In this essay, the potential advantages and disadvantages of legalising Cannabis will be examined and a conclusion will be reached as whether legalisation should be the answer of the Cannabis dilemma faced by the UK government.
Extracts from this essay...
Academic English and Study Skills 3 IEP 62-3 Assessment 2 To Ildi Halstead Student Name: Xiyue Wu (English Name: Luna) Student Number: 0502131 Due Date: 9th January 2005 Chosen Topic: 6) The decriminalisation/legalisation of the sale and use of cannabis has been a topic of national and international debate for some considerable time. Some governments have claimed that their experiments with the softening of laws surrounding the sale and use of the drug have been successful. Discuss the pros and cons of a possible decriminalisation of cannabis, stating whether or not you believe it would lead to a breakthrough in the United Kingdom government's "war on drugs". Drug abuse is a serious social problem in western countries. According to the European Monitoring Centre for Drugs and Drug Addiction, by 1998, approximately half of all young adults in England and Wales had used illicit drug at some point in their lives and a quarter to a third were current users (1999). Among various kinds of drugs, Cannabis, also known as Marijuana or Weed, is the most prevalent choice due to the relatively small risk perceived by drug users. Recently, the widespread use of Cannabis has led many people to doubt the deterring effect of the traditional stringent law. Nadelmann (1992; cited in Evans and Berent, 1992, pp.166)
Aside from social costs, the black market is also associated with substantial economic costs. Many western governments lose large amounts of revenue each year to drug syndicates. For example, consumers in the United States were estimated to have spent $8.3 billion on cannabis during 1990 while the equivalent Australian expenditure is thought to have been around Australia dollar 1.9 billion (Vallance, 1993 ; Sarre, 1994). The similar situation is likely to present in any country having a drug problem, including the UK. However, if Marijuana is legalised, the government can put many of the illegal dealers out of business and collect considerable taxes on sales of the drug which could be used by the government to fight the war on drugs. Among the numerous possible initiatives of utilizing the money, launching a campaign educating the public about the harm done by Marijuana and rehabilitating users are only two examples. Legalising Marijuana has another major benefit, which is increased efficiency of police operations. Lord Baker, the Conservative Home Secretary from 1990 to 1992, represents many people's view on this issue when he stated that "To fill our prisons with people who are Cannabis users is a bum use of the prisons" (The Sunday Times, 8th July, 2001). In the history of the war on drugs in the United States, enormous resources were wasted on drugs: their "Zero Tolerance" initiative have helped to produce the world's highest imprisonment rate and a tenfold increase in the prison population (Shiner, 2003).
Reality has taught us that total prohibition of Cannabis not only causes economic loss to a nation, but also inflicts more harm to society. Decriminalisation, although risky and controversial, can actually provide a better solution. Education must be combined with legalisation to achieve the best outcome. All channels of communication should be utilised to inform the public in order to offset the various negative effects of legalisation. However, even education does not offer a comprehensive answer and the government still has a long way to go to provide better prescription. Government officials have to bear in mind that law can not solve the root cause of drug abuse. No matter how strict or liberal the law is, the deeper social problems behind the scene remain. In the wealthy United Kingdom, all basic needs in life are all fulfilled and people began to seek pleasure in other ways. In addition, many people experience enormous pressure from work places, families, relationships, etc., drug usage is only a channel to release the pressure and make them feel relaxed. Those social problems are deeply rooted in society and can not be solved overnight. Nonetheless, the government should strive to make this society a better place to live so that no one has to create their imaginary heaven by using drugs.
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