Should cannabis be legalised?

Essay by pigeon0436High School, 11th grade July 2004

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Hash, weed, pot, dope, marijuana, grass, skunk, whatever you want to call it, it all comes down to the simple fact that cannabis is still an illegal drug. It is not necessarily as harmful as other drugs like cocaine, ecstasy or heroine, but it is illegal.

There are among more than 70 million people who have used cannabis and possibly among more than ten million, who use it regularly. No matter what you may believe, it is still illegal in Scotland and the UK to be in possession of cannabis. Possession is punishable by up to five years in prison and an unlimited fine. Supplying cannabis (which includes passing a joint to a friend) is punishable by up to fourteen years in prison and an unlimited fine. Cannabis is the most commonly and widely used illegal drug and yet it is not harmful.

The marijuana plant originated in the warm climates of the Middle East; together with China, it played an important part in its history.

Hoatho was the first Chinese physician to use cannabis for medical purposes as a painkiller and anaesthetic for surgery. The British Medical Profession is broadly in favour of its use in the treatment of some conditions, for example multiple sclerosis - where it has been shown to be more effective than conventional drugs. As a medicine it has helped sufferers of AIDS, glaucoma, migraines, epilepsy, asthma, insomnia, spinal injuries, muscle spasms, indigestion, loss of appetite, depression and nausea with cancer patients.

Marijuana has been used as a medicine since the times of the Ancient Chinese and Egyptians. Many ancient cultures such as the Persians, Greeks, East Indians, Romans, and the Assyrians used it for many things too; even Queen Victoria used it regularly to help period pains and cannabis was only criminalized fairly recently.