Why do you support the legalization of marijuana

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Friday, 24 October 2008

The Global Cannabis Commission Report Part I – Cannabis Use and Preparation

The Beckley Foundation commissioned a group of top experts to write a report on marijuana; the laws, and the health risks. This Commission is called The Global Cannabis Commission and on October 2nd they issued their report. Much like various reports of the past, they urged governments to ease up on marijuana laws and enforce regulations instead of criminal laws, and to tax instead of incarcerate. So who is the Cannabis Commission? Benedikt Fischer from Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Wayne Hall of the University of Queensland, Simon Lenton of the National Drug Research Institute at Curtin University of Technology in Perth, Peter Reuter from the University of Maryland, Robin Room of the University of Melbourne and Turning Point Alcohol and Drug Centre, and Amanda Fielding the Convenor from The Beckley Foundation. The Report is massive, but it can be downloaded here for those inclined to read the massive document, ok I am overstating things, it is only a couple hundred pages, but come on its not like you can roll a doobie and have a relaxing read of this thing. That being said I did read it (ok maybe I skipped the dryer parts, but still I read most of it), so rather than making you read the whole thing let me summarize it for you in this series of posts about the report.

For those of you who want just the general gist, they recommend countries ignore or back out of the existing drug treaties and legalize, regulate and tax marijuana. So basically what every cannabis activist has been saying for decades, not to mention what various other reports of the past have said. Hopefully someone will listen to this one. But lets delve into the report in more detail shall we. This first post will focus on the Commissions study of the use of marijuana

The Commission states that their goal was to look deeper into Cannabis since it has been the main focus of the war on drug yet very rarely discussed during international drug policy debates. The Commission wanted to bring cannabis into the limelight for policy makers, make them sit up and take notice of the grand injustice being done with prohibitionist actions. The report was aimed at the UN Commission on Drugs which met in Vienna in March of 2007 and is set to meet again in spring of 2009, the 2009 meeting is the meeting the Commission hopes their report will be heard.

In their preface they suggest, “That future policy should be grounded on a scientifically-based scale of harm for all social drugs, both legal and illegal.” A novel idea, but will any government really agree to base policy on logic rather than political pressure? One would hope so, but I doubt it.

The Commission estimates that 4% of the global adult population used cannabis in 2005, and that this number is a 10% jump in total users since the mid 1990’s. This number is considerably higher than any other illicit drug available. And yet despite this startling number every nation prohibits the use and production of marijuana to one degree or another in compliance with the 1961 Single Convention on Drugs. Would it surprise you to know that Oceania has the highest usage rates per capita when analyzed compared to all other continents? It somewhat surprised me since many of the studies linking Schizophrenia and marijuana came out of Australia. The use per continent is as follows:

  • Oceania 16%, way above the global average
  • North America 11%, we are no slouches over here either
  • Africa 8%, still above the global average
  • Western Europe, 7%
  • Eastern Europe 4%, not nearly the dope fiends of their western neighbours
  • South America 2%, half the global average, come on South America catch up, everyone’s doing it
  • South-East Europe 2%, huh look at the rest of Europe guys
  • Asia 2%

One thing to note is that according to the Commission “The common patterns across countries with very different policy approaches reinforce the general impression that penalties for personal use have very little impact on the prevalence of cannabis use in a society.”

The Report points out that prohibiting the cannabis plan is not only impossible it has severe sociological effects. Since Cannabis can grow in almost any environment enforcing drug laws is beyond just difficult it is silly to suggest that any government can truly enforce the laws with the goal of eradicating cannabis use.

The Report also discusses the many different ways to prepare cannabis for use. Laying out the differences between Marijuana and Hashish and explaining some of the different strains. But since you are reading a blog about the legalization of marijuana I am going to assume you know this, or if you don’t I could do a post in the future discussing this, for now we will end this post, join me next week when we discuss the health and psychological effects

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If Marijuana became legalized would you support its taxation?

Do you think our economy can be saved by legalizing marijuana

What do you think the Origins of the slang term 420 is

Would you vote for a politician solely on their stance on Marijuana?

What is your prefered method of using pot? (assuming price is no issue)

If marijuana were legal would you grow your own or buy from a store?

If you use marijuana do your family members no

Do you consider yourself a Pot Head

How often do you use marijuana?