The legalisation of marijuana is one of those no-brainers, that has quite astonishingly still not been put to rest. Unlike alcohol and tobacco its pejorative effects on society are mainly a product of our nations legislation on it, rather than the drug itself.
The war on drugs costs the UK government billions of pounds. Criminal cases from possession to supply, and all the proceedings in between, act as a drain on tax payers. However in one fell swoop the legalisation of marijuana could not only save but make the government money, as well as undercutting criminal organisations.
As many as 150,000 people each year die from alcohol or tobacco related illness, and the money spent on treating alcohol related illness and crime alone is well into the billions of pounds. Yet you’ll be hard pressed to find any deaths and illnesses directly caused by marijuana as there is ‘no evidence that cannabis causes specific health hazards’. Quite the opposite, marijuana is used in many countries for its medicinal properties in treating illnesses from depression to cancer.
The legalisation of marijuana is common sense. The benefits this will have on society, through tax and medical usage alone should be convincing enough. As far as recreational use is concerned, if drinking to get drunk is fine then what is wrong with smoking to get high? And for those who fear the streets would be shrouded in a ‘green haze’ need only look to the current smoking laws. Recreational use of marijuana can be confined to the home or licensed premises. What’s more, imagine the lives that could be saved if people could easily turn to marijuana in times of great stress rather than alcohol.
The fact of the matter is arguments against the legalisation of marijuana are dumbfounded. Despite being illegal, it is not particularly difficult to get hold of a bag of marijuana; therefore the argument that its legalisation would expose society is ridiculous. The arguments that it is both a gateway drug and addictive are contradicted by studies and often not fully explored. In either case, both are social issues not criminal. And finally, those who claim the nation’s children will be at harm are often slow to urge for the prohibition of alcohol, tobacco and sugary sweets etc.
At the end of the day the clock is ticking towards the legalisation of marijuana. The process has begun all over the world, with the United States leading this new wave of enlightenment. Only recently an online campaign gained over 125’000 signatures, forcing British MPs to debate total legalisation in Parliament. And with this move towards the legalisation of marijuana, there needs to be a simultaneous move towards combating the stigma of ‘getting high’, which in time I’m sure we can achieve.