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Should cannabis be legalised?

DEBATE: A cannabis joint

Each week we ask two writers with contrasting opinions to answer the question...


YES
RIAZ JAY

WEED IS another victim of negative press and smear campaign to keep it an illicit substance and I have no clue why. It should be legalised, but one step at a time. It should be made legal for medicinal purposes, and once the misconceptions of maraijuna can be rectified by patients who use them, then there will be evidence that the perpetuation of the evils of weed no longer continues.

Ask the average person why weed is bad, and they’ll tell you “they’ve heard it makes you hallucinate, and lose control and makes you do silly things.” The majority of people who are anti-marijuana are people who have never consumed it, whether that is because of what they’ve heard or just because they have no interest in taking it. But whatreally confuses me are people who are happy to drink and say alcohol is finebut weed isn’t.

Let’s look at the facts. There has never been one recorded death relating to theuse of marijuana. With alcohol, the Office for National Statistics reported that in 2010 there were 8,790 alcohol related deaths in the UK, a figure which is increasing every year according to (OFNS). That’s just the UK, think about worldwide deaths by comparison to marijuana related deaths.

Look at Amsterdam, they have a flourishing industry. They banned magic mushrooms because of the hallucinogenic effects of it that were a danger to users. Hard drugs are not tolerated there either. It’s simply aquestion of education and use in moderation. If cannabis isconsidered illegal because it’s bad for you, then the government are the biggest hypocrites for selling tobacco and alcohol because studies have proven theyare WORSE on health issues and social issues by comparison.

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NO
CHARLEY DUNLOP

I HAVE to start by saying certain people are more susceptible to both alcohol and drug abuse and others not so much. The effects of alcohol and drugs have totally different effects on different people. There are people who will take drugs every day, weekend and never come across any problems and lead a pretty normal life. But there are people whose lives are effected by drug use.

I do not think cannabis should be legal to the public because of these facts. In March 2005 a study showed that smoking cannabis virtually doubles the risk of developing mental illnesses such asschizophrenia. I think if cannabis was legalised it would go the same way as smoking cigarettes has. It would be deemed “cool” from a young age and vulnerable youths would get sucked in and end up having the struggle to kick the habit at a later stage in life.

The facts are cannabis increases therate of mental health issues and the morereadily available and easily accessible itis the more likely it is for people to smoke the drug. If people were suffering from mental health issues caused by cannabis smoking this would effect the NHS andthe tax payers.

I think if people want to smoke cannabis illegally I feel they know the risks involved and don’t have any problem with that, then I say go for it, but I think making the drug available legally will encourage more people to smoke it. I generally believe if smoking was illegal when I was 14, I would never have started and now I am 23 and would do anything to stop. At the risk of having long term mental health problems, I don’t think it’sworth it! Keep it illegal!

THE 'HEAD TO HEAD''COLUMN IS BY THE LONDON 360 REPORTERS
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