by Joe Caruana
If the debate on the legalisation of Cannabis is to proceed in a sensible manner it must be borne in mind that there are three (3) elements to this debate.
- Is the use of Cannabis for medical reasons, in Canada and many States in the USA patients are provided with ‘medical certificates’ that enable them to buy the otherwise prohibited drug from registered outlets. This certificate does not only apply to medical patients for a number of conditions but also to certified chronic Cannabis addicts
- Judicial applications for the sentencing of persons found in possession of a class B drug.
The criteria could be that a) No criminal record is kept for that person b) The person found in possession is assessed for rehabilitation at a recognised treatment centre.
- Recreational use is not recognised as an excuse for exception from 2) above
Mixing the arguments of Cannabis for medical reasons with recreational use and at the same time include the judicial aspects for possession of the illegal substance, is a gross mistake.
It is imperative, that the debate is not confused, the two headings must be distinctly clearly and separated since the two have completely different physical and psychological purposes.
The medical application for the use of Cannabis is something that should have been dealt with, worldwide, by the health authorities years ago, I am completely in favour that Cannabis can and should be used for various types of illnesses; however there is also a current debate that claims that the benefits of medical benefits are not what they are claimed to be but I have personally known persons with particular medical conditions who find comfort and relief with the use of Cannabis. Medical Science is behind the times with regards to the application of this plant as a medicine and should speed up the preparation of this substance in acceptable packaging for prescription purposes by doctors.
However I am strongly against legalising of Cannabis in its raw form i.e. grass or resin for recreational use.
One of the reasons given is that it will do away with criminals who traffic in the substance, this is not true, the largest market for this substance comes from the young generation group between 12 and 16 who by law, as with tobacco would not be allowed to buy across the counter, so it stands to reason that this large population clientele would be singled out by the drug traffickers.
But to legalise the drug is tantamount to admitting defeat on the war on drugs.
Yet not enough has been done globally to eradicate its cultivation, like burning the large growing fields in Morocco and Mexico, or wherever else the Mafias decide to start cultivation as is being done in Mexico by the USA DEA, Drug Enforcement Authority.
Also legalising the drug may or may not reduce the criminal network of production and supply BUT it would increase the use of this very harmful psychotic drug like has happened in Holland.
The Independent Advisory Council of the misuse Of Drugs wrote:
“Use of Cannabis is a significant public health issue, legalisation of Cannabis would not eliminate the crime committed by the illicit trade. Nor would it eliminate the harm, Nor would it eliminate the harms associated with long term dependence and the misery that this can cause to families. Legalization would send a wrong message to the young and vulnerable people”
What needs to be borne in mind is that Cannabis intake has an immediate effect on the working of the brain, even at the first inhalation of the smoke.
The World Health Authority describes a drug as A MIND ALTERING SUBSTANCE, this is what Cannabis is, it is not a soft drug as it is generally thought.
Cannabis and Hashis smoking have an instantaneous effect on the brain, even in a very small amount, the users, young or old, behaviour and personality is instantly changed, IT IS MIND ALTERING AT FIRST INSTANCE. The effect of this drug in altering the mind’s function happens with the first toke, the first smoke.
Cannabis is a ‘situational drug’ meaning that if a person is depressed or sad it will make the person more depressed or sadder, if the person is in a jolly mood smoking cannabis will make the person laugh a lot. If the person is suicidal it could lead, it is not true to say that Cannabis does not kill, it kills through suicidal impulses. Mood swings are habitual.
A mother will say, “What has happened to my son/daughter I no longer know him/ her, she has changed so much. She/he had such good friends, she/he worked at his home work, now look at him/her. We cannot even talk to him/her; he/she blows up in our faces, the aggression is horrendous. I don’t know my son/daughter anymore”. These are the things parents will tell you.
Another big consequence of using Cannabis is that it opens the door to a possible
Latent Mental illnesses such as schizophrenia, persecution mania, depression and other hidden mental diseases. It is the drug at the top of the list for ‘anti-social’ behaviours alongside alcohol.
I have spent over 25 years opposing the use of Cannabis as dangerous. I have dealt with hundreds of addicts, who have been in trouble with various substances,
Alcohol, heroin, cocaine, amphetamine, speed, mushroom, acid, LSD and I can make a categorical statement that the drug Cannabis is the drug that has created the greatest of disruptions in families all over the world.
No member, anywhere in the world in a Narcotics Anonymous group would accept that Cannabis use is harmless and that it should be legalised.
To end this article, this is a report on the current situation for the majority of States in the USA:
“The government has re-affirmed that they believe marijuana is as dangerous as heroin and more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine, and has no medicinal benefits whatsoever, even though half of U.S. states agree that it does. The Drug Enforcement Agency declined to re-schedule cannabis, keeping the drug listed as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act alongside heroin, ecstasy, and LThe government has re-affirmed that they believe marijuana is as dangerous as heroin and more dangerous than cocaine and methamphetamine, and has no medicinal benefits whatsoever, even though half of U.S. states agree that it does. The Drug Enforcement Agency declined to re-schedule cannabis, keeping the drug listed as a Schedule 1 drug under the Controlled Substances Act alongside heroin, ecstasy, and LSD. Cocaine and methamphetamine are both classified as “Schedule 2” drugs.
There is far more to add to this debate and I am looking forward , at the age of 79 years of age I was hoping to retire from my involvement in the rehabilitation of drugs, but sadly it appears that I am compelled to continue with the War on Drugs.