Should drugs like Cannabis be legalised?

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Should drugs like cannabis be legalized? This question must be broken down and categorized specifically because there are numerous types of drugs and aspects of legalization which has to be considered before the question can be answered.  In the article by David Nutt and colleagues, they present numerous perspectives about the issue, including perspectives which consider the different drugs and the different countries involved.  From these perspectives, it can be noted that the situation for each country and each drug is different.  There is however a general agreement to the claim that in the proper amount, cannabis can have therapeutic effects to the body; however, other types of drugs at higher and more frequent intake can be damaging to the body and the public health.  This is the risk which must be considered by all individuals, especially policy-makers before any decisions on drugs like cannabis can be made.

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The right way forward for policy making in relation to cannabis and related drugs should be a policy based on the qualities of the country, the users, the drugs available in the country, and the extent of the drug trade in the country.  The right policy must not prevent the use of drugs like cannabis where therapeutic benefits can be gained.  However, it should also be a policy which is prohibitive towards dangers drugs like crystal methamphetamine which are very much damaging to the user and to society.  The policy must also be based on the present narcotics situation in the country and must be a policy which can match the current developments in technology as well as the drug trade.  The Portugal policy for instance may not work as well for a country like the Philippines where the primary drug of choice is crystal methamphetamine or ‘shabu’ and beating this drug habit has been considered difficult as it primarily attacks and destroys the central nervous system.  These are the nuances for each country which have to be considered before any effective policy on drugs can be planned or implemented.  Policies should consider such nuances in order to secure effective policies or mandates against drugs.

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  1. Anderson DM and Rees D, The Legalization of Recreational Marijuana: How Likely Is the Worst‐Case Scenario?, (2014) 33 Journal of Policy Analysis and Management 1, 221
  2. Campbell W, Twenge J and Carter N, Support for Marijuana (Cannabis) Legalization: Untangling Age, Period, and Cohort Effects, (2017) 3 Collabra: Psychology 1
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  4. Gancarz G The Efficacy of Extreme Spectrum Drug Policies and their Applications to Modern Nations, (2017) Parkland College, 3.
  5. Hall W and Weier M Assessing the public health impacts of legalizing recreational cannabis use in the USA, (2015) 97 Clinical pharmacology & therapeutics 6, 607
  6. Jürgen R and Fischer B, Cannabis legalization with strict regulation, the overall superior policy option for public health, (2015) 97 Clinical pharmacology & therapeutics 6, 541-544.
  7. Nutt D. Campbell C. Gyngell K. Andrews K and Cosslett R. Should drugs be legalised? Some answers to Prince William’s ‘massive question’. The Guardian.(September 20 2017) https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/sep/20/should-drugs-be-legalised-some-answers-to-prince-williams-massive-question <accessed 10 October 2017>
  8. Pacula R and Smart R Medical Marijuana and Marijuana Legalization, (2017) 13 Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 398
  9. Room R Legalizing a market for cannabis for pleasure: Colorado, Washington, Uruguay and beyond, (2014) 109 Addiction 3, 345
  10. Wang J, Ramo D Lisha N and Cataldo J, Medical marijuana legalization and cigarette and marijuana co-use in adolescents and adults, (2016) 166 Drug and alcohol dependence, 35
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