Should marijuana be legalised?

Marijuana has been known to provide relief to people with chronic pain.

While it might not be the 60s or 70s anymore — where everything was groovy and ‘puffing the magic dragon’ was a rite of passage for many hippie teens; we are now entering a new age of marijuana use.

In the 80s and 90s we saw a crackdown on drug culture with the introduction of hardline policies to dissuade people from using any type of drug. Since the new millennium there has been more and more support behind the marijuana legalisation movement.

It’s been one year since medicinal marijuana was made legal in Australia, many people suffering from chronic pain now able to get some long-awaited relief.

However, there are still calls from members of the public to legalise the drug for recreational use.

Read more: Studies show Alzheimer’s could be prevented or cured with marijuana

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Marijuana is known to relieve stress, but is also known to shrink the brain after excessive use. Is there too much of a risk in the community of people becoming dependant on the drug to make it legal for everyone?

Slowly but surely our US counterparts have started legalising the recreational consumption of marijuana in Alaska, California, Nevada, Oregon, Washington, Colorado, Maine, Massachusetts and The District of Columbia.

Studies have in fact found that the effects of alcohol consumption are much worse that of marijuana. People are significantly more likely to die from alcohol, nicotine, cocaine and heroin than they are from marijuana use. 

Read More: Alcohol more risky than marijuana

Many people are of two minds on the issue.

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There are those who are set against the drug and argue that it can be extremely addictive and act as a gateway drug to heavier narcotics use.

A former addict , who chose to remain anonymous, told that his addiction became his life.

“I remember getting a letter from my rugby club saying I’d made it into the State squad, but I hid it from my parents because I wanted to smoke bongs instead of training. School was the same: I paid no attention in class. I’d just be waiting for lunchtime when I could chuck in $2 to buy weed for joints.”

Then there are those who say many are using the drug already and making it legal would discourage people from seeking out harder drugs or meeting up for dodgy deals or getting into trouble with drug dealers. Only recently a 14-year-old girl was found bludgeoned to death in a landfill after being killed by a 16-year-old that was selling her weed.

This may have been avoided if marijuana was not sold in an underhanded way that puts many in our community at risk.

Perhaps the debate should be more about how to regulate marijuana use rather than why it should be legalised. What do you think on the issue?

Do you think marijuana should be legalised for recreational use? Have you ever used marijuana to help with pain management? Would you try it?