Recent news articles have brought to light the fact that some countries are considering cannabis reform, which could see cannabis use legalized across the world. Some governments, such as the United States, have taken a hands-off approach to marijuana, while others have cracked down severely, putting people in jail for simple cannabis possession. However, what most people do not realize is that marijuana is one of the most widely used drugs throughout the world, and that it has far reaching effects on human health and society at large. With all this in mind, why is cannabis reform so important? Can we truly call the possession of cannabis a form of drug abuse when it does not physically harm people?
The truth is that cannabis is one of the most widely used drugs in the world, and it is often used by those who are suffering from other forms of drug abuse, such as alcohol or crack. It is also frequently the substance of choice among many people who are suffering from depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and even posttraumatic stress disorder. In these individuals, the mere presence of marijuana in their environment can significantly lower their moods and increase their likelihood of experiencing feelings of despair, hopelessness, and despair. While it may seem hard to justify the use of cannabis as a drug abuse, recent studies have shown that the substance does actually possess some of the same mental health risks associated with other addictive substances such as cocaine or heroine.
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Even though most people view cannabis as harmless, research into its health effects is increasing, both within the medical community and the general public. Although cannabis is not known to have any addictive qualities, consuming too much can certainly exacerbate existing drug abuse problems. As more countries and states consider legal regulation of cannabis, there is a growing concern that cannabis reform may become something of an issue in the U.S., especially as states attempt to combat growing marijuana farms and the associated crime and violence associated with them. Recently, California became the first state to successfully pass a bill legalizing marijuana use, and similar initiatives are expected to be passed soon in Oregon and Massachusetts.
Currently, marijuana is considered by the Drug Enforcement Administration as one of the most commonly abused drugs in America. Additionally, the National Institute on Drug Abuse reports that cannabis is the most commonly smoked drug in the world, rivaling alcohol and cigarettes. According to recent estimates, there are approximately 1.3 million people who smoke marijuana on a daily basis, with about half of those users indicating a history of regular marijuana use. However, it should be noted that cannabis only began to be criminalized as a drug for this reason, and the possession of the drug has never been illegal. Medical marijuana is also legal in many states, even as it continues to face opposition from conservative members of the American government and from many within the medical community.
Many who support cannabis reform argue that the U.S. government’s classification of cannabis as a Schedule II drug, which indicates the drug poses a substantial potential for abuse and addiction, is unfair and prejudiced. They argue that the scheduling system is based solely on the current states’ laws and is no longer reflective of scientifically accepted facts about the health and safety concerns related to cannabis use. Furthermore, they point out that despite repeated studies and research on the negative health effects of cannabis, the government has not banned the substance. Currently, fourteen states plus the District of Columbia allow the medical use of marijuana. Meanwhile, the federal government continues to prohibit sales or distribution of marijuana even though it is legal in many countries throughout the world.
In addition to seeking legislation to remove cannabis from Schedule II, marijuana reform advocates also want the government to remove the definition of “mature” from the definition of the federal Controlled Substances Act. Currently, the CSA classifies marijuana as a Schedule I drug, meaning it has no medical use and is considered to be extremely dangerous. Reform advocates want the classification change due to the fact that Schedule II of the CSA does not adequately define the medical uses of the drug. The proposed amendment would make it clear that marijuana has a legitimate medical use and that it can be used in accordance with state laws regarding its regulation. This would prevent the federal government from raiding medical marijuana facilities in states with regulated marijuana programs and could result in the rescheduling of the drug altogether.