About the legalization of marijuana



The prohibition of marijuana use is not based on scientific and realistic arguments, but is encouraged by pseudomoralism and strong political and economic interests.

Among the great controversies of our time, the debates on the legalization of marijuana are certainly one of the most heated. On one side, there are conservative sectors, opposed to allowing the recreational use of weed. On the other side, there are the libertarian sectors, which defend its legalization.

To begin discussing this issue, it is essential to avoid Manichaean and hasty opinions. It is controversial to believe that the legalization of marijuana will cause an excessive increase in users and trigger waves of violence. Deaths associated with marijuana are directly related to its prohibition; and not necessarily for consumption. In other words, more people die because of the “war on drugs” than because of the use of marijuana.

Other myths regarding weed must be questioned: contrary to what many may assume, marijuana is not a “gateway” to so-called “hard drugs”. It's the alcohol (not the Cannabis) the first “drug” used by most users of cocaine, heroin, crack, LSD and many other substances considered illicit.

On the other hand, the statement that marijuana, as it is a natural herb, does not pose any health risk, must also be rejected. Like any other “drug”, its constant and unrestrained use can cause physical and mental harm. Another fallacy spread by pro-legalization groups is to claim that the use of marijuana is not addictive (of course, this can vary according to the user).

But why does the Cannabis sativa, a plant used by humans for millennia, for the most diverse purposes, currently has its consumption classified as “illegal” in most countries?

To begin to understand why marijuana is prohibited in much of the planet, we must refer to the United States in the first half of the last century. Initially, the habit of smoking marijuana in Yankee lands was associated with Mexican immigrants. Therefore, demonizing weed was also a way of stigmatizing this social minority.

In this anti-marijuana endeavor, the name of Harry Jacob Anslinger, a bureaucrat who presided over the FBN (Federal Bureau of Narcotics), a body created by the US government to deal with drug-related issues, cannot go unmentioned. Harry Jacob Anslinger, motivated by exclusively personal interests, managed to convince influential authorities and American public opinion about the supposed risks of not prohibiting marijuana.

Finally, in the 1960s, after the United Nations' “Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs”, it was recommended, under pressure from the Washington government, that marijuana be banned across the planet. Since then, numerous campaigns with dubious content have been carried out with the aim of propagating the myth of the “cursed herb”. Billions of dollars were spent uselessly to combat this “drug”.

Such a crusade was in vain. Even though its use was legally prohibited, the number of marijuana users continued to grow across the planet. Scientific studies suggest that marijuana is less lethal than many other “drugs”. Therefore, it is at least controversial to allow the consumption of tobacco or alcohol, for example, and to repress the use of marijuana.

Important industrial sectors are against the release of marijuana, not for moral reasons, but for marketing reasons. If legalized, marijuana will be a strong commercial competitor to alcoholic beverages and tobacco. Most likely, some people will prefer puffs on their “joint” rather than drinking alcohol or smoking a cigarette.

Furthermore, according to analyzes carried out in the laboratory, the effects of Cannabis in the human body they are similar to the effects produced by medicines sold indiscriminately in any drugstore. Therefore, the global pharmaceutical industry does not allow, under any circumstances, to lose its monopoly on “numbing” the population.

Thus, supporters of marijuana legalization face, in addition to conservative sectors, at least three powerful lobbies: pharmaceutical industry, tobacco industry and alcoholic beverage industry.

The “excuse” of the “war on drugs” is also used to legitimize US interventions in other countries, for police repression against poor and black youths and for the military occupation of Brazilian favelas. However, reality shows us that, in practice, the war on drugs is a true failure. It did not reduce the number of users, as previously mentioned, and, on the other hand, contributed to the growth of violence.

In short, the prohibition of marijuana use is not based on scientific and realistic arguments, but is encouraged by pseudomoralism and strong political and economic interests. Put another way, there are no plausible arguments for prohibiting marijuana (we are also not encouraging its use).

Preventing someone from choosing whether or not to smoke an herb, which has been used for millennia, an action that will only bring possible harm to the person themselves, is a serious attack on individual freedom. It is up to each person to decide what is best (or worst) for them. Ultimately, it is an environmental crime to arbitrarily determine that the c, a vegetable that has been on the planet longer than the planet itself Homo sapiens, has curtailed their right to existence.

*Francisco Fernandes Ladeira is a doctoral candidate in geography at Unicamp. Author, among other books, of The ideology of international news (CRV). [https://amzn.to/49F468W]

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