Legalising/Decriminalising Marijuana: Analytical Evaluative Essay

Essay by baby*cakesHigh School, 12th gradeA-, June 2004

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"We in this country have to make up our minds. We cannot have it both ways: we cannot be both drug-free and free", as stated by Lester Grinspoon, an M.D., from the Harvard Medical School.

In Australia, there has been a significant amount of attention given to debates arising over the legalisation or decriminalisation of the marijuana drug, otherwise known as cannabis. It has been suggested that in comparison to legal drugs such as alcohol and tobacco, marijuana is less harmful to humans. According to the National Drug Strategy Household Surveys, 32% of people aged 14 years and over have tried marijuana, with males exhibiting a higher intensity than females. Many social, legal, and ethical implications arise from this issue as some people argue that legalisation or decriminalisation amounts to surrendering too easily, whilst others believe that the "war on drugs" can never be won. It is argued that instead of fighting against marijuana at considerable cost, it may be better to legalise it and even use it to generate tax revenue.

In this context, the decriminalisation of marijuana removes criminal penalties associated with the possession of small amounts for personal use. Legalisation involves a further step whereby all sanctions are removed, so that the status of marijuana would be like that of alcohol or tobacco and perhaps have restrictions on advertising and the sale to minors. This essay will openly investigate, analyse and evaluate the current legislation concerning marijuana in Queensland and whether it is still suitable in present-day society.

The main laws and regulations regarding marijuana in Queensland include the Drugs Misuse Act 1986, the Police Powers and Responsibilities Act 2000, and the Health (Drugs & Poisons) Regulation. According to the Drugs Misuse Act 1986 in Queensland, marijuana is a Schedule II drug. Fines on schedule II...