Should the use of cannabis be legalised?

Cannabis is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United Kingdom. However, more and more people are campaigning to see it legalised. These people have many arguments that could give good reason for the drug to be legalised, but these are also arguments against it being legalised because it is dangerous in many ways. Either way, there is no way to decide who is right or wrong unless the deciding party is in full awareness of the benefits and disadvantages that legalising the drug could bring. In this essay I will be putting forward why cannabis should be legalised or why it shouldn’t and then say my opinion on the matter.
For the past year cannabis has frequently been in the news headlines in the UK, and it was recently announced that the legal status of the drug is to be reviewed. This may come as welcome news to the many people who use the drug either for medicinal or recreational reasons.
The supply and possession of cannabis is illegal in the UK and is likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. Even though the Home Secretary, David Blunkett, recently down-graded from cannabis from a ‘Class B’ drug to a ‘Class C’ drug.

Some people believe that the legalisation of cannabis would lead to an increase in the usage of the drug among young people. They argue that if cannabis was legal, it would be easier to obtain and therefore more tempting to try.
The graph above shows the percentage of cannabis use of young people around the UK in 2002. I believe this is the most reliable source for this information in 2002 as it was collected by the British Crime Survey taken by the Home Office.
This chart shows the falling prices of cannabis between 1994-2004. Therefore if the prices keep on falling, more and more people will be able to buy this drug. Furthermore, If more and more people will buy and use cannabis, Most of the people will become addicted and at some point move on to stronger and more harmful drug, for example cocaine.
This graph shows another reason why cannabis should be kept illegal. The graph shows just how dramatic the number of convictions there are per year and that police time could be put to better use if cannabis was legalised. I think this is a reliable source as it was published in the Home office annual statistics of 2000. Therefore, if cannabis would be legalised more people would obtain the drug and the number of cannabis offender’s increase.
There is also some short term effects of cannabis one of this includes Mood effects. Adverse mood effects can occur, particularly in inexperienced users (Users that do not take the drug often), after large doses of cannabis. These effects include panic, depression, delusions, and hallucinations. These effects normally disappear after a few hours after use.
Some of the long term effects of cannabis include impact on the respiratory system. Cannabis smoke contains many of the same components as tobacco smoke. As much as four times the amount of tar can be deposited on the lungs of cannabis smokers as cigarette smokers. Cannabis cigarettes usually do not have filters and cannabis smokers usually develop a larger puff volume, inhale more deeply and hold their breath several times longer than tobacco smokers.
This graph show, the long term effects on cannabis, which include: Your eyes, Central nervous system, respiratory system, circulatory system, stomach and intestines, pregnancy and babies and reproductive system of male and female. It also describes each one and shows some of the disadvantages of it in bullet points
One of the reasons why cannabis should be legalised is that the money that is spent on attempting to decrease the number of people consuming cannabis illegally would be reduced , the police would be targeting more dangerous criminals, it would be easier for people to ask for help about their addiction because they wouldn’t fear getting in trouble and also because people have the right to practise their religion ( Buddhism ) .It was reported on the BBC news website since The Netherlands legalised cannabis in the 1970 usage of heroin declined. This counters the argument that cannabis is the “gateway” to more dangerous drugs
There has not been a reported death for which cannabis is directly responsible, whereas, there is always news and stories linking tobacco with cancer and high blood pressure. Yet cigarettes are available to buy to anyone in Britain over the legal age, while cannabis is a banned substance. The opportunity cost of not legalising cannabis is alcohol and cigarettes, which are consumed anyway. Alcohol is socially approved, even though people know the consequences of alcohol. Cannabis is not packed as tightly as a tobacco cigarette, and so the substances smoked is about half that in a tobacco cigarette. Also, tobacco smokers generally smoke a lot more cigarettes per day than do cannabis smokers.
A question asked by many of the public is “alcohol causes more crime, abuse and costs to the NHS as well as society as a whole and it is legal, so why should cannabis be illegal?” The real answer is yet to be answered, but in my opinion, the reason why cannabis is still illegal is because people and the government are concerned that the users that will start taking cannabis and will move on to more dangerous drugs and therefore will become infected and diseased with various different diseases and illnesses.
I believe cannabis shouldn’t be legalised, if it was it would send the wrong message to people, that it’s safe when it has negative long term effects. Also because from what I have seen people who consume cannabis, later begin to consume more dangerous drugs such as heroin. There are long term negative effects on the body from using cannabis. Buying cannabis also wastes money which could be spent on more worthwhile things such as education. There will be an increase in people using the drug so there will be more rehabilitation programs which taxpayers and the government will have to pay for.
References:
http://www.lca-uk.org/ http://www.drugs.homeoffice.gov.uk http://www.mapinc.org http://www.telegraph.co.uk http://www.uk.answers.yahoo.com http://www.rds.homeoffice.gov.uk
RESEARCH
* Even hardcore smokers can become anxious, panicky, suspicious or paranoid.
* Cannabis affects your coordination, which is one of the reasons why drug driving is just as illegal as drink driving.
* Some people think cannabis is harmless just because it’s a plant – but it isn’t harmless. Cannabis, like tobacco, has lots of chemical ‘nasties’, which can cause lung disease and possibly cancer with long-term or heavy use, especially as it is often mixed with tobacco and smoked without a filter. It can also make asthma worse, and cause wheezing in non-asthma sufferers.
* Cannabis itself can affect many different systems in the body, including the heart: It increases the heart rate and can affect blood pressure.
* If you’ve a history of mental health problems, then taking cannabis is not a good idea: It can cause paranoia in the short term, but in those with a pre-existing psychotic illness, such as schizophrenia, it can contribute to relapse.
* If you use cannabis and have a family background of mental illness, such as schizophrenia, you may be at increased risk of developing a psychotic illness.
* It is reported that frequent use of cannabis can cut a man’s sperm count, reduce sperm motility, and can suppress ovulation in women and so may affect fertility.
* If you’re pregnant, smoking cannabis frequently may have some association with the risk of the baby being born smaller than expected.
* Regular, heavy use makes it difficult to learn and concentrate. Some people begin to feel tired all the time and can’t seem to get motivated.
* Some users may want to buy strong herbal cannabis to get ‘a bigger high’ but unpleasant reactions can be more powerful when you use strong cannabis, and it is possible that using strong cannabis repeatedly could lead in time to more users experiencing harmful effects such as dependence or being more at risk of developing the mental health effects.

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