The issue of Cannabis needs to be addressed. There are many discussions on here about legalisation, the benefits of the drug and all sorts. If this were to become a reality then I see certain criteria that would have to be met. The main problems with Cannabis as viewed by the governement and some members of the public are:
1. The crime involved, drug dealing, supplying, violent crime etc etc.
2. The apparent health side effects (psychosis etc).
By taking a sensible approach to the problem then these can be circumvented. the options for legalisation are:
1. Complete legalisation – buy, smoke, grow, sell openly and freely (some licences may be required).
2. Controlled legalisation.
I see the only workable answer as controlled legalisation. If you follow the Dutch method they allow certain licenced coffee shops where you can take and buy cannabis – no alcohol is permitted in these venues. Also in Holland one huosehold can grow up to 5 plants (previously a per person ruling but this was subject to abuse). These plants can be grown on your premises but it is illegal to use artificial lighting to boost growth.
I feel that this method would work. We could go one step further and issue permits to grow – like a shotgun licence. It could be based on a quick medical and the knowledge that the governing body has the right at any time of day to check that you are not using artificial lighting (as with a shotgun licence they can check yours are locked away safely). You could even charge for this licecne to cover the costs.
If you went for complete legalisation then you could have controlled, licenced "coffee" shops. These would provide a sizeable, taxable income to the government which would help with the deicit. It could also boost tourism, however the view may be that it can only be sold to UK citizens.
Why does this idea matter?
The benefits to the nation of doing this are simple. Firstly there is the taxable revenue on all related items that I have just mentioned. Secondly there is the saving in police efforts to combat cannabis crime. Thirdly there is the much needed relief that the NHS would get on a Fiday night. How much money is wasted on alcohol related halthcare every day, let alone the weekends? The cannabis related healthcare costs would be significantly lower.
This leads on to the question of health. The so called "Weed Psychosis" is complete nonsense. I believe that it can help cause this IF you already have certain psychotic tendancies. To claim it will do it to everyone is absurd. In that respect it i very similar to alcohol – if you are a a very depressive person then alcohol could push you over the edge – is that argument to ban alcohol. The benefits associated with cannabis far outweigh the problems. Harvard medical school found that THC reduced tumour size in certain cancers – working even better when combined with traditional medicine. Cancer Research has also talked of the medical benefis of Cannabis. There are untold testimonials from users who say it has helped to cure their ailments – I have not found one testimonial from a user who said it was detrimental to their health. The recent licencing of Sativex is testament to this. In fact one of he most popularly used drugs was a Cannabis / Hemp tonic that was widely used for 'general ailments' such are the properties of this plant.
Also, within a legalised environment there is better access to healthier ways to take cannabis. Obviously there is detriment to your health through smoking. In a legalised society you would hav better access to vaporisers etc. that allow a clean, harm free intake (these are very similar to nebulisers that an asthma suffere would use and vaporisers are what medical patients would typically use).
People also see Canabis as a stepping stone to other drugs. This argument dos not work. Coffee is a stepping stone as I prefer to have a cigartte when I have a coffee … do we ban coffee? The reason why Cannabis is considered a stepping stone drug is because when you go to buy it the same drug dealer will probably also sell cocaine, amphetamines, ketamine and anything lse you may want to try. This is where the exposure to these other drugs come from. As marijuana useage is so prevalent amongst the young would it not be better to control the access to it or make it illegal so that people will have to go secretly to pocure it and expose themselves to many other dangers?
My final point is that it has become so common and prevalent among society that it needs to be revised and with fresh eyes that are aware of the benefits and the drawbacks combined with financial modelling to demonstrate savnigs and incomes. Unfortunately we live in a society where an exepert is fired from their advisory role for not saying what the government want to hear i.e. drugs are bad. This is what we would expect from countries that dont share our civil liberties such as China. It is these fundamental attitudes and preconceptions that must change before society can advance.
In conclusion a controlled legaisation would create massive revenues, would create more policing hours and create massive savings. It would allow the police to focus on proper crime and not waste their time with the 9% of the population that buy or grow regularly for personal use without harming anyone.