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Why cannabis should be legalised

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Known in some circles as the ‘gate-way drug’, very few can honestly say that they haven’t given it a go at least once in their life.

With recent reports showing that police have detected more than 7,800 cannabis factories in the UK in the past year (more than double the figure four years ago) has the time come to legalise the drug?

This debate has been going on for way too long and in recent years, more and more closet cannabis enthusiasts are coming out of the closet. Last month The Guardian’s food bloggerOliver Thring even published an article called: Cooking with cannabis (it’s an informative read, check it out).

Whether or not you agree with the legalisation of the drug, there is no doubt that a debate is always started whenever there is a mention of its name.

So why is the most widely used illegal drug in the UK illegal in the first place? Here’s a quick history session: cannabis use is believed to date back 4,000 years. It was used for medicinal proposes, mostly as a pain killer. Even Queen Victoria used it to help with her menstrual pains. For thousands of years, people freely used the drug for medicinal purposes until it was made illegal in the UK in 1928 after some kill joy delegate convinced everyone that it was more dangerous than opium (seriously?!).

But we English like to break the law (especially the unreasonable laws) and despite it being very illegal, the drug was still used for recreation with jazz musicians in Soho being some of the first to use it for those purposes. The first ever drug bust in the UK was made in 1952 at the Number 11 Club in Soho.

The drug became popular amongst free-spirited liberals (hippies) in the 1960s and in 1968, the Wootton Report, a Home Office investigation into the effects of cannabis concluded:

"There is no evidence that this activity is causing violent crime or aggression, anti-social behaviour, or is producing in otherwise normal people conditions of dependence or psychosis requiring medical treatment."

So more than forty years after these reports, how is it is that it is still illegal to grow, produce, possess or supply the drug to another person?

Here is why cannabis should be made legal:

  1. Cannabis is better than alcohol: In a report by CBS, Bristol University found that alcohol and tobacco are more dangerous than marijuana. The researchers used three factors to determine this: physical harm, potential for addiction, and impact on society. Heroin and cocaine were rated the most dangerous drugs of all by the study.
  2. Marijuana Benefits Mood: Xia Zhang and colleagues from University of Saskatchewan show that a potent and synthetic cannabinoid promotes neurogenesis. This drug also exerts anti-anxiety and antidepressant-like effects.
  3. Pure marijuana is safer: Over 6,000,000 UK citizens risk their health by consuming cannabis of uncontrolled and doubtful purity.
  4. More money: The Government receives no revenue. The criminals make all the profits. Think of all the money that the Government can make from the taxes (perhaps then they could stop increasing tuition fees). 
  5. Legal or not, people are still going to use it: The fact that cannabis is illegal doesn't seem to have had any effect on the amount sold and used and it remains very, very widespread.
The fact of the matter is that as long as cannabis is illegal, scientist will never truly realise the potential of the drug. Even states in the US are beginning to warm to the idea. In California, cannabis and cannabis products like cannabis brownies and even cannabis ice cream (no lie) can be purchased in marijuana shops and supermarkets by medical marijuana card holders.

Seeing as the UK tends to copy everything that America does, perhaps the government should join in and legalise cannabis.

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