Cannabis, one of the most addictive and illicit drug, has been up for the legalisation debate for sometime. The marijuana law reform has garnered huge public support in favor of legalizing marijuana, prompting the authorities to advocate removing it from criminal justice system and regulate it like alcohol and tobacco.
The entire legalisation debate is rooted on promoting the medicinal usage of Cannabis. Those in favour argue about the benefits it will bring.
- Legalising cannabis will shrink the multi-billion illegal market along with disproportionate effect the criminalisation has on people belonging to a specific race. It will also curb the crime and violence associated with the illegal trade and drug cartels
- Medicinal use can help explore the new-age cure for certain diseases and conditions
- It promotes consumer safety as the product testing will become a standard process
- Legalising and regulating marijuana will create jobs and economic opportunities as well as increase tax revenues from the industry
- It will also help reduce costs with decreased arrests, court cases and other administrative costs incurred, reducing the strain on judicial system
However legalising Cannabis poses greater problems
- The primary problem of Marijuana legalisation is the risk of its problematic use by exposing larger number of people to a possible substance abuse disorder
- Legalization can also result in leakage of the product from adult market to younger age groups exposing them to the pitfalls of problem use. Addiction at such an early age can affect their academic performance and cause psychological issues among the age group
- It can prompt the launch of new drinks and food items laced with the drug in the market. The commercialisation of cannabis can allow for persuasive advertising to attract new users and convert moderate users into problem users
- There is a shift in the demand for cannabis with higher THC in last two decade, which raises the risk of bad experiences and addiction. As the legal production grows the product with concentrated THC can be freely available to all, increasing the risk of problem use
While legalization promises various benefits, the authorities need to lay down robust checkpoints for regulating marijuana to curtail the risk of widespread addiction. Furthermore, on-going awareness campaigns and advertisements to educate people to say no, should be a mainstay of strategic initiatives around Cannabis legalisation and regulation.