Decriminalisation of Marijuana

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In relation to marijuana, such as the personal use, cultivation or distribution of, there has long been debate about whether decriminalising the drug will reduce crime rates in society (Siegel, 2008). Decriminalisation of marijuana means that it would be given the status of a legal substance whereby there would be no penalties for using the drug; although it may be regulated in ways similar to other legal substances, such as tobacco and alcohol (DEST, 2003). The idea of decriminalising marijuana poses its share of advantages, like if it were to be regulated the money allocated to fighting the war on drugs could be better spent on education and economic development. The disadvantages of decriminalising cannabis however, could see the number of drug-related emergency room visits skyrocket (Siegel, 2008). Before legislation can be drawn up the magnitude of both sides of the argument must be critically anaylsed with further research into the decriminalisation of marijuana (Nadelmann, 2004).

Marijuana is a less dangerous drug than heroin or ice, and in small doses, a relaxant; therefore there is no avid desire to commit crime (ADF, 2005). There is very little punishment if you are caught with marijuana on a small basis anyway. Those who are caught are cautioned and attend cannabis cautioning programs or pay small fines, so in essence, possession of cannabis is practically decriminalised anyway (NCIPC, 2009). Legalisation of marijuana would allow the government to control the price and distribution of the drug, regulating it like other legal substances (alcohol and cigarettes) keeping it away from adolescents, public servants and known felons (Siegel, 2008). This would reduce addict’s cash requirements, ultimately reducing crime rates because users would no longer need to resort to armed robberies or burglaries for a cash flow to support their habits (Atkinson & McDonald, 1995). Legalisation would also stop drug importation and related gang wars due to drugs being...
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