The Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational and Medicinal Use Australia Wide
1. Prohibition has enormous social costs.
The deleterious effects of prohibition run from wasted resources to ruined lives. Our police devote thousands of hours to arresting, booking and imprisoning marijuana smokers, many of whom are otherwise law-abiding. These arrests take officers away from more urgent issues, and can have serious consequences for the arrested.
2. Cannabis has legitimate medical benefits.
The narrative of cannabis as a harmful drug has been dominant for so long, that many people had trouble accepting the plant’s demonstrated medicinal effects. Opinions on medical marijuana have shifted dramatically in the last two decades: recently a slew of mostly conservative states in America passed laws permitting epilepsy patients to use strains of cannabis high in CBD. These states joined 23 others with broader medical marijuana laws. While the US & Australian federal governments still lists cannabis as a Schedule 1 drug, meaning it does not acknowledge any legitimate medical use, these US states clearly disagree and so does the science.
3. Legalization won’t lead to increased use.
There is reason even for people who oppose the use of marijuana to support its legalization: legal substances can be controlled in ways illegal ones cannot.
Science and government have learned a great deal about how to keep alcohol out of the hands of minors. Mandatory underage drinking laws and effective marketing campaigns in the US have reduced underage alcohol use to 24.8 percent in 2011, compared with 33.4 percent in 1991. Cigarette use among high school students is at its lowest point ever, largely thanks to tobacco taxes and growing municipal smoking limits. There is already some early evidence that regulation would also help combat teen marijuana use, which fell after Colorado began broadly regulating medical marijuana in 2010.
It is the illegal market, with no standards, regulations or price controls, that poses a menace to public health. Our current federal laws, which treat cannabis as equivalent to cocaine and heroin, mostly teach teenagers that the government is completely unrealistic on matters of drug policy. Legalization is the first step in a broader initiative of treating cannabis use as a public health issue.
4. Cannabis is less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.
American history has a good analog for cannabis prohibition: alcohol prohibition. With both, use of the substance did not stop, laws were selectively enforced and violent gangs made staggering profits filling a market law-abiding merchants could no longer touch. In the end, despite alcohol’s costs to bodily health, and the alarming effects it can have on behavior, it was determined, rightly, that criminalizing alcohol did more harm than good. Marijuana is less addictive than tobacco or alcohol, and compares favorably to those drugs on nearly every health metric.
We, the undersigned, call on the Australian Federal Government to eliminate the prohibition of Marijuana in all states & to allow the use of Marijuana for both recreational & medicinal purposes.
The The Legalization of Marijuana for Recreational and Medicinal Use Australia Wide petition to The federal government of australia was written by Mathew Hamilton and is in the category Law Reform at GoPetition.