In the US, cannabis use is becoming decriminalised.
Just a fortnight ago, two US states voted to legalise, regulate and tax marijuana. On the 6th of November, the states of Colorado and Washington set themselves up for a head-on stoush with the Obama administration, as under federal law, cannabis is still illegal.
In these two states, cannabis will shortly be a marketable product, just like motor cars or underwear, and advertising agencies are already discussing how best to sell and promote its use. How to grow it, package it, create a desire for it and who are the target market is already being talked up.
Under 21’s will still be prohibited from possession, and there will be strict advertising rules in the vicinity of schools. Drug testing by employers and law enforcement will now be be problematical. Since the recent election, both the states of Maine and Rhode Island have indicated that they may follow suit.
A recent study conducted by the medical journal ” The Lancet ” shows that Australia and New Zealand have the highest proportion of cannabis usage in the world.
Figures from 2009 show that 15% of Australians have used cannabis. Studies have also showed that cannabis usage probably contributes to the development of mental disorders, and if used regularly in adolescence, contributes to poor psycho-social adjustment during that period.
Cannabis is illegal in all states and territories across Australia, and if you are caught with cannabis, you can be arrested, charged and it may lead to a criminal record, which isn’t a great thing to acquire.
Despite its illegal status in this country, cannabis is widely available, and has a certain social acceptance particularly with young people.
Surprisingly, the recent Australian medical study is critical of the impact of the drug’s illegal status, quoting that the stigma and discrimination can discourage users from seeking treatment, and can promote increased criminal activity to fund the drug use.
Should we follow the American example and decriminalise the use of cannabis?