The Lib Dems Wanted To Legalise Marijuana, But Is Marijuana Legalization A Good Idea?
The Liberal Democrat Manifesto Stated That They Would Legalize Marijuana, But Is It A Good Idea In Principal?
Marijuana (A.K.A Cannabis) has been traced back as early as the 3rd millennium BC. Originally harvested as hemp, the plant was used a big part of agriculture for thousands of years and it has been speculated that it may have been one of the first plants ever harvested. Marijuana produces effects that include, but are not limited to, relaxation and euphoria (the “high” or “stoned” feeling), a general alteration of conscious perception, increased awareness of sensation, increased libido and distortions in the perception of time and space.
Cannabis is well known to slow the user’s reaction time and cause dizziness in high enough doses. The drug has been put under the scope in multiple studies relating to what health benefits it may possess. Much research has found links between the cannabinoids in the plant and improvement in the condition of patients who have cancer. Research has also shown that it can improve the effects of Parkinson’s Disease.
Links between cannabis use during pregnancy and the behaviour of their children have been found. These results indicated that women who smoke the plant whilst pregnant, have children that are more likely to exhibit bad behaviour. Major links between marijuana use and mental health issues have also been found. However, the marijuana legalization movement tends to downplay these findings.
Personally, I think the Liberal Democrats included this in their manifesto as an incentive to vote aimed at the younger generation. They claimed they could raise £1 Billion in taxes by legalizing the drug. If the drug was to be legalized the government would likely have a problem with an increased number of people driving whist under the influence of it. Legalizing the drug would most definitely lead to a higher number of accidents on the road. A UK survey conducted in 2014 found out that the mean average for a person to try their first drug was at age 19. The survey also concluded that the mean age at which a person stops taking drugs is 26, with 93% of the people surveyed stating they had smoked pot. 82% stated that marijuana was the first drug they ever took with 69% stating they took it because they were “curious”.
But what was more curious about the survey was that 84% claimed they wouldn’t seek to take drugs again if they were legalized.
The Black Market
The failure of the war on drugs has shown us that the harder we try to crunch down on the black market, the bigger the demand for drugs becomes. The black market turns over billions of pounds a year through the growth and sale of these substances. The easiest way to crumble the black market of course is to make these drugs available at a lower price than the black market can afford to do so. In the state of California there was reportedly twice as many unlicensed marijuana dispensaries and licensed and legal ones. There were also reportedly more street dealers selling pot due to the lower price they would charge people looking to by the substance. This is partly due to the taxing on marijuana dispensaries that means they have to increase their prices. This would be the case in any situation. The seller with the cheapest product will attract the most clients.
Medicinal marijuana differs from the cannabis sold on the street in a variety of ways. It is grown in specialist environment’s and allowed to grow naturally. Much of the street sold pot is sprayed with chemicals that are harmful to us. These chemicals make the plant grow quicker. Growers have also engineered stronger strains of marijuana that have double or more of the chemical THC in it. This leads to stronger effects that have been linked to mental illnesses. One widely know strain of this kind is known as “cheese”. Medical use may range from the smoking or vaping of the cleaner safer strains of marijuana, or may include synthesizing the cannabinoids from the plant. By synthesizing the cannabinoids, the plant’s beneficial chemicals can be utilized without the patient experiencing the “high” euphoria. The patient will also not be exposed to the less desirable chemicals in the plant. The benefits of medicinal marijuana have been studied. These include, but are not limited to, Parkinson’s Disease, Cancer, Aids (HIV), Arthritis, Tourette Syndrome, Multiple Sclerosis and Crohn’s Disease.
The major concerns I would have with the legalization of Marijuana in the UK are the increased availability to children and teenagers. The increased danger to members of the public due to people driving whilst high, and the fact that people who are high don’t tend to think as clearly as somebody who is sober. Imagine calling a heating engineer to do some work in your house and he turns up high. I would worry about his and my own safety. The quality of work would end up lacking and the chance of a mistake that could potentially be life threatening is increased. The legalization of the drug could help people who are addicted to it get un-addicted to it, but it may also lead to people with addictions being more inclined to give in to their addiction.
The drug has been known to lead to short term memory loss, development of anxiety and paranoia illnesses, problems retaining information and even mental addiction. Although the drug can raise money, its financial benefits would be utilized whilst sacrificing the long-term wellbeing of users who otherwise would not have used the substance. Now, the use of the drug comes down to the choice of the user of course. The user decides whether he or she will use it, but dangling food in the face of somebody with an eating disorder is still morally wrong. Making cannabis even more available will lead to an increased exposure to children and teenagers who will likely be coaxed into trying the drug. Instead of it being their friends peer pressuring them into trying it, the pressure will come from advertisers and store signs. The benefit of legalization is that with the black market squashed, the quality of the substance can be controlled to avoid toxic and damaging chemicals being used in the growth of the plant. If the drug is legalized, funding into research could take place. This could lead to genetic tweaks that could remove the harmful chemicals from the plant.
- The drug can raise a lot of money in taxes
- The drug offers health benefits along with health problems
- The drug may become more accessible to children and young adults
- The war on drugs can be revived through the legalization of marijuana
- Black market drug dealing can be priced out of existence if planned properly
- Can help addicts kick the habit
I think the legalization of cannabis would lead to health problem in the future for long term users. Medical use is still a good idea because whilst used only to treat a condition, many of the long term detrimental effects will not be sustained. Medicinal Marijuana is also much safer because the quality of the plant can be controlled. Much of the street-sold pot is riddled with toxic chemicals which are sprayed on the plant to make it grow faster. Truth is, smoking a joint is not going to kill you. I am, however, worried by the studies that have shown the many mental health issues that pot can cause. I have met many people who have smoked pot for 30+ years and many of them exhibit the effects I mentioned in this article.
I believe that in controlled conditions it is definitely possible for a legalization of marijuana to work. It worked in Colorado and greatly benefited the state’s economy. We will just have to wait and see what happens in regard to any health issues that may crop up in the future.
Written By Kane John Woodward