Should Cannabis Be Legalised?

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Should cannabis be legalised in Australia? Your response should provide a considered discussion of the advantages and disadvantages of both legalisation and criminalisation which shows evidence of wide and varied reading.

Cannabis originated from Central Asia generations ago, with references to Cannabis dating back to medical and religious Chinese and Indian texts. Cannabis was also used in the West as hemp fibre, for industrial purposes, before it was used for medical use by W.B. O’Shaughnessy. Through this essay, I will be evaluating cannabis as a recreational drug, which has occurred since the 1840’s seen in hashish clubs and bars, and will be analysing the advantages and disadvantages of the legalisation and criminalisation of cannabis to determine whether cannabis should be legalised in Australia.

In most Western countries, Cannabis has been viewed as a dangerous narcotic, dating back to the 20th century, whilst a number of legislation acts have been put in place to prohibit this drug such as, the Geneva Convention Dangerous Drugs Act (1925), Individual country legislation: Great Britain, (1928); Australia (1928); USA, (1937) and the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, (1961). Australia has decriminalised cannabis since 1987 in all states, for small amounts of cannabis, fines and cautioning are the common penalty, although the amount of cannabis allowed in each state, as well as the punishment of possession of these drugs varies from state to state. When analysing whether cannabis should be legalised in Australia you must analyse the advantages and disadvantages of the legalisation and criminalisation of cannabis. The argument of legalising cannabis comes after the increased prevalence of cannabis use in Australia, As stated in “Illicit drug use in Australia: chapter 4” the 2004 National Household Survey, around one third (33.6%) of Australians aged 14 yrs and over reported that they had used cannabis at some point in their lives, which has increased from (30.3%) of Australians in 1998.

A major common argument for the legalisation for the use of cannabis is the argument that the current penalties and prohibitions that are in place have failed to reduce cannabis use and the social costs associated with continual users. (Hall, W. (1997) Many believe that the current prohibitions in place for cannabis is ineffective as cannabis use is as high as ever, as recently stated (33.6%) of Australians over the age of 14 has used cannabis in their lifetime. Whilst people may also perceive the current prohibition on cannabis use as hypocritical as cannabis is less harmful than alcohol therefore to maintain consistency, if alcohol is legally available then so should cannabis. (Hall, W. (1997) According to the “American Scientist magazine” states that Alcohol is one of the most toxic drugs, and using just 10 times what one would use to get the desired effect can lead to death. Marijuana is one of least toxic drugs, requiring thousands of times the dose one would use to get the desired effect to lead to death. This “thousands of times” is actually theoretical, since there has never been a recorded case of marijuana overdose.” These facts highlight the perceived hypocrisy that many believe is in place in the government’s current legislation in regards to cannabis use. Although, many also believe that the government can p through legalising cannabis use through a regulation system of taxation similar to what is used currently for alcohol taxation. Through mirroring Dr. Jeffrey Miron’s (2005) work, “The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition” Where Miron states between $10 billion and $14 billion per year would be profited in the USA through replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of legal regulation. $7.7 billion would be saved through reducing/eliminating prohibition enforcement, whilst revenue from taxation of marijuana sales may reach $2.4 billion per year if marijuana was regulated and taxed similarly to...
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