Over the last few years, attitudes towards cannabis have been changing. As CBD oils have made it into the mainstream around the world, more and more people have become interested in marijuana itself.
California has led the way towards legalizing cannabis in the US and now other countries are engaging with the wider debate around the drug. But what are the main arguments you should know about?
Cannabis Has Medical Uses
This argument hits a nerve for most people as clinical trials have shown that medical marijuana can act as a pain killer and muscle relaxant, helping people with a diverse range of disabilities and illnesses. In many countries reconsidering cannabis and its relations, legalizing medical marijuana could stand as a compromise that moves towards full legalization.
Cannabis is No More Dangerous Than Tobacco or Alcohol
One argument that is put forward frequently is that cannabis is no more dangerous than tobacco or alcohol and should, therefore, have the same legal status. Indeed, cannabis can be smoked or vaped just as tobacco can as well as through glass bongs or water pipes.
The argument here is that the effects of recreational cannabis are similar to tobacco or alcohol. Furthermore, many people argue that cannabis could be less addictive and, though it has a reputation as a ‘gateway drug’ there’s no hard evidence that this is really the case.
There Will be Fewer Drug-Related Arrests
This is an important argument because around 20 million Americans are already smoking cannabis each day even though only 9 states have legalized recreational use. This means that there are a lot of people breaking the law already, some of them because they are using the drug to treat a medical issue.
The cultural implication is massive here too. Most of the people prosecuted for using cannabis are black or Latino, groups who already disproportionately represented in the prison population. Legalizing cannabis is, in this sense, not just about parity with other similar drugs but a cultural move towards greater equality and tolerance.
What’s the Other Side of the Argument?
At the moment, cannabis is illegal in many countries around the world and, where governments are considering a new approach, there are still arguments for maintaining the status quo.
The reality is that while cannabis may be held up as equal to tobacco or alcohol in risk, there is still little clinical evidence to confirm this belief. Tobacco itself is also becoming more and more restricted, particularly in places like the UK, which has imposed a smoking ban in public places and hopes to eradicate smoking completely by 2030. And, when you consider that tobacco is carcinogenic, alcohol can cause liver failure and both can be highly addictive, neither are great company for cannabis to be keeping!
With the cannabis debate now at the forefront of public attention, it’s vital that everyone has a good understanding of the implications of the law now and any future changes. There’s a lot to consider here on both sides of the argument.
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