Gone to Pot: Legalising Cannabis

Disclaimer: My medical knowledge is shaky and I haven’t done tons of background reading, this is just my opinion. You’re free to reply and disagree, but keep it civil.
Recently three English police forces have announced that they won’t be going after people who grow cannabis for their own use. Predictably certain elements of the press were up in arms, angry that the cops would be allowing these marijuana friends to run free. And that it’s legislation by the back door.
It highlighted the problem with the drug debate because both sides are a little ridiculous. The pro-legalization lot are let down by dopey stoners who talk about weed in hyperbolic terms overplaying the benefits and its effects and putting off the “straights”, while the anti group seem OTT in their response, calling to mind Reefer Madness.
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I would say I’m pro, but as my pot smoking days are behind me, don’t worry about me raving about the miracle weed. MWG, who’s never touched it (the square!) agrees that it should be legalised, arguing that it leads to unnecessary imprisonments which puts a strain on the system and that it has good medicinal qualities.
I think the police could dedicate their efforts towards more serious crimes and that if someone wants to get high they should be left alone, as its not really harming anyone else.
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Letting folks grow their own is actually pretty smart, if the criminal element is making cash or using weed to aid their other more evil schemes, then surely this will help stop them. If you’re not going to get pinched you’re probably going to prefer a bit of gardening to having to go through a dealer.
Now, I know some will be saying ” But Chris, what about the connection between cannabis and mental health conditions?”
For me that connection is shaky. My view is that one thing that needs to be taken into consideration is that the stoners who develop issues later may very well have had or been prone to those psychological problems anyway. If you’re someone who suffers anxiety, or paranoia, a drug known to chill you out would be appealing, as a form of self medication (having worked in mental health I observed self medication with nicotine, caffeine and even alcohol), so it may be that rather than the cannabis.
The only way to definitively prove it either way would be to assess a group of people, looking for genetic markers for mental health issues or family history (or whatever), having folks smoke weed for a few years and then seeing how many developed issues. If its just the ones predisposed to mental health issues then it ain’t the weed.
Of course such a study would be difficult, because of ethics (if you find genetic markers for mental health issues, should you tell them? Or would that influence their experience with the drug?) As well as just being very complicated, not to mention that other factors might have played a part.
The thing is if that’s enough to keep it illegal then booze, which can cause dementia, physical illness and could be argued to be more dangerous, is on shaky ground.
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Personally, I think legalise weed, issue licences for UK based farms, put a tax on it and leave it alone. It would stop criminals from profiting, free up the police and courts for more serious offences and allow the effects to be better understood.
Jobs, less police spending and easing prison overcrowding.
Any thoughts? You know what to do. BETEO.

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