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LEGALISATION OF MARIJUANA: BANE OR BOON

Marijuana, also known as Cannabis or pot, has long antiquity of human use. Most ancient cultures and societies didn't grow the plant to get "high", but as herbal medicine, likely starting in Asia around 500 BC. But soon after, for decades altogether, the consumption and usage of marijuana were considered illegal. The cultivation, possession, usage and consumption was banned under the laws of many nations. However, today's national policy debate around marijuana stands in sharp contrast to the past debate. There have been discussions, debates, arguments and changes of laws in many countries regarding marijuana and the laws concerning its usage and consumption. India, however, is yet to take a staunch stand regarding these issues. Here, the laws have been asserted on the basis of the state, and there doesn't exist any central law governing the trade, distribution, consumption, usage, medical use and legality of Cannabis. Marijuana has gotten a bad reputation over the years, and many people consider it nothing more than a drug that gets people high. Though marijuana has been around for centuries, very few people understand it in its entirety. One of the major reasons many people vocally support calls to ban marijuana is the number of myths and misunderstandings surrounding it.


The good news is that- this is changing. Over the years, various studies conducted worldwide have found multiple medical benefits from marijuana use, and public opinion regarding marijuana has changed for the better over the last few years. The percentage of American and Indian adults who oppose marijuana legalisation have sharply declined in recent years. In my opinion, legalising marijuana has cardinal importance. Very recently, the United Nations passed a resolution concerning the legitimisation of marijuana, and it was well-received by other participating nations. This importance can significantly be put to use if we first consider what cannabis/marijuana offers to humankind. So, first, let's begin with talking about the so apprehended health-related questions about marijuana and proceed towards why it is completely rational to legalise it and how it would benefit us.

The first worry of people regarding the legalisation of marijuana would, of course, be the health-related results. Research in this field has shown that the combined health risks posed by marijuana are much lower than those related to alcohol and tobacco consumption and usage. Today, when alcohol is the direct or indirect reason for thousands of deaths across the world every year, there are no recorded cases of death from marijuana. Proponents of marijuana believe that legitimising other, more harmful drugs but keeping marijuana illegal destroys the credibility of valid warnings regarding the hazards of substance abuse. Many health advisers also believe that even if marijuana consumption increases to the levels of alcohol and tobacco, the adverse public health effects would be far less drastic than the two substances.

Having said that, there exists a widespread belief that marijuana is an effective help for treating a wide assortment of ailments. Recently, a substance present in Cannabis known as cannabidiol has been used to treat different kinds of epilepsy in June 2018. Since then, there have been rapid developments in the field of medical science about the health boons that Cannabis can provide. The argument here thus questions the amount of marijuana to be used in order to treat these ailments and which, when exceeded, may bear some health hazards. Although, limited and prescribed use of marijuana/ cannabis has shown to yield no negative results concerning lungs and respiratory diseases and issues. Several studies and experiments have also shown marijuana to have zero to extremely few negative effects on the human heart. Unlike smoking cigarettes, here, our lungs aren't harmed. In fact, in 2015, a study found that Cannabis actually helps us increase the lungs' capacity rather than cause any hazard to it. Even that apart, laws, legal principles, an authority controlling it and the government's regulations would visibly put a check on the amount of marijuana produced and supplied. Legalising it would, of course being in government regulations and observations on the controlled and medical use of Cannabis. Under such laws that allow the use of Cannabis and prohibit excess use of the same, the implementation of it in the medicinal field may show great results, thus demonstrating why it's not important to properly legalise it.

A study conducted by the clinical psychology review showed monumental benefits and the gift of cannabis/ marijuana in treating mental health issues and related diseases such as depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and stress as well. Depression is widespread without most people being aware that they have it. The 'endocannabinoid' compounds in Cannabis can aid in balancing moods which can fairly improve the condition of a depressed patient. It also shows promise in autism treatment. Cannabis is known to calm users down and relax their moods. It can help children with autism who face regular violent mood swings have to control over it. Research conducted on CBD has shown that it can also contribute to controlling seizures. There are ongoing studies to measure the impact marijuana has on people with epilepsy. According to Bone Research Laboratory in Tel Aviv, it is also proved to help strengthen the bone in the process of healing and mending itself. This makes it tougher for the bone to break in the future. Individuals with ADHD and ADD face issues focusing on tasks and activities. They tend to have problems with cognitive performance and focus. Cannabis has shown promise in enhancing concentration and aiding individuals with ADHD/ADD. It is also considered a safer alternative to medicines that help patients with these issues. Also, taking in the prescribed dosage and in the proper way, Cannabis can help alleviate anxiety. Alzheimer's disease is one of many that is caused by cognitive degeneration. As we age, cognitive degeneration is almost unavoidable. Cannabis's endocannabinoid has in it anti-inflammatories that fight the brain inflammation that leads to Alzheimer's disease. There are innumerable chemical compounds in Cannabis, many of which are cannabinoids. These have been said to provide relief of chronic pain due to their chemical makeup. This is why cannabis' by-products, such as medical Cannabis, is commonly used for chronic pain relief. It is also proved to have regulated and prevented diabetes. The American Alliance for Medical Cannabis (AAMC) has proved Cannabis stabilise blood sugars, lower blood pressure, and improves blood circulation. With its impact on insulin, it is highly recommended by the doctors of the states where cannabis' marijuana has been made legal. With such proven health benefits, it would only be legally rational to legalise marijuana and its consumption.

Having eliminated the fear and apprehension regarding the usage of marijuana, I would like to bring in the commercial benefit we as an entire country would gain from the legalisation of marijuana. Talks about job growth in the U.S. use industries such as technology and health care as their focal point. There have been discussions about the medicinal nature of marijuana. "According to cannabis information hub, 2019 Cannabis Jobs Count, Cannabis directly employs more than 211,000 full-time workers in the U.S. Adding the number of indirect jobs from the same sector, and the total number of full-time workers dependent on the legal cannabis industry hits nearly 300,000. Marijuana is now called "America's hidden job boom." In 2018, as the medical marijuana industry ramped up, Florida added almost 70,000 jobs, equaling an eye-popping 703% increase, according to the statistics" – EconomicTimes ; (July 17, 2018). The highest concentrations of jobs are in states where Cannabis is legal for both medical and adult use. Cannabis altogether provides a whole new job sector for the population; In the USA, states also held votes to determine the future of the legal cannabis industry in one form or another. The number of states and nations making cannabis/ marijuana legal are deftly increasing in number because of the deliberations about the awareness of this herb and its almost negligible health hazards. Cannabis, also known loosely as hemp, may be on its way to being reclassified in the Indian judicial system. Cannabis transaction is largely illegal and strictly controlled in India.

Now, even the United Nations has decided to remove cannabis and cannabis resin from the list of dangerous narcotic substances. And, India voted in favour of the decision. This comes from the fact that our country is getting huge economic and social benefits along with almost no negative consequences. In a country like India, where most of the population lives below the poverty line and are basically economically agrarian, the cultivation of marijuana would bring stable income and benefits for the agricultural sector, deftly lifting farmers and workers out of poverty. This also adds up as a whole new job sector. Not only this, the distribution, collection, marketing of cannabis/ marijuana would furthermore employ a very large section of our population. Legalising marijuana in India can help curate thousands of job opportunities and developments. The legalisation of will increases the demand for professionals and experts who can coordinate and scrutinise with farmers, processors, retailers, and distributors. Legalisation will also aid lenders, builders who are expertise in developing retail outlets, and players in any other industries that cater to the cannabis industry and its production. It's only a matter of time before governments around the world realise that legalising marijuana is the right thing to do. Observing the growth of the Cannabis industry minutely, I believe it is on the verge of worldwide growth and bloom. If seen in a way like this, Indians are sitting on a pot of gold, because as a country, we have unearthed and mastered knowledge about its use since time immemorial, and we also have favourable climatic conditions for its production and cultivation. Legalising Cannabis would mean that we can be a cardinal component in this development and advancement and carve a place for ourselves as a leader of Cannabis-based products that would efficiently provide an outlet for huge financial benefits which will improve the economic atmosphere of our country.

All told, more and more states in India are moving towards discussions about legalising marijuana (whether for medicinal or recreational use, or both), and the impact has already been ginormous. The legal changes have brought in a burgeoning industry of legal cannabis companies, including those that are to research and develop cannabis-based medical products, those which are working to distribute and grow marijuana, and many others. More than half of U.S. states have medical marijuana laws on the books, and fifteen states have legalised certain quantities of marijuana for recreational use as well. In a nation like the U.S., where Cannabis is yielding such great results, it is exciting to think and imagine what it would do in India. The cultivation of marijuana would provide an extra option to the farmers, and atop all, it will boost every other sector related to it. The economic benefits of legalising weed have already been overt in the U.S. and other nations. Overall, legal marijuana could mean a big help and force for state economies and big bucks for both the state and the governments that will eventually uplift the economy. Setting up marijuana nurseries and dispensaries would also be a big push to the marketing industries. These would not only create jobs but also set the ball rolling for economic activity in the marijuana industry. New Frontier's report sketching the impact of federally legal marijuana says that nationwide legalisation could generate 1 million jobs by 2025. These jobs would fairly come from the quickly developing industry, which would be created across the nation. Workers would be required to farm, process, distribute, supply, cultivate and sell marijuana and related products. Furthermore, there would be preponderant opportunities for secondary industries which would be connected to legal Cannabis, although not directly interfering in its production, usage and distribution. These might include software developers, financing services, construction companies, and many others. Legal marijuana showcases the possibility of enormous benefits to economies on a local, national and international scale. While marijuana still remains illegal on the federal level, it is difficult for investors, workers etc., to capitalise on the growth of the industry. The number of marijuana-related companies that would trade and supply businesses cannot be counted. Therefore, legalising the usage of marijuana is more of an emergency than a need now.

However, as more and more states move to individually decriminalise it in various ways, and as the economic benefits of a legal marijuana industry take effect, there should, however, be a limit on the amount supplied to the public till further studies and research completely nullify the complete presence of any negative consequences of the same. The ban is more of a bane. Therefore, the supply should be limited for the time being. The legal governance on marijuana would bring in trade laws, consumption laws, government's duties, and many other policies. Collating all these, there would exist the right use for marijuana, that is, medicinal use and economic use. As of now, we are depriving a nation of huge medical benefits of this herb. In the end, marijuana can be put to use in many ways and legalising more harmful products like alcohol and cigarettes and not legalising marijuana, although all of its use seems unfair. In the end, anything used in the correct amount always yields the best result, and so will marijuana if used in the right amount. Hence, it is of paramount importance to legalise the use of marijuana because it will bear huge economic and social outcomes that will lift us out of the present economic Holocaust and at the cost of almost negligible health hazards.


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