Should cannabis be legal?

Plants in the family cannabis have been used for industrial and medicinal uses as well as a recreational drug for millennia. Following American prohibition in the 20th century, use as a drug has been restricted around most of the world. Should it be re-legalized?

Cannabis should be legalEdit

By legal we mean legal to possess, use, grow and sell, like before the prohibition.

Arguments forEdit

  •   Argument for Legalization would allow for greater regulation. If cannabis were legal, it could be sold with a list of all active and inactive ingredients, purity levels, warnings and other useful information for the user, similar to the way alcohol and cigarettes are sold.
    •   Objection This doesn't imply that we should legalize it. The same could be said for heroin, crack and all other illegal substances.
      •   Objection Indeed, all drugs should be legalized for the same reason.
        •   Objection Legalizing all drugs simply to control their quality would be counter-intuitive. In order to control their quality, we would need to distribute them. In other words, we would need dispensaries of some kind that sold heroin and such. This would largely increase both the supply and the demand. This would leave us with millions of people addicted to dangerous substances which would also be a burden on society. We would degrade the quality of our exonomy, public healthc and nation as a whole by doing so. All so we can control the "quality" of these drugs? They are already incredibly dangerous, so for this reason alone I am not convinced.
  •   Argument for Legalization would keep people out of jail and save taxpayer money.
  •   Argument for People have a right to do what they want to their own bodies, as long as they don't harm others.
    •   Objection Cannabis can harm others by driving high.
      •   Objection The effects of cannabis would cause a driver to be paranoid and more cautious than necessary.
        •   Objection It can also cause distraction.
    •   Objection Cannabis can harm others through second hand smoking.
      •   Objection Even if we assume that smoking cannabis is unhealthy for others, cannabis can be eaten.
  •   Argument for Cannabis use is much less dangerous than alcohol, which is legal in most parts of the world.
    •   Objection Then maybe alcohol should be prohibited. The fact that worse drugs than cannabis are legal is not a valid argument to legalize cannabis.
      •   Objection Prohibition of alcohol has been tried in the past, most notably during the Prohibition in the United States, which led to huge amounts of organized crime, a breakdown in law and order, and many other negative unintended consequences. Alcohol should certainly not be prohibited, that was tried and it failed miserably, and since cannabis is even less dangerous than alcohol, there is even more reason to legalize it the same way alcohol was legalized when Prohibition ended.

Arguments againstEdit

  •   Argument against There's no reliable testing method available. Until we have a reliable way to assess if someone is high, cannabis should remain illegal, to reduce the amount of people driving while high, and also for employers, who usually don't allow people to work while high.
    •   Objection Cannabis is less intoxicating than alcohol when it comes to being able to drive safely.
      •   Objection True, but the fact remains that high people driving make the roads more dangerous.
    •   Objection There are some saliva tests available.[1]
      •   Objection The current tests show positives for way too long.[citation needed]
    •   Objection Completely outlawing cannabis for everyone under all circumstances in order to prevent people while driving under its influence or doing their jobs under its influence is overkill. What about people who only ever get high when they are not at work, and who never drive motor vehicles while high, or do anything else potentially dangerous while high? There is no reason to punish them, if they are not doing anything that could be harmful towards others.
    •   Objection This should be a reason to further develop technology, not to prohibit a plant.
  •   Argument against Smoking cannabis is unhealthy.[2] The state shouldn't promote unhealthy substances by making them legal.
    •   Objection By that reasoning, nothing should be legal, since overusing anything can be unhealthy in excess (sugar, alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, etc). The state shouldn't control what people do as long as it doesn't cause a threat to the well-being of others. This is why cigarette smoking in public places is being banned by many states, and driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol is illegal.
    •   Objection No need to smoke cannabis at all as it's edible. Can be added to cakes, stews, yogurt, put on pizza as a topping (common in Cambodia).
  •   Argument against Cannabis is a gateway drug. Being a mild psychoactive drug, it usually generates curiosity in the user about stronger drugs. When tolerance to cannabis increases, the desire for a stronger psychoactive drug increases too, leading the user to try stronger and typically more harmful drugs.
    •   Objection Only a small percentage of cannabis users move on to stronger drugs though if you change the perspective, most of these people have tried alcohol or tobacco as well. In addition, most people who use it tend to only stick with it.[3]
    •   Objection If you want a gateway substance start with mothers' milk which has cannabinoids in it. Nearly everybody's' brains have cannabis receptors in them which would seem to show that we happily coexisted with cannabis for millennia (see Israeli archaeology).
    •   Objection The gateway for heroin in the UK is glue sniffing. Should we ban glue then?
    •   Objection The gateway to 'highs' or altered experience is probably throwing small children up in the air and catching them or twirling them around till they get dizzy. Should we ban this kind of thing then?
  •   Argument against Cannabis is a gateway drug. Cannabis users get into contact with illegal dealers through whom they can get stronger drugs more easily because many dealers sell stronger illegal drugs as well. Also they come into contact with groups that participate in illegal activities.
    •   Objection You would not have to get into contact with these people if it were legal. Example: You don't necessarily come into contact with groups that participate in illegal activities through the purchase of alcohol.
  •   Argument against Cannabis is dangerous to people besides the user due to neglect of children by addicted parents.
    •   Objection There was no relationship between supervisory neglect and marijuana use in a study in California.[4]
    •   Objection If you want a drug that makes people neglect their children's health and welfare look at alcoholics, not cannabis users.
      •   Objection The fact that alcoholic parents neglect their children doesn't imply that cannabis users don't.
        •   Objection Though if current alcoholic parents would switch to cannabis it would be an improvement over alcohol because cannabis diminishes aggression and alcohol induces it.[5]
  •   Argument against Legalizing cannabis would rise health care costs.
    •   Objection Legalizing cannabis had a neutral effect on Cannabis in Colorado due to there being different factors associated with the legalization.[6]
  •   Argument against Cannabis is dangerous to people besides the user due to violence associated with the use of drugs.[clarification needed]
    •   Objection No, cannabis does not increase aggression in its users. In fact, it diminishes it, unlike alcohol.[5]
  •   Argument against Legalizing cannabis would make it more easily available, which would create new consumers rather than deter current ones.
    •   Objection Increase of consumers would only be a good reason to keep cannabis illegal if we agreed that cannabis is unhealthy or somehow a problem, which we don't.
    •   Objection Legalizing cannabis can actually reduce its use.
    •   Objection Outlawing cannabis hasn't succeeded at preventing its use.
  •   Argument against Legalization will remove the fear of legal ramifications which would allow for a person, who previously would not break the law, to indulge and try cannabis.
    •   Objection There is not necessarily anything wrong with someone trying cannabis, if it is legal. It's quite safe, and if it were also legal, this would pose minimal risk.
  •   Argument against Legalization would enlarge the population of people addicted to cannabis. While cannabis is shown not to be physically addictive, all drugs carry a risk of psychological dependence.
    •   Objection Practically anything can be psychologically addictive. Some people are addicted to sex, food, TV, video games, porn, etc. but that is not enough reason to make those things illegal, since most people are able to enjoy things like that in moderation.
  •   Argument against Propaganda over the past forty years has tried to curb the use of illegal drugs. Legalizing cannabis could send mixed messages to younger populations.
    •   Objection Generally most freedom-loving people consider "propaganda" to be a bad thing,and undermining it to be a good thing, at least if we are talking about propaganda spread by authoritarian regimes throughout history.
    •   Objection Sending mixed messages to younger populations could cause a healthy distrust of authority.
  •   Argument against Legalizing cannabis gives drug dealers easier access to it. Unlike alcohol and tobacco which are usually only sold through licensed vendors, cannabis dealers will sell to anyone, including the more sensitive populations, such as minors.
    •   Objection Legalizing cannabis could involve it only being sold through licensed vendors, regulated and taxed, the exact same way alcohol and tobacco are regulated and taxed. Drug dealers would be cut out of the picture. You don't find drug dealers selling alcohol or tobacco on the streets, and if cannabis were legal and you could buy it at the local convenience store, drug dealers would not sell it either, and crime would go down. Also, since licensed vendors would only sell to adults, like with alcohol and tobacco, this would decrease its usage among minors.

Medicinal cannabis should be legalEdit

By medicinal cannabis we mean cannabis sold under medical prescription.

  •   Argument for Cannabis has great medicinal potential. The United States and Canada are currently dealing with an increase in addiction and death from fentanyl, oxycodone and other opiates.[7] Legalizing medicinal cannabis and making it available caused a 25% decrease in deaths from opiate overdose.[8] Using cannabis for chronic pain has a reasonable safety profile and patients often used it as a substitute for other harmful drugs, such as opiates, anti-inflammatory drugs, and alcohol.[9]

Only male cannabis should be legalEdit

Cannabis is a dioecious plant,[10] which means it has distinct male and female individuals, like humans.

  •   Argument for It's only the flowers of the female plant that are used for recreational drug use. The male plant produces no flowers and is the most useful for fabricating textiles. Its fibre is one of the most resistant found in nature, and cultivating it is much more efficient in terms of water, land and time required, compared to other plants like cotton. In a world where water and land are becoming increasingly scarce, making male cannabis illegal because of the recreational use that some people do of the female plant, is unacceptable.

Cannabis should be decriminalizedEdit

Decriminalization is the lessening of criminal penalties, in contrast to the removal of all penalties as in legalization. For example, replacing jail time for fines or community service, would be decriminalizing cannabis.

  •   Argument against Decriminalizing but not fully legalizing cannabis would mean we would still waste time and money in our legal system that could be better spent fighting more serious crimes.

Legal but regulated in a manner to discourage recreational useEdit

  •   Argument for The widespread use of cannabis among youth and young adults is unfortunate and can hardly be considered any sort of social victory. Cannabis blunts the mind and interferes with healthy cognitive development. It is ubiquitous and easily available in many areas where it is still illegal. The media and entertainment industry likely played no small part in promoting cannabis use and its associated "counterculture". If it is to be legalized, then it should not be sold to minors. Advertising should be limited to medicinal uses for the geriatric, and contain warnings about its effect on IQ and cognition.

Notes and referencesEdit

  1. nv, Gezondheid. "Geen drugs in het verkeer |". (in Dutch). Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  2. Moir, David; Rickert, William S.; Levasseur, Genevieve; Larose, Yolande; Maertens, Rebecca; White, Paul; Desjardins, Suzanne (2008-02-01). "A Comparison of Mainstream and Sidestream Marijuana and Tobacco Cigarette Smoke Produced under Two Machine Smoking Conditions". Chemical Research in Toxicology 21 (2): 494–502. doi:10.1021/tx700275p. ISSN 0893-228X. 
  3. Jorgensen, Cody; Wells, Jessica (2021-04-06). "Is marijuana really a gateway drug? A nationally representative test of the marijuana gateway hypothesis using a propensity score matching design". Journal of Experimental Criminology. doi:10.1007/s11292-021-09464-z. ISSN 1572-8315. 
  4. Freisthler, Bridget; Gruenewald, Paul J.; Wolf, Jennifer Price (2015-10). "Examining the Relationship between Marijuana Use, Medical Marijuana Dispensaries, and Abusive and Neglectful Parenting". Child abuse & neglect 48: 170–178. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2015.07.008. ISSN 0145-2134. PMID 26198452. PMC 4593739. 
  5. 5.0 5.1 De Sousa Fernandes Perna, E. B.; Theunissen, E. L.; Kuypers, K. P. C.; Toennes, S. W.; Ramaekers, J. G. (2016). "Subjective aggression during alcohol and cannabis intoxication before and after aggression exposure". Psychopharmacology 233: 3331–3340. doi:10.1007/s00213-016-4371-1. ISSN 0033-3158. PMID 27422568. PMC 4988999. 
  6. Delling, Francesca N.; Vittinghoff, Eric; Dewland, Thomas A.; Pletcher, Mark J.; Olgin, Jeffrey E.; Nah, Gregory; Aschbacher, Kirstin; Fang, Christina D. et al. (2019-05-01). "Does cannabis legalisation change healthcare utilisation? A population-based study using the healthcare cost and utilisation project in Colorado, USA". BMJ Open 9 (5): e027432. doi:10.1136/bmjopen-2018-027432. ISSN 2044-6055. PMID 31092662. 
  7. According to a letter written by Mitchell.[citation needed]
  8. According to two studies.[citation needed]
  9. According to a 2006 COMPASS study.[citation needed]
  10. "Male vs. Female Cannabis: How to Determine the Sex of Your Plant". Leafly. 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2019-06-12.


  • Mitchell, I. (2016). Public health benefits from legalizing cannabis: Both sides of the coin. 188(1), 63.

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