Cannabis, weed, kush, ganja, marijuana, call it whatever you want, it’s everywhere these days. You could even argue it has become the standard social drug of the upcoming generation. Celebrity endorsements have made it cooler than ever to be found rolling a spliff and it is not going anywhere anytime soon. There is hardly a month that goes by where cannabis is not on the news in some legalization dispute. As with most laws that eventually get changed we can already see the signs that your local coffee shop might be stocking some green soon…well soonish. I just hope it doesn’t become as available as cigarettes. The last thing we want is thirteen year olds hanging outside to get some adult to purchase some of that Tesco value green stuff.
The million dollar question is why isn’t cannabis already legalized or at least decriminalized in the UK. We don’t need to look very far to see places where it is so and so far these states haven’t become gatherings of potheads. Anyone with working experience in hospitals will tell you alcohol can be very dangerous and let’s not even go into the social ripple effect drinking has on the British culture. Yet, it is perfectly legal, taxed, and free of giant graphic warning labels like you see on cigarettes. This brings me to the second point, cigarettes are legal too so we know for certain the smoke isn’t the issue here. There has been much talk about cannabis exacerbating mental illnesses, but last time we checked pretty much everything we take in has a side effect, and these studies emphasize that in most cases these mental illnesses are already present but latent.
Social perception of cannabis continues to shift. Some people still consider it a forbidden fruit but the majority are in support of its decriminalization, or they are indifferent to it (of the people I have spoken to). On this note I will like to point out that Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and the beloved Steve Jobs are among the list of ex-cannabis users known to us. The idea that you can get a criminal record for possessing cannabis after a warning or two is at best ridiculous. It is no different from how you can be punished for possession of alcohol in certain Muslim countries. In a truly free state, governments should have no control over what people do with their bodies and I’m sure the cost to the NHS will be accounted for from taxing the product. I don’t need to talk about the jobs decriminalization would create and there is the factor of eradicating the current illegal and untaxed supply chain with no quality control. You only have to Google ‘synthetic cannabis death’ to see what current substitutes result to.
What are your opinions on the current legality of cannabis possession and use?