Max Fernandez is a student at Gloucestershire University in Cheltenham. This is his take on the current cannabis law reform effort, views expressed are his and are not necessarily shared by CLEAR
My Thoughts On The Cannabis Debate
The question as to whether or not Cannabis should be 'legalised' has many layers, amongst which are lies, deceit, profits and victims. The campaign to effectively ban Cannabis has raged for many years, and has cost the lives of thousands of people. In the process of doing so however, politicians and cartel gang members have made hundreds of millions of pounds worth of profit.
Not only have politicians and gangsters profited, but so too have average hard working members of society; police men and women, as well as prison officers have found themselves in high demand by the political class. This in turn has created an incentive to further the so called 'war on drugs'.
The media throughout the United Kingdom are often slow to criticise the lack of success which has been brought because of the war, and if criticism is placed on the government, they will try to encourage a harsher approach to the plant i.e. longer sentences for possession.
I myself support the idea that by legalising Cannabis, both for medicinal and recreational purposes, the Cannabis market can be controlled and regulated with much more ease. Imprisoning thousands of people, many of whom are otherwise law abiding, hard working productive members of society, whilst the drug kingpins become wealthy, simply defies logic.
There is hope for the Cannabis legalisation proponents, the recent democratic results in Washington and Colorado, where Cannabis was legalised for both medicine and enjoyment, means that opinions are changing. 2014 shall be another huge year as far as American Cannabis law reform is concerned.
After completing many hours of research into how the Cannabis legalisation campaign is conducted, both domestically and globally, I have come to the conclusion that the medical argument is the key to our success. I do believe that the vast majority of people, even those who are totally against the legalisation for recreational use, are able to be convinced of the success medical Cannabis can (and does) have. The majority of people would agree that imprisoning a man suffering with Cancer, for growing Cannabis plants to relieve his pain, is fundamentally immoral and cruel.
Much more focus should be applied to this side of the debate. Simply on moral grounds, opponents to medical Cannabis are at an immediate disadvantage. Pressure must be placed on the media and politicians to seriously consider this idea, and to have an open and honest debate as to the merits of the cause.
Once medical Cannabis is available (like nearly every other European country), people will be able to see firsthand that Cannabis has been lied about by the corrupt political media, and that its benefits outweigh its potential harms. The states in the USA that legalised medicinal Cannabis have gradually become more tolerant of Cannabis, and those who choose to consume it.
Usually attitudes soften due to the profits being made throughout their local areas. Many people have become employed because of the medicinal Cannabis industry. Illegal dealers also make fewer profits as a result of their sick customers choosing to buy from a legal outlet. Countries that have legalised medical Cannabis have been able to apply tax on it, allowing for greater spending in education and health.
Our campaign to see an end to prohibition will also need to be well funded. Politics has never been a fair field; those with the money tend to get their way. In truth, our campaign will never be as well funded as those who seek to stop us, but the more money that is raised the better. The more people that can be convinced to give their money to help us see an end this corrupt war, the easier our aims will become to implement.
It is a well known fact that recession makes society more willing to make riskier investments into their futures. Our economic argument should focus on Jeremy Bentham's idea of Utilitarianism. Our sole economic mission is to inform the public of this. Poorer members of society will likely warm to this philosophy.
To conclude, I believe that our next main focus should be to see medicinal Cannabis legalised throughout the United Kingdom. This campaign will need to be in association with our American counterparts, as well as other global networks.
Close attention will also have to be paid as to how Washington and Colorado deal with Cannabis legalisation. Portugal and Uruguay are also examples where successes can be found and communicated with the general public.