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On which side is the grass greener?

28 June 2013, 10:40

Pot, Grass, Weed, Mary-J, the list of street names for cannabis is endless and mostly carry a negative connotation to the general public. But is this plant truly bad for you? Should it be made legal?

Let me start by saying that before any of you place me in the pot-head category and that I’m just some liberal hippy that’s trying to justify my addiction, let me just state that, yes, I have tried it many times and no I don’t actually enjoy it, at all. My only vice is smoking, a really damaging and life threatening addiction and I’m well aware of this. An analogy; Just because I support gay marriage it doesn't mean I’m gay.

The most common anti-pot argument is the belief that it damages and kills brain cells but nothing could be further from the truth. So where did this concept start? I could go back all the way to the 1900s when a smear campaign was run against hemp but I’ll be brief. Back in the 80s during the Reagan Administration, perhaps one of America’s most famous presidents, an anti-drug campaign was implemented and cannabis was number one on the hit list. A test was conducted on recess monkeys whereby they pumped the equivalent of 60 joints via gas masks into these animals within an hour. The resulting outcome was that every monkey died due to brain haemorrhaging induced by, what they thought was, Cannabis. Well when this method of proof was finally released in the late 90s, thanks to Clinton, scientists concluded that it was actually due to asphyxiation that these monkeys died because lets be fair. One hour of constant smoke inhalation with no access to oxygen would kill anything.

But that hasn’t stopped the head butting because this wasn’t the only argument presented against Cannabis. The crime factor was also considered. They believed that smoking weed made one violent and more susceptible to committing crime. But ask anyone with at least a smidgen of common sense and you will know that weed does quite the opposite. Notice how lethargic and chilled one becomes? I suppose if pushed the only crime one high on pot would commit is the raiding of a Kit-Kat factory.

What about the dangers of weed and the health risks besides the debunked brain cell myth? Well in a poll conducted in the States on what it is that causes the highest amount of deaths, road accidents scored the highest with over 300,000 deaths last year. A close 2nd was alcohol abuse snatching at least 75,000 lives per year. So how many people does the direct use of Cannabis kill off a year? None. Not one single person has died due to the direct use of weed. There is no tar in the plant that causes lung cancer, unlike in cigarettes.  In fact research has proven that Cannabis can actually be BENEFICIAL to one’s health, I can only name a few but I’ve read cases of people that suffer from mental disorders such as O.C.D and M.S that have found their disabilities have been greatly calmed or reduce due to the use of Marijuana. They also give it to cancer patients to increase their comfort level whilst on chemo. So if weed is considered medicinal, why would anyone still think it’s dangerous?

This brings me to my next point about the topic of legalisation. The term has been flying around and those of you who pay attention to this in particular may have noticed that two US States have recently decriminalised the use of Cannabis, a step closer to the broader legalisation goal for many activists. But what do we gain? Legalising Cannabis will no doubt create a whole new job marked for those legally producing and selling weed. Government will be able to place huge regulations on the distribution just as they do with tobacco and alcohol. The economy would receive a major boost and crime, yes you heard it, would go right down. Why is that? Well for just a simple plant, a high amount of drug related crimes in our country alone can be directly related to the underground distribution of it.

So why today with all the evidence to the contrary does weed still receive such a bad rap? Is it because of the stigma it bares? Has the plant been forever tarnished due to years and years of unjust smear campaigns? How would you feel about working for a company that distributes Cannabis as a commodity like SAB does for beer? Or is it the pharmaceuticals that hold the last say when it comes to legalisation? Could it be that as an alternate medicine, properly distributed, the medical uses of Cannabis could become a major threat to their profit margins?

The truth is we may never know why it still to this day remains illegal. There is no reasonable explanation for this, the truth is out there but the law remains blind to it. It’s a prohibition of sorts, in all ways similar to the prohibition of alcohol. We all know who profited from the continued sale of alcohol then so my closing question to those still skeptical is this. Who do you think is more concerned about preventing it from falling into your children’s hands, the government who would regulate it and ensure its distribution to the right age group or your local law abiding drug dealer eager to make a quick buck?

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