Should cannabis be legal?

Plants in the family cannabis have been used for industrial, medicinal and recreational uses for millennia. Following the United States 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 legal edit

Legal means that is lawful to possess, use, grow and sell under local regulation.

Pro edit

  •   Argument for Legalization would allow for greater regulation. If cannabis or any drugs, like heroin, crack and other substances 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 Legalizing all drugs would largely increase both the supply and the demand. This would leave us with more people addicted to dangerous substances which would also be a burden or a threat to society.
      •   Objection There is no data for this claim.
      •   Objection Why would people addicted to dangerous substances be considered a burden or threat to society? Drug addiction is a mental health problem, not a criminal one.
        •   Objection Addicted people to drugs (cannabis or other) in fact might be a threat to society. For example, a study reveals that "drug-affected driving accidents have emerged as a major global threat in recent years".[1]
          •   Objection Then prohibit driving high like we prohibit driving drunk.
  •   Argument for Legalization would keep people out of jail and save taxpayer money.
    •   Objection The same could be said for every law that sends people to jail. Sometimes jail is necessary to correct the antisocial behavior of some people. Prision service is mostly like any other public service.
      •   Objection Marijuana use is not antisocial by any literally defined measure.
  •   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 through second hand smoking.
      •   Objection There are no recorded cases of health problems linked to second hand Marijuana smoke.
      •   Objection Then prohibit smoking next to others like we do with cigarettes.
      •   Objection Even if we assume that smoking cannabis is unhealthy for others, cannabis can be eaten and thus not harming others. It can be added to cakes, stews, yogurt, put on pizza as a topping (common in Cambodia).
  •   Argument for Cannabis use is 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 Prohibition in the United States, which led to huge amounts of organized crime and many other negative unintended consequences. Similary, prohibition of cannabis has led to huge narco-criminal organizations.
  •   Argument for Many side effects of cannabis use can be avoided by using cannabis responsibly.

Con edit

  •   Argument against There's no reliable testing method available to assess if someone is high. Until we have a reliable way to do so, cannabis should remain illegal, to reduce the amount of people driving high, and also for employers, who usually don't allow people to work 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 That’s why they would invent tests to make sure no one is driving while under the influence  
          •   Objection People still get away with driving under the influence of alcohol because there aren't breath test officers on every road at every given point in time.
    •   Objection There are some saliva tests available that might be useful.[2] This should be a reason to further develop technology, not to prohibit a plant.
    •   Objection Completely outlawing cannabis for everyone under all circumstances in order to prevent high drivers or workers is overkill. What about people who only ever get high when they are not at work, driving, or doing anything else potentially harmful to others?
  •   Argument against Smoking cannabis is unhealthy.[3] The state shouldn't promote unhealthy substances by making them legal.
    •   Objection Being locked in prison for cannabis possession is more harmful than the negative health effects of using cannabis.
    •   Objection By that reasoning, nothing should be legal, since overusing anything can be unhealthy in excess (sugar, alcohol, caffeine, cigarettes, etc).
      •   Objection There was no explicit indication in the argument of "overusing" cannabis.
    •   Objection 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.
  •   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.[4]
    •   Objection Mothers' milk which has cannabinoids in it, so it could also be considered as a gateway substance. 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?
  •   Argument against 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.
    •   Objection You would not have to get into contact with these people if it were legal, just like 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 Work and video games are dangerous to people besides the user as well in that case, as workaholics tend to neglect interpersonal relationships (including taking care of children) and video games are designed to keep the player playing. Cannabis is certainly no more dangerous in that respect than either of those. If cannabis is legal and destigmatized, addicts would feel safe to seek out help, which would also resolve that particular issue  
    •   Objection There was no relationship between supervisory neglect and marijuana use in a study in California.[5]
    •   Objection Alcohol makes people neglect their children's much more than 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.[6]
  •   Argument against Legalizing cannabis would raise health care costs, because of diseases associated with the lungs and nervous system..
    •   Objection Legalizing cannabis had a neutral effect in Colorado´s health system.[7]
  •   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.[6]
  •   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. If used responsabily, 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. Regulation and public control is the key.
  •   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 Lots of people consider "propaganda" to be a bad thing, and undermining it to be a good thing.
    •   Objection Sending mixed messages to younger populations could cause a healthy distrust of authority and/or debate.
  •   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. 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 legal edit

By medicinal cannabis we mean cannabis sold under medical prescription.

  •   Argument for Cannabis has great medical potential. The United States and Canada are currently dealing with an increase in addiction and death from fentanyl, oxycodone and other opiates. Legalizing medicinal cannabis and making it available caused a 25% decrease in deaths from opiate overdose. 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.
    •   Objection There are no quotes from a high-impact peer-reviewed article to prove this point.

Male cannabis should be legal edit

Cannabis is a dioecious plant,[8] 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 fiber 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.

Cannabis should be decriminalized edit

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.

Cannabis should be legal but regulated to discourage recreational use edit

  •   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. The media and entertainment industry likely played a big 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.
    •   Objection Cannabis use past the age of brain maturity (~25 years) does not harm the cognitive development. There's no reliable sources about it lowering IQ, but neither about it having medical effects.

Notes and references edit

  1. Chapter I. Economic consequences of drug abuse
  2. nv, Gezondheid. "Geen drugs in het verkeer |". (in Flemish). Retrieved 2019-06-12.
  3. 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. 
  4. 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. 
  5. 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. 
  6. 6.0 6.1 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. 
  7. 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. 
  8. "Male vs. Female Cannabis: How to Determine the Sex of Your Plant". Leafly. 2017-09-19. Retrieved 2019-06-12.

Bibliography edit

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

External links edit