knows that the 21 age limit hasn’t stopped minors from drinking. And now some experts believe it’s actually contributing to an increase in extreme drinking”, mentioned the CBS news.

Some young people manage to consume alcohol but they generally wait until they turn 21. When they are 21, most of them drink a huge quantity of alcohol! They don’t know their limit, they abuse of it, and that is why it is a real issue.

On Public Opinions, 75% of members think that the United States should lower its drinking age from 21 to 18.

Therefore, do you think it is ethically right to legalise marijuana from the age of 21?

Now, let’s have a look at the impact of cannabis on the body compared to other drugs.

Image

We can clearly see through this graph, done by Dr. J. E. Henningfield and Dr. N. L. Benowitz in 1994, that Cannabis has far less health damage (intoxication) compared to alcohol. The withdrawal criteria (effect of being deprived of something) of marijuana is twice more important than nicotine but twice less important than alcohol. The cannabis’ intoxication is more important than nicotine or caffeine but less important than alcohol.

I found really interesting to analyse this graph as I didn’t expect to see such similarities with caffeine and such differences with alcohol.

Moreover, cannabis has been legalised in 18 states in the US for medical purposes.

An article on the BBC show the positive effect on cannabis for medical use. As they mentioned, cannabis “appears to be able to reduce the side effects of chemotherapy treatment”. Indeed, some “cannabinoids [substance in the cannabis plant]  relieve nausea and allow patients to eat and live normally”. It can also help for the treatment of: migraine, headaches, strokes, Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, alcoholism and insomnia.
Some people testimonials clearly show their improvement thanks to the use of marijuana.

I think marijuana should be legalise for medical use but also for recreational purposes. However, strict laws and regulations should be instaure, more strict ones than alcohol.

Personally, I rarely smoke marijuana but I think people should be allowed to do it if they wish to do so. It is NOT a hard drug, so let’s be realistic.

What do you think? Should marijuana be legalise for recreational use or just for medical purposes or both?

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9 thoughts on “Legalisation of Marijuana

  1. This is a very relevant article considering the current American situation and it is anyway a good debate to discuss about. The fact that there has never ever been a civilization without drugs imply a change of policies, especially during this financial crisis : instead of spending millions that countries cannot afford right now onto the war on drug, they would actually generate profit out of it. I think the reason why it has recently been legalized was purposely because Obama wanted to make money with it instead of spending money against it. Moreover, drugs are the means to finance wars, guerrillas and other stuff mafia and rebels do. So legalizing it means putting taxes on it, which will benefiate the country.
    The graph is very informative and clearly shows how marijuana is way less dangerous that nicotine or alcohol that are legalized drugs and that kill so many people accross the world. If countries followed the same logic that they use for cannabis prohibition, nicotine should be forbidden. But there is too much pression and money coming from the lobbies.. I had by the way once heard that the reason why marijuana wasn’t legalized was because it would compete with the oil industry..
    Anyway, to answer your question, I have always thought cannabis should be legalized – not that I smoke, I’m too old 😉 – because if you look at the countries where it is legalized (Netherlands for instance) you see that few people actually use it compared to some countries where it is not, such as France which has the majority of weed smokers of Europe. When something is forbidden, it creates the curiosity and desire to do the opposite, which is normal; just think about the alcohol prohibition back in the 1920s in the USA! As you’ve demonstrated, cannabis has therapeutic virtues, which is not the case for alcohol or nicotine. The law in the majority of the world countries is not logic. Therefore, by legalizing, the United States has for sure initiated a positive step toward freedom, health and intelligence. People who use it will no longer risk prosecution nor health hazard. Other democratic countries should follow the American model.

    • Thank you Audrey for your interesting comment. I think you are right in what you are saying about the fact that if marijuana is legalised, it will benefit the country. However, don’t you think it will generate new problems such as an increase of the independence towards marijuana, health problem, car accident, etc? Personally, I think that those new problems will still be less important from the ones existing today.
      Concerning “the reason why marijuana wasn’t legalized was because it would compete with the oil industry..” Your point is very interesting. Do you know more about it? Do you have any sources?
      As you said “cannabis has therapeutic virtues, which is not the case for alcohol or nicotine”, and I think the majority of people don’t know that which shouldn’t be the case!
      Do you think in ten years ten people perception of marijuana perceptions will have changed as they will realised it has some positive virtue? Do you think it will be legalised in more American states, in countries in Europe?
      I found a recent article saying that 50% of Americans “think marijuana will be legal across the land within 10 years.”…
      http://blogs.laweekly.com/informer/2012/12/marijuana_legal_across_america_poll_50_percent.php
      Claire.

  2. The Constitution guarantees the right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness”. For many of us, smoking, ingesting herb fits into that category. By denying that right, the Federal Government breaks it’s own rule by applying ANOTHER law that counteracts it (and they expect THAT one to be enforced while trying to make the ORIGINAL one of no effect), so tell ME, what defines ethical? It’s been PROVEN that cannabis applied to cancer, causes the cancer to eat itself (Rick Simpson Run from the Cure), it’s been PROVEN that hemp is the strongest fabric available (taking away from the modern-day build-it-to-replace-it mentality. When it comes down to it, as always, it is MONEY that is talking and BS that is walking. That doesn’t even cover the religious aspect for people who believe it to be a plant, placed by God, for a reason-whatever that reason entails, whatever god you serve. I can’t speak for anyone other than me-I know what I believe, but it’s not my place to speak for others. They can speak for themselves. 😎

    • Thank you Heidi for your comment. I agree with you “what defines ethical?”. That is all the question. Personally, I think in this case people should have the right to decide if they want to smoke marijuana or not. We can clearly see in the above graph that alcohol has more negative effects. However, it is difficult to change laws when people have completely different views on the subject. Plus, marijuana consumption is forbidden in many countries around the world for a long time. It is a long process to come back on a decision and change it. I personally hope people will realised the positive virtue of it and that marijuana will be legalised or at least decriminalised.
      Don’t you think so?
      Do you live in America? If yes, what do you think about marijuana legalisation in Colorado and Washington? How did the Americans react to that?
      Claire.

  3. great graphs! i didn’t realize 18 states legalized pot for medicinal purposes in the states. it seems like a logical and rather lucrative move … keep on keepin’ on!

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