If there was a single justifiable reason why cannabis is illegal, it wouldn’t be so annoying. Literally, just one specific piece of evidence to suggest that it really is worth investing billions in the control of cannabis production, distribution and indeed prosecutions. But there isn’t, and chances are there never will be.
In the United Kingdom, cannabis is classified as a Class B Controlled Substance. In the United States, the Federal government classifies marijuana as a Schedule 1 drug. In both countries therefore, the justification for keeping cannabis off the streets is that it represents a danger to the general public and is prone to be abused. Which immediately lights up one particular word in the educated mind…tobacco?
Actually make that two words…what about alcohol?
These are two substances for which all the research in the world has determined that a) they have absolutely no beneficial properties whatsoever and b) they are both massively addictive and potentially deadly. But are they controlled substances? Schedule 1 drugs? Of course not – they’re the vehicle that drives the biggest of big bucks right into the treasury’s coffers every year.
It really is the kind of hypocrisy that makes you feel a little sick.
Still, there will always be those who flout all manner of wild reasons why cannabis should remain illegal. The only problem being that quite a large proportion of such individuals also happen to be those who make the laws we all have to live by. Even with growing calls from doctors and health experts all over the world to get real on the subject, no dice.
These are the kinds of subjects that are supposed to be based on common sense and facts, rather than ideas plucked out of thin air. But when it comes to cannabis legalization, each and every one of the primary arguments in favour of preventing legalization is fundamentally wrong. Not just slightly off the mark – wrong, plain and simple.
See for yourself:
Critics: Marijuana Is an Addictive Substance
First of all, one of the most strongly voiced arguments against cannabis legalization is the one that flags up the risk of addiction. As far as lawmakers are concerned, cannabis is an addictive substance and therefore has no place in decent society. The way critical contingencies see it, people try marijuana for the first time, become habitual smokers, develop dependencies on the stuff and find their lives detrimentally affected as a result. Pure fiction? Not at all – this is exactly what happens in a minority of cases. But once again pointing back to the previous example, how about the fact that alcohol and nicotine are both exponentially more addictive than cannabis, yet are not controlled in the same way at all? To use the ‘addiction’ argument is in every respect misguided and unfair. The reason being that just because it is possible to develop a dependency on something doesn’t mean that the thing in question is evil. Gambling, junk food, shopping, caffeine and sex are all genuine and recognised addictions, but in not one instance regarding the same way as cannabis addiction.
The Truth: Marijuana is less addictive than its 100% legal counterparts.
Critics: Cannabis Has No Medical Value
Not only is this particular argument against cannabis legalization misguided, it’s nothing short of offensive. To claim that cannabis has no medical value is to effectively claim that millions of medical marijuana users all over the world are a) lying or b) cannot be trusted to look after their own health and wellbeing. Not only this, but it is to also make the bold statement that you yourself know more about cannabis and its medicinal properties than thousands of leading doctors and health experts. Cannabis in a wide variety of forms has been used for thousands of years for thousands of purposes. It’s only as of relatively recently, however, that extensive scientific backing has comprehensively proven that marijuana does indeed have medical value. The situation in the United States remains bizarre, nonetheless. The Federal government may still classify cannabis as an illegal substance, but this hasn’t stopped 25 North American states getting into full-scale medical marijuana research and use.
The Truth: Cannabis has more medical value than we could have ever imagined.
Critics: It is a Gateway Drug That Leads to Harder Drugs
This particular misconception was born from a somewhat tragic mistake in the categorisation of cannabis quite some time ago. When laws were first drawn up to regulate and control drug distribution and use, cannabis was placed in the same ‘narcotics’ category as cocaine and heroin. Despite the fact that cannabis never has been and never will be a narcotic, the association between marijuana and harder, more dangerous drugs has nonetheless stuck. Which is precisely why there is a widespread presumption among critics with regard to cannabis use inevitably leading to harder drug use further down the line. In reality however, recent studies have shown there to be absolutely no correlation whatsoever between cannabis use and the respective likelihood of the individual moving on to harder drugs. In fact, medical trials have even shown that measured and monitored cannabis use can actually help advanced drug addicts wean themselves off much more dangerous substances.
The Truth: Cannabis users are in no way more likely to use harder drugs.
Critics: Cannabis Is a Harmful, Potentially Deadly Substance
Ask any critic and they will tell you that cannabis is harmful to human health. Asked them to expand on this and they will no doubt spout the same BS you’ve heard a thousand times before. They’ll talk of it causing respiratory problems, killing brain cells and to a large extend destroying the future lives of the nation’s young. Yawn. Back on planet earth, there is absolutely no scientific evidence whatsoever that any of these claims are true. Quite to the contrary in fact, as not only have recent studies into cannabis use shown that smoking marijuana can actually reverse some of the lung damage attributed to smoking, but also that cannabis compounds may be able to actively protect brain cells. And in terms of being deadly, you need only know that there has never in the course of recorded history been one instance of a fatal marijuana overdose. They simply do not exist.
The Truth: Cannabis is not harmful to human health and fatal overdoses are fundamentally impossible.
Critics: Legalization Will Lead to a Massive Spike in Younger Cannabis Users
It’s relatively easy to see where this particular argument in favour of controlled cannabis comes from. But it’s nonetheless a case of putting two and two together to come up with five…i.e. the wrong answer. The way critics see it, if you make cannabis more readily available allow the public to use it freely, this means more kids will start using it. They’ll be able to get their hands on it easier and the fact that it is no longer illegal will effectively tell them that it is perfectly safe. Suffice to say, flawed logic and hypocrisy in huge doses. First of all, tobacco and alcohol are both readily available in exactly the same capacity cannabis would be – nobody seems to have a problem with that. Secondly, research has shown that in the months and years following the legalization of recreational cannabis in Colorado and Washington State, the number of younger cannabis users actually decreased. By bringing something like cannabis out into the open and working with a proactively, it not only loses its appeal as an exciting and elicit product, but it also easier to educate youngsters about.
The Truth: Cannabis legalization has so far reduced the number of young users.
Critics: Shady Criminals Will Set Up Syndicates and Rackets
Once again, you really only have to look at what is happening over in Colorado right now to know that this could not be any more inaccurate. While the majority of critics don’t seem to understand (or have chosen to ignore) is the way in which legalization of cannabis does not mean giving each and every citizen the right to set up an enormous plantation and go into business commercially. Instead, it simply means driving the black market out of existence by licensing reputable and responsible producers and vendors to grow and supply cannabis, in full accordance with very specific rules and regulations. Quite the opposite of green-lighting every dodgy dealer out there to expand their efforts even further, it’s a case of taking dodgy dealers off the streets entirely and bringing things under control. When you consider the two alternatives, it’s largely impossible to deny which represents the safer, more logical and more proactive option.
The Truth: Cannabis legalization doesn’t mean there won’t still be strict controls enforced.
Critics: Cannabis Cause Far Too Many Accidents and Injuries on the Roads
Last but not least, it’s a little on the difficult side to address this particular claim without spiralling off into a rant. Why? One word…ALCOHOL! A substance that is the direct cause of tens of thousands of needless fatalities on the roads each and every year, and yet remains 100% legal. Stoned driving is a bad idea and we all know that to be the case. But so too is drunk driving and millions do it every day. So if you’re going to throw the book at a substance for such a bonkers claim, why not throw it at the real killer?