Arguments against medical cannabis in Australia
Many people in Australia have grown up in an environment where marijuana was commonly used and considered acceptable or at least tolerated. This is not surprising, when 44% of the population drink alcohol at least once a week and 6% drink every day. According to the Australian Daily Telegraph in Jan 2012.
QUICK SUMMARYDespite clear Australian interest in cannabis and cannabis products, the product has not yet been made legal.
In fact, Australia has one of the highest rates of cannabis use anywhere in the world. Of the estimated 200 million people who smoke cannabis on a daily basis worldwide, about 15% are in Australia. The majority of these, approximately 300,000 cannabis users, are from the Sydney area. Why then does it not make sense to legalise what is clearly a product the population have at least some level of interest in?
FACTAround 300,000 people in the Sydney area use cannabis.
The main arguments against medical cannabis in Australia
- There is no medical support for the claim :
As things stand, there is no evidence to show that cannabis has any benefit over other, existing drugs - which have been through the necessary accreditation process. Given that there are many alternative, legal drugs available, that cover the ailments proponents of Cannabis legalisation suggest the product will assist with, there is no reason to risk using untried alternatives. Many of these drugs have proven to have few side effects and do not suffer the risks of addiction which are associated with Cannabis.
- The illegal nature of cannabis:
Establishing a standard, medical-quality strain of cannabis, is the main reason there have not been proper, clinical trials or studies, in which, Cannabis could be evaluated for its effectiveness, any possible side effects and its addictive nature. Unfortunately, the problem feeds on itself. There is no medical evidence because there are no tests and there are no tests because the product is illegal.
- There is no reason to deviate from current effective, legal alternatives:
Given that there are many alternative legal drugs available that cover all the conditions or applications that are claimed for cannabis. Many of these drugs have proven to have few side effects and are not addictive, making them much better medicines for pain relief than cannabis.
There is evidence that using cannabis can lead to complications for many people
- Legalizing cannabis for any reason can open the door to abuse:
A study done in The United States, in 2012, established that it was common for teenagers to use marijuana sourced from registered users of marijuana drug treatment programs
- High usage in the USA:
In the USA, 37% the admissions in the state-funded (TEDS) Treatment Episode Data Set, had been referred through the justice system. 57 percent of them identified cannabis (marijuana) as being the drug they favored. Legalisation then, could lead to half of the population engaging in the drug, where many, now, avoid it.
The difficulty of control and supply
- So far it is difficult for those wishing to grow their own marijuana to have a consistent supply at a known strength:
Even growing one plant for medicinal purposes, could give a yearly yield of enough cannabis to make over 8600 marijuana cigarettes, that’s over 2500 grams. In most countries that is considered a commercial and trafficable amount, of cannabis. Unlike alcohol which has a known unit to indicate to an individual consuming the product the effect it might generate in them (a unit of alcohol) there is no equivalent for marijuana. This lack of standardisation could create a risk for individuals, even those who are experienced with some variants of the product, to over-exposure.
Legalizing any form of Cannabis is not a smart public health or public safety strategy
- Marijuana has been shown to be a leading cause of motor and industrial accidents in Australia:
Legalizing cannabis would tend to increase the overall cannabis use. Nearly one in 5 deaths in Australia is related either directly or indirectly to drugs.
- Possible addiction :
Could lead to increased rates of addiction to marijuana across the population
- Mental health risks:
Beyond the direct negative societal effects of addiction, cannabis presents a risk to mental health.
Legalizing cannabis would not save money because of reduced legal costs
- Legalising cannabis won’t save as much money in the ‘fight against crime’ as people think:
Many people are under the misconception that the main costs of cannabis use to society, are the costs involved in the justice system, policing and dealing with offenders. A study by Caulkins & Sevigny in 2005 found that less than one half of a percent of people in prison where there for cannabis-related offenses.
Summing up the arguments against the legalisation of marijuana
Until it is proven in properly controlled clinical studies, those who are anti the suggestion that Cannabis should be legalised raise these legitimate issues.