The Legalisation of the possession, cultivation and supply of cannabis is not a question of whether cannabis use is beneficial (as claimed by hundreds of millions of users around the world) or causes harm (a claim made by a quite small percentage of users). Neither is it about the scientific evidence, nor is it about whether or not one should use cannabis.
All major scientific studies into the effects of cannabis on people have concluded that the dangers have been grossly exaggerated or concocted, and that cannabis law is at best ineffective and at worst in itself illegal, being contrary to several Articles of Human Rights
The essential questions that should be debated are:
- Does the prohibition law (the Misuse of Drugs Act, 1971) harm or benefit to society and individuals?
- What justification is there in punishing a person who grows, uses or even supplies cannabis if they are not harming or threatening anybody?
Two UK Royal Commissions (The British Indian Hemp Drugs Commission, 1894 and The Wootton Report, 1969) looked at cannabis and the law and concluded that prohibition was not the means to reducing harm. Those expensive reports were but were ignored by the governments of the times.
Despite the outcry from both public and eminent bodies, successive UK governments have refused to even debate the legalisation of cannabis. Only now is the debate beginning to open up.
There have been over 1 million prosecutions in the UK for the possession of the cannabis plant over the last 30 years. Most of those people have had no victims to their cannabis "crimes" and posed no threat to society. The annual cost of this to the taxpayer has grown to billions of pounds.
Moreover, the cannabis issue is about much more than the freedom to smoke a 'joint.'
Cannabis, also known as hemp, is one of the most versatile and efficacious plants on earth. It can be used to produce literally thousands of products to replace many of the dangerous synthetics presently in use - everything from dioxin-free paper to pollution-free fuel, from safe herbal remedies to biodegradable plastics, from furniture and bricks for building to food and clothing. Cannabis could literally feed, clothe, house and ease the suffering of most of the world's population, all done on a local level without damage to the environment.
We need to recognise what our greater-grandparents all knew. In his "Complete Herbal and English Physician" of 1826, Culpeper wrote of hemp: "It is so common a plant, and so well known by almost every inhabitant of this kingdom, that a description of it would be altogether superfluous." Culpeper went on to list some of the medical uses of cannabis. Today, many millions testify to the therapeutic value of cannabis to them. Many more are denied the benefit by a law that cannot be said to work.
The legalisation of cannabis would enable research and investment into the potential benefits of using cannabis once again.
The cost of this senseless prohibition is to society and the environment - it effects each and every one of us in a detrimental way, even though we may not be aware of it. Much of the world is polluted, starving or crime-ridden. Millions of otherwise law-abiding people in Britain live constantly in fear of threat "knock on the door" - or their door being kicked in. Sick people are denied an effective medicine. The young are alienated from authority. UK taxpayers contribute without choice to the annual bill of trying to enforce prohibition that now runs in to over £18 billion.
The results of legalising cannabis would be far-reaching and benefit the whole of society. They include:
- Decrease in general crime rate.
- Easing of the drugs problem.
- Increase in police and court resources to fight serious crime.
- Increase in Government revenue through taxation on profits.
- Increase in public and social well being, spirit, health and happiness.
- Decrease in pollution.
- Decrease in the price of fuel, energy and power for our homes, businesses, factories etc.
- Decrease in unemployment.
Legalisation of cannabis is the only sensible solution to solve the problems associated with its illegality!