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Should the use of cannabis as a recreational and medicinal drug be legalised in the UK?

July 26, 2018 5:00 PM
By Gary Fuller in Folkestone Herald - Talking Points

Marijuana plant (By United States Fish and Wildlife Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)The war on drugs has failed. Dealers and criminal gangs make millions from misery, while we compound it by filling prisons with people who need medical help. We make cannabis a gateway drug to far worse. Enterprising dealers create stronger strains. Meanwhile we accept the side effects of alcohol, nicotine and even caffeine, based on custom and practice.

Alfie Dingley and Sophia Gibson needed End Our Pain's massive campaign of emailing MPs and the Home Secretary to get access to medical cannabis with THC in. Meanwhile the husband of our drugs minister runs British Sugar, which grows cannabis for low THC epilepsy medicine. The major concern over medical cannabis? We've not studied it enough. Yet there are 10 European countries and 29 US States that allow its medicinal use, based on the evidence.

What we have studied is cannabis' effects on mental health, especially psychosis. Those studies conclude that heavy users experience increased risk, not that cannabis is the cause. They theorise that THC may have an effect. Yet the British Psychological Society also concludes that alcohol is "the most serious substance-related public health issue" and we should "exercise caution" when using "even very commonplace drugs such as alcohol or cannabis".

You'll note the reference to public health. Our best Psychologists see drugs as a health issue, not a criminal one. If only our Government had caught up with the evidence. The solution is to legalise cannabis. There are various advantages. We can tax it, so users put back into the NHS rather than taking out. We can regulate its strength, to prevent potential side-effects. We can use it as a medicine, for kids like Alfie and Sophia, as well as sufferers of MS and other health issues that can be treated with it. That's why it should be legal.