Legislation of cannabis would be more beneficial to the society than prohibition

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  • Published On: 10-11-2023

Legislation of cannabis would be more beneficial to the society than prohibition

Legalization of cannabis have been one of the most debated areas internationally since it is one of the most illicit drugs amongst all. The legislation regarding possession and usage of cannabis does vary from country to country. The primary notion to strike off cannabis as a drug as legal primarily because it caters to the recreational senses of people and often attracts the young age group. The medicinal benefits of the drugs have not been acknowledged which is why it is governed by the Misuse Drugs Act, 1971 and the possession of cannabis is sufficient to prove guilt. Continuous debate regarding legalization of cannabis has been a social discourse and even has swiftly entered the political arena with such introspection from the media. Keeping the impact on public health as the main concern there is a general disregard in the minds of policymakers with legalizing the drug, the discretion regarding the status of cannabis is under is unclear.


The case of cannabis oil

The position of cannabis arose with the case of Alfie deacon, who is a sever year old boy suffering from epilepsy leading to have more than five hundred seizures. He was on steroids mostly which could give him psychosis and assign him to face a pre mature death. Alfie’s mother had tried all means to get access to cannabis oil which definitely wasn’t an all in all cure but could definitely give him a better quality of life and reduce the number of seizures. Hannah deacon, the mother of the patient had tirelessly run campaigns but no change of fate. Even after recognizing medicinal benefits, cannabis oil could not be accessed. Tables of discussion had taken a turn when Billy Caldwell, suffering from severe epilepsy had arrived at the Heathrow

  1. Ellis T and Silverstone, D (2012) “Legalise Drugs?”in Ellis T and Savage S (Eds), Debates in Criminal Justice, London, Routledge, P 148-184
  2. Patel Y. and Hazelwood A. (2020), Church Court Chambers “Should cannabis use be legalized? accessed on 10th September, 2020
  3. airport and had the possession of cannabis oil which was prescribed by a doctor residing in Northern Ireland. Since Canada had decriminalized cannabis, Billy’s mother had obtained cannabis oil that would last them about six moths to treat Billy and reduce his seizure attacks. Unfortunately, the cannabis oil was then seized since it had the composition of Tetrahydrocannabinol (TCH) and Cannabidiol, the former being illegal in the UK whereas, the later could be brought in UK. TCH was considered to have no medicinal vale and governed as a Schedule 1 drug.
  4. Billy’s recurring seizure attacks had seen a reduction after the use of cannabis oil and after the intense pressure and after a lot of deliberation the Home Office prescribed the cannabis oil and kept Billy’s seizure attacks under control for a whole 300 days. The reflection of the medicinal values in the cannabis oil led to the access of cannabis oil given to both Alfie and Billy under special licenses. This whole episode then led a wave of rethinking and finally led the Home Secretary to recognize the medicinal benefits and under strict regulation medical cannabis were legalized since 1971. However, the cannabis oil was strictly provided under prescription only after the patient had received every possible pharmaceutical drug to contain their disease. An interim panel was established which carefully considered the need to provide license and very few were awarded as well. The case of these two boys had brought about an impact and initiated the thought process which could at least help in reconsidering the possible benefits that the drugs have rather than dismissing it on the grounds of tackling addiction. The flipside is a bigger picture and must be rationalized.

    Cannabis regulation in UK and other Countries

    The recognition of medicinal benefits of cannabis came about with the recent case of cannabis oil but cannabis in general are still deemed to be illegal and identified under Class B substance under the 1971 Act. Even though countries like Netherlands, Canada, Portugal, Spain have taken
  5. Ibid
  6. University of Reading, 2018 “Cannabis oil for epilepsy – what you need to know”, < https://research.reading.ac.uk/research-blog/cannabis-oil-for-epilepsy-what-you-need-to-know/ > accessed on 10th September, 2020
  7. a step ahead and decriminalized the consumption, possession and usage of cannabis as a drug but the UK government has still declared penalties on growing, possessing or distributing cannabis in any form.
  8. More than 224 millio cannabis consumers can be found in the global sector which are heavily supplied and controlled by a criminally regulated market. This has led to the spread of a network that are latently operating and eventually responsible for the distribution of the drugs anyway which are not even monitored and may cause a potent danger due to the inefficiency that poses. This latent operation also makes it very difficult to chase easy and every supplier causing it to be more time consuming and ultimately no secure solution can be reached. Uruguay had sensed the rise in the criminal market leading to legalize the consumption, production and distribution of cannabis for non-medicinal use as well.

    Pros and Cons of legalizing Cannabis in the UK

    The idea behind decriminalizing cannabis is primarily to stop the overuse of cannabis for recreational purposes which may lead to mental health crisis, increasing the potent risk of psychosis, addiction, impairment in brain development or even respiratory problems. The risk behind decriminalizing cannabis was considered a risk so much so that it is still considered a Class B drug, attracting a term of 5 years imprisonment if defaulted. However, a global rethinking is taking place which is looking at the merits that could be brought about which could help in removing any criminal element. In 2016, it was evaluated that cannabis was the most illegally consumed drugs by about 2.1 million people between the age group of 15-59. An explosion of revenue was witnessed which created an influx in the syndicate

  9. Way of Leaf Staff,2020 “ Is weed legal in the UK” , < https://wayofleaf.com/blog/is-weed-legal-in-the-uk > accessed on 10th September, 2020
  10. United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime. World drug report 2012. < www.unodc.org/ documents/data-and-analysis/WDR2012/WDR_2012_web_small.pdf > accessed on 10th September.
  11. Cotton B, 2019, Business Leader “Will UK legalize Recreational cannabis?” < https://www.businessleader.co.uk/will-the-uk-legalise-recreational-marijuana/64048/ > accessed on 10th September, 2020 of drug lords and criminal gangs. The flip side of this is also that the consumers are tricked and provided low quality drugs which could cause a larger risk to the consumer’s health without any accountability. However, if the consumption or distribution were considered legal then the distributors would ascertain a certain quality that should be maintained even for recreational purpose. The whole cannabis could be brought under a regulatory body just like alcohol or tobacco. Unlike the later two, cannabis does involve proven medicinal benefits as well. Not only that, a good boost in the taxes could be demonstrated and with so many active marijuana consumers, legalizing the drug a transparent tax system can also be maintained along with employment opportunities required for production, marketing, sales etc. Once the prohibition is acknowledged to be harmful to the society and a proper legislative and political framework can be established to control and restrict the use of cannabis, with a proper regulatory method, the legalization of cannabis would not be as harmful as it is deemed to be. Many countries like Uruguay, Colorado, Netherlands etc. have proper regulatory body and a sustainable commercial model has been designed for the smooth transition of legalizing cannabis from such strict regulation.
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    The scholars, medical practitioners, political thinkers have advanced the debate around legalizing cannabis with its exclusive medical benefits and if the scope of research is expanded, the medicinal values may be observed to cure more diseases. The drug laws around this are softer than before and a more viable social acceptance is being built for making the commercial circle more transparent and of approved quality. Perspectives towards the medication are without a doubt mellowing far and wide and the law in this zone has entered a phase of an unchartered area. This could not only encourage the medicinal industry but also may be a massive move to eradicate the underground criminal influence impacting the society in turn the public health in general. To look at it from afar, the prohibitions laid on the used of drugs only advanced the possibilities of harboring a whole new world of criminals, young adults would be more fascinated by the world that is created to keep it out from them, hence get involved in criminal

  13. Cotton B, 2019, Business Leader “Will UK legalize Recreational cannabis?” < https://www.businessleader.co.uk/will-the-uk-legalise-recreational-marijuana/64048/ > accessed on 10th September, 2020
  14. activities to satisfy the curiosity. It can only be normalized and kept regulated so that both the society benefits with respect to the health concerns and receive a great boost monetarily. The question of addiction can be controlled or kept in check if the entire process is out in the open. A transparent system is any day a better investment than trying to chase rat out of holes. The war on drugs should be rethought and a comprehensive change should be visualized and brought about.
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