Globally, cannabis also known as marijuana has been legalized as a medicinal, religious and recreational drug in the past thousands of years. It slowly migrated across each continent and its use became well recognized. However, since 1971, the UK government recognized cannabis as a threat arguing on its legalization as they saw it having a higher potential for abuse leading to severe psychological or physical dependence. Eventually, it was illegalized with the majority of the UK population being falsely educated into the idea that marijuana has more negative impacts on its users than it really does. Due to cannabis being illegal in the UK, and the situation being so sensitive, I will look at the pros and cons of marijuana legalization and later proceed to carry out a research on finding out the attitude of cannabis through conducting an interview among the Scottish people and compare the situation with other countries such as the U.S.
Pros and Cons of Marijuana legalization
Since 1971, UK government has claimed that cannabis has a higher potential for abuse with no known medical value. Clements and Zhao (2012) argue that the more people continue to use cannabis, the more the social cost will increase leading to reduced productivity among workers and low performance of students in schools. In addition, the need for drug education, rehabilitation and treatment will be higher pushing the economy of UK to a corner as gained money from marijuana tax may get offset by the increased medical costs of diseases such as lung cancer since research conducted showed that "marijuana smoke contains more tar and more of some cancer-causing chemicals than the tobacco smoke" (Cannabis and Cannabinoids, 2016). In addition, use of marijuana is connected to serious mental and physical consequences. Children from parents who were using marijuana when pregnant are likely to develop permanent cognitive deficits. Such children are not only prone to the usage of marijuana when teenagers, but are also likely to develop low IQ in their memory which eventually interferes with their education and value for life. As a consequence, marijuana will contribute to violence, crime and social disintegration of the country.
On the other hand, marijuana should be legalized for it is widely used in the medical field. It is considered to be a very safe therapeutic drug which has been used and tested in the previous thousands of years (Hadland, Knight & Harris, 2015). Its use has been known in eye treatment especially in diseases such as glaucoma as it decreases the pressure inside hence slowing the progression of the disease and as a result preventing blindness. Marijuana may help in reversing the carcinogenic effect of tobacco and enhance lung health. Research conducted showed that marijuana doesn't impair the functioning of the lung rather it increases its capacity due to deep breaths that result from inhaling of the drug. This is contrary to tobacco users who are at risk of losing their lung functioning (Machado Rocha, Stefano, De Cassia Haiek, Rosa Oliveira & Da Silveira, 2011). It assists to control epileptic seizures and decrease some symptoms of severe seizure disorder such as Dravet's Syndrome. Also, it is a pain reliever in headaches and cramps; it reduces nausea particularly to patients undergoing chemotherapy and also lowers stress and depression. Marijuana can not only be a benefit in the field of health but can as well generate revenue for the government. Colorado for instance earns $86 million every year from taxes and fees from marijuana while Washington State is aiming$1 billion revenue in the coming five years (Keyes, 2015). This will not only save the economy of the country but will also help to improve the living standard of the people in the country.
For the research, an interview was carried among the Scottish people asking them on what they thought about Cannabis and its legalization in the UK. The first interview is conducted by Professor Serge Brochu who is from Montreal's Criminology University. The second interview is conducted by a Cannabis activist, Lee Harris, the third one is by Tyson Lowrie of the National Post and the fourth one is from John Hawkins who is an opponent of the activist of the marijuana
In the first interview of Serge Brochu (2016) which is based on the criminological research, Brochu logically outlines the benefits of legalization of the marijuana claiming it is healthy for the marijuana to be made legal in the UK. Brochu argues that the black market for marijuana can be transformed into a legal industry that is taxable and which is supported by a system of quality control. Brochu looks at the major problems that the UK faces such as crimes and addiction and claim that such problems can only be resolved if the government can modernize and legalize the usage of marijuana. The drug strategy of UK "has failed in its core aims in preventing people from using drugs, manufacturing them and in putting a stop to crimes, corruption and death that are taking place on an industrial scale around the country" (Brochu, 2016). Therefore, Brochu looks at the issue and sees that the only way to resolve such issue is for the politicians and the whole public to reconsider such strategy and end up legalizing some of the drugs like marijuana. Brochu (2016) juxtaposes different countries and states to compare and contrasts their viability on the issue of legalizing marijuana as contrary to the UK. One of the countries Brochu compares with is U.S. Within the U.S. and in U.S. Mexico border, crimes and violence have greatly increased due to illegal selling and buying of cannabis. However, due to some laws in the U.S. that were amended in the previous years, such criminal behaviors have drastically reduced. Brochu sees that the UK can also amend such law that can legalize marijuana so as to reduce crime behaviors in the society. Brochu further bases his argument on the Unified Crime Statistic given by the FBI which states that over 587, 700 people are annually arrested for various crimes including cases of murder and rape (Mercado, 2014). Due to this, having marijuana arrests taking place will automatically put a burden on the judicial systems. Furthermore, harsh penalties given to offenses of marijuana can lead to undue social harm to such individuals bringing lifelong risk on them.
In the second interview, Lee Harris is a cannabis activist and looks at all benefits that come along with usage of marijuana. Harris (2014) argues that there are many elements in the marijuana and illegalizing it will make those products that are of benefit to become wasted. These items can be put into proper use to give out drugs which can serve as a medicine for the sake of improvement of health in the medical field. The essential oil in the cannabis has the ability to protect individual's skin, reducing stress and anxiety, boosting appetite and optimizing digestion. According to Harris (2014), the essential oil in marijuana is highly volatile with its components being very powerful and is used in preventing cancer and protecting the heart of individuals from various diseases. Harris asserts that highly versatile components of cannabis give relief for various ailments and symptoms with a higher degree of safety. He approves the writing of Maa and Fig, a scientist who affirms that some of the cannabis pharmacological components are able to mimic an internal chemical system of harm reduction and hence keeping the human body healthy and balanced (2014). Harris points out that marijuana is not harmful to the health of a person as compared to what alcohol or tobacco does and which are both legal and globally used and even regulated by the UK Food and Drug Administration. Therefore, prohibiting and illegalizing marijuana will pose the health of many individuals in the society at risk than it could do when legalized.
Tyson Lowrie of the National post depicts on the legalization of marijuana as something to be implemented with no debate. He skillfully compares and contrasts the prior attempt of UK in legalizing marijuana with the government of U.S. and the inaction that followed (Lowrie, 2016). Lowrie asserts that legalization of marijuana in the U.S. has helped to solve some of its major debts while improving the revenue of the country and as a result, the economy of the country improving at greater heights. With no bias, Lowrie has helped to affirm that legalization of marijuana in the country will bring more benefits than risks to the country.
The final interview is from John Hawkins who is an opponent of the activist of the marijuana. According to Hawkins (2015), cannabis should be illegalized as according to him, there are more risks of marijuana as compared to its benefits. According to him, marijuana can become an addictive drug to most individuals that consume it. What most people don't know about this drug is that at first they can do fine with it and for many years, but eventually they will wear off and that's when they will start taking it more and more to try and get the high back and as a consequence will start developing addiction challenge. Hawkins affirms that marijuana is terrible for people's mental health as a study carried out showed that most users of marijuana have abnormal brain structure with their memory being poor affecting their brain changes (Hawkins, 2015). Using the drug at an early stage can lead to persistent impairments in neurocognitive functioning and IQ and such users are at high risk of anxiety, mood and various disorders such as psychotic thoughts. The drug also decimates many lives of individuals, especially young adolescents. Most of them may end up decreasing their grade in school performance and eventually drop out of school. Just because cannabis doesn't appear to be harmful as alcohol, doesn't mean that it does not have similar effects which can cause risks to people lives. Due to this, Hawkins sees that marijuana is likely to create much harm to individuals than it can benefit them.
Even though there is inadequate experimentation done on marijuana to actually give a decisive conclusion about the effects of long-term use, the available carried research has proven that marijuana is not as dangerous as most believe. Legalizing it will benefit the medical health field since many ailments will be cured including killing cancer cells, reducing pain and other serious diseases. Most health facilities are likely to prefer marijuana to other opioids since marijuana is a safer painkiller than those opioids, especially when dealing with children. Not only the medical field will benefit, but also the government as the country revenue is likely to increase and as a result improve the economy of the country as well as the living standard of individuals in the country. Legalizing it will enable the government to control its dosage and ensure that marijuana being released to the public is pure and safe for human consumption which will help to control crimes that come along with marijuana and its intoxication.
Brochu, S. (2016). Why would a criminologist support the legalization of marijuana? http://nouvelles.umontreal.ca/en/article/2015/11/09/why-would-a-criminologist-support-the-legalization-of-marijuana/
Cannabis and Cannabinoids. (2016). National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/treatment/cam/hp/cannabis-pdq
Clements, K. & Zhao, X. (2012). Economics and marijuana (1st ed.).Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Hadland, S. E., Knight, J. R., & Harris, S. K. (2015). Medical marijuana: a review of the science and implications for developmental-behavioral pediatric practice. Journal of developmental and behavioral pediatrics: JDBP, 36(2), 115.
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