Cannabis and Democracy in the UK

Cannabis has always been a controversial matter in a progressive democratic country and by putting into account of the fact that cannabis is Briton’s considerably favourite drug according to Macrae (2010) (www.7), a thorough neutral research should be considered for the review of the public. Cannabis Sativa which comes from the Indian hemp plant is a weed-like species that grows naturally in many tropical and temperate parts of the world and has long been appreciated for different kinds of purposes including medicinal benefits, religious practice, and also to rebel against authority from 12,000 years ago as referred to by Mehling & Triggle (2003). The aforementioned authors also point out that this might be the main reason why cannabis is “at a cornerstone of a controversial debate in all sectors of US and International society”. The authors also quoted hemp as a ‘cash crop’ where President George Washington personally harvested cannabis in his own backyard. Apparently media has been used as a tool for propagation of influence to imply false representation of cannabis. In 1936, a movie in a form of a mock documentary was broadcasted to the public to send a strong cautionary message to parents and was viewed as proof of Marijuana’s ‘menace to society’. This movie as can be seen in Figure 1 below was later released as Reefer Madness (Mehling & Triggle) (www.15). It can be clearly observed that these approaches not only seem unnecessary to begin with, but furthermore, the effects of these “prohibition” rather than “control” idea benefits mostly the capitalist. What are the main aims of these projections and how have these been affecting the community in UK?

Figure 1

Haaziq Ibrahim


Another interesting fact . therefore.3). highlighted by Haaziq Ibrahim 2 . after disregarding the Advisory Council on the Misuse of Drugs advice against reclassification a year earlier. Macrae (2010) (www. The aforementioned author also did mention that there was a controversy among members of the Conservative confessing to have tried the drug after finding out a third of Britain’s top bosses had tried cannabis.7) too had suggested that that skunk cannabis can be extra damaging. In a BBC article (www. more dangerous’. Mehling & Triggle (2003) have also provided extra information by expressing that researchers and policymakers have supported the motion where cannabis potency has increased significantly from 1960’s with Lord Bassam (www. recommending that there are ‘devastating’ mental health problems linked to cannabis. the author mention of a mother claiming that cannabis ‘had turned him (his son) into a schizophrenic who suffered psychotic tendencies and hallucinations”. although there were many conflicts and contradictions among each representative: the Pro-cannabis and the Anti-cannabis. ‘suggested that the evidence does in general support a causal relationship between cannabis use in adolescence and later development of schizophrenia’ (www.Cannabis and Democracy in the UK Chapter One Varying perceptions of Cannabis use Media’s influence on views of Cannabis The current approach that was taken by the government and supported by the media can be clearly seen through daily news. Government’s influence on views of Cannabis The government too played a major role in the reclassification of cannabis from class C to class B. as reported. The council. Meacher (2008) had pointed out that the reclassification of cannabis in the UK was upgraded by the Home Secretary with harsher penalties. The Independent claims “to be credited with forcing the Government to downgrade the legal classification of cannabis to class C in the recent years. The aforementioned author also reported that the Council had considered the view where there is a widespread use of cannabis but was contradicted as the author argued that the public health impact of cannabis is relatively modest.7) quoting ‘today’s marijuana users are experiencing more potent. In another article by Owen (2007). although Chairman of the Drug and Alcohol Foundation and the Addiction Recovery Foundation said cannabis was not ‘all that addictive and not all that dangerous’.7). until an IOS editorial states that there is sufficient proof that skunk cannabis causes mental illness and psychosis” and that society has undermined the risk of cannabis.

This matter. A BBC article (www. (www. He took this big ‘leap of death’ last year.Cannabis and Democracy in the UK Owen (2007).12). before the IoS Editorial provided evidence that he had consumed cannabis as a teenager. In Campbell’s view. the price paid for the drug is not ‘worth the money’. doctors are criticising the NHS systems for denying multiple sclerosis patients the right to use a cannabis-based drug.5) has stated that British Lung Foundation found three cannabis joints a day causes the same damage as twenty cigarettes and leads to 50% more chances of getting cancer than tobacco. According to Campbell (2011). as stressed by the aforesaid that David Cameron. the Conservative leader. has taken another look into the classification of cannabis.6) Haaziq Ibrahim 3 . is the first cannabis-based medicine to be licensed for use in the UK. Sativex. which regulators assured to help relieve symptoms and has reported that NHS allow themselves “to ‘exacerbate’ patients’ pain and suffering by refusing” the access to the restricted drug. after backing successful calls to downgrade the drug from B to C in 2002. However. doctors insisted that this medication is the only alternative for some patients. and now wants the drug’s initial categorization to be restored (www.

where the author had mentioned that inhaling cannabis will not damage lungs and cannabis is less addictive than tobacco and alcohol (www. it was disheartening for them when this licensed treatment cannot be prescribed to those who find other drugs did not bring any relief or had experienced terrible side-effects. sacked in 2009 for going against the government decisions to upgrade the classification of cannabis. Haaziq Ibrahim 4 .5) As expressed in (www. (www. The aforementioned author pointed out that the comparison of fatal death accidents due to alcohol is higher than the result of cannabis and by comparison of the important health effect.2) The aforesaid author also stressed the point where ‘there was no immediate increase in the use of marijuana in the Netherlands after it was decriminalised’ which is said to stop the increasing rate of hard-drug junkies for ten years.3) . Campbell (2011) (www. This is mentioned in a BBC article. alcohol can be observed to be on the receiving end.5) This fact is supported by ANON. the prohibition of cannabis had generate ‘no results’ and had led to ‘a massive increase in drug use’. A research as reported by Davenport (2007) failed to proof that schizophrenia and cannabis is related.Cannabis and Democracy in the UK Chapter 2 Conflicting General Feedback Counter Feedbacks to be considered Each of the points mentioned by the government and the media is counter-challenged by some radical scientists and leads to different point of debate. Meacher (2008) too did reported that there was no valid proof of an increase in incidence of schizophrenia following the rise of cannabis use in the 80’s and reduced penalties did not interfere with this downward trend.5) highlighted the fact that some doctors had been clueless on why their MS patients were refused. The author Meacher (2008) had also discovered a couple of details which would draw attention to whether this prohibition will benefit or risk the community of the UK. The report by Hardwick & King (2008) has also clearly stated that there was no significant increase in the potency of cannabis in the UK. formed a committee called Independent Scientific Committee on Drugs with aims to probe drug issues without any political interference. (www. (www. Furthermore.4) and leads to a conclusion where alcohol scored top for ‘worst overall’ followed by tobacco. Effects on researchers and Cannabis science Professor David Nutt. (1998). former government chief adviser.

The approached by the government on the controversial sacking of Professor Nutt is demeaning to the research culture and might lead to scientist being uninterested.9). at the same time. nevertheless. The multiple sclerosis sufferers too have been going through an unbearable pain.4).Cannabis and Democracy in the UK Chapter Three Break the Ice These manipulations or policy shifts. Haaziq Ibrahim 5 . (www. and this is covered by Macrae (2010). spreads unnecessary fear of the unknown. This would maybe lead to the stunted growth and progression of a develop country.2) and (www. as mentioned by Campbell (2011). aspires following countries to do the same and thus creating an invisible ‘restriction zone’ in terms of cannabis application in human’s daily life. more arrest and convictions make it harder for those involved to obtain a job and housing creating unnecessary problems while a bigger proportion of drug users stay with hard-drugs (www. and (www.1) in their respective articles. Furthermore. There was plenty of research which gives hope to HIV and cancer patients. and this might reflect a negative image of how much effort is provided for the need.

However. wider feedback which may be an important medicinal evolution. there should not be any political interference as these rising issues can contradict the importance of cannabis as part of aid to mankind. Proper education on drug abuse was more effective than harsher penalties in terms of the number of people using drugs. proper neutral research and discussion of pros and cons of cannabis should be conducted internationally to have better. Furthermore. (1557 words) Haaziq Ibrahim 6 . it can be concluded that a natural approach which can benefit both parties should be taken into account.Cannabis and Democracy in the UK Conclusion From this research. Besides that. it should be pointed out that prohibiting cannabis at this phase of the evolution of cannabis and human development could perhaps be against human rights.

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