• Question: do you think weed should be legalized?

    Asked by summer22 to David, Thiloka, Shonna, Shobhana, Ryan, Ross, Rebecca, Rachel, Patrick, Nina, MattyB, Matthew, Marianne, Vilarino, Kate, Kaitlin, James, Ettie, Emmanuelle, Deepak, Anabel, Ambre, Alex, AlexAgrotis, Aina on 17 Jun 2019.
    • Photo: Marianne King

      Marianne King answered on 17 Jun 2019:

      I think it should be. Considering that smoking tobacco is legal, as is drinking alcohol, it doesn’t make much sense to me that weed is illegal. It’d also stop criminals making as much money by selling it. Also, legalising it would mean it could be regulated so people knew exactly what they were getting. In general I’d rather most drugs were legalised so they could be regulated. And taxes made from their sale could fund counselling and mental health services that might help deal with the reasons people turn to drugs in the first place.

    • Photo: David Wilson

      David Wilson answered on 17 Jun 2019:

      In October last year Canada became the 2nd country in the world (Uruguay was the first) to legalise recreational cannabis. It’ll be rally interesting to see how this works out over the next few years.
      I talked to some Canadian friends to ask them about it and after living there for a few years had my own thoughts. Canada is fairly liberal already and the police turned a blind eye to recreational use unless people were dealing. Legalising it was perhaps more a political issue as it allows the government to create a new source of taxation and almost overnight puts dealers and smugglers out of business.
      The public health and epidemiological question might be interesting too whether we see issues emerging in 5-10 years or perhaps longer.
      It’s interesting.

    • Photo: Alex Blenkinsop

      Alex Blenkinsop answered on 17 Jun 2019:

      There is plenty of evidence to suggest it has medicinal benefits for lots of illnesses; this has been a justification for several countries to legalise cannabis for medicinal use. We seem quite far behind many Western countries in this respect, so I’m hoping the government reviews this issue in the near future and sees the potential health benefits.
      Regarding legalisation in general, there are a couple of ways to go about this. As David says, Canada and Uruguay have completely legalised the use of recreational cannabis, which is quite a big step, so it will be interesting to see the long term outcomes on crime, economy and health.
      An alternative approach is decriminalisation – this has been done in Portugal. It basically means people can no longer be arrested for possession of cannabis (or other drugs). This model has been shown to drastically improve crime and health for addicts, as it is treated as a public health issue rather than a crime problem. People can get medical help if they need it without being afraid of legally implicating themselves. However, this approach is less transparent because we still can’t control where people are getting drugs from which remains a problem.

    • Photo: Kaitlin Wade

      Kaitlin Wade answered on 17 Jun 2019:

      I think it should be and completely agree with Marianne. If smoking tobacco and alcohol is legal then why not marijuana. Especially, given reseach that there maybe some pharmaceutical and medical benefits of its use. But this research is in its infancy.

    • Photo: Nina Rzechorzek

      Nina Rzechorzek answered on 17 Jun 2019:

      Thanks for the question. I believe that cannabis and cannabis derivatives should be legalized for medicinal use where there is clear evidence (from appropriately controlled trials) that they offer superior efficacy and/or increased safety over what is already available. Examples where it looks like this might be beneficial could be for chronic pain conditions (particularly for end-of-life care situations) or severe intractable epilepsy (as suffered by some children).

      For recreational use I would be much more guarded – I take the point from others that alcohol can be very dangerous, and does ruin many lives, however in the large part, when we purchase alcohol, we know what we are getting and how strong it is because the law regulates labelling and ‘units’ of alcoholic beverages. I think it would be much more difficult to regulate the content, strength, and consumption of ‘weed’ which could end up containing pretty much anything. Also don’t think we should encourage smoking of any kind because of the lung damage it causes and that it increases cancer risk. We know that smoking weed can also have serious long-term damaging effects on the brain. It may be that some of the derivatives could be beneficial for some brain disorders but we need much more research on this.

      Here is some more info about what is currently licensed for use in the UK and what may be available soon:

    • Photo: Kate Timms

      Kate Timms answered on 18 Jun 2019:

      Yes, I do. I don’t think it’s good for you to smoke weed (enough of my friends from college smoked it a lot and are now suffering the effects of on their mental health) but it is at least better for you to smoke good, pure weed than it is to smoke badly made or processed stuff.

      If it was legal then it would be regulated and you could buy it in a shop. There would be laws governing how pure and safe it has to be. Plus, if it was legal, there could be more research into its beneficial properties!

    • Photo: Matthew Bareford

      Matthew Bareford answered on 20 Jun 2019:

      As with the others, I think that if cigarettes and alcohol are legal, then this is something that should be seriously considered for weed. With the introduction of legal use of medical oils, this would seem a possible first step towards this, however a long way to go.

      Obviously as David pointed out, the long term health effects and implications would be interesting to see.

      I guess we just have to watch this space