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Marijuana Decriminalization Essay

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The Canadian government has created many laws with the intention of ameliorating the quality of life of its citizens. Unfortunately, in some instances these laws and policies become public nuisances that do more harm than good. This has become the case with the federal government’s decision to criminalize marijuana under the Narcotics Act. This legislation was created by bureaucrats without fully weighing its advantages and disadvantages in an attempt to protect Canadian citizens from the effects of marijuana, which include a loss of coordination and temporary memory loss. As a result of passing this law the Canadian justice system is clogged with marijuana offenders whose lives are being ruined at great expense to taxpayers, and the government and industry have missed the opportunity to capitalize on marijuana and hemp. Also, this law has impeded the Canadian public’s right to use marijuana to alleviate suffering and to treat illness, and it has subjected Canadians citizens to an element of organized crime.
     Initially, before marijuana criminalization, Canadians had no major social issues relating to marijuana that required government intervention. Canadians did use marijuana to achieve a “high”, but then again people have always used alcohol and cigarettes as a vice in this manner. The difference being that the government had knowledge of the effects of alcohol and tobacco and had measures in place to control these substances. In the case of marijuana, the government did not have the knowledge or the means to attempt a legalized regulation of this product. Rather than controlling the sale and use of marijuana, the Canadian government made marijuana illegal with the intention of protecting its citizens from marijuana’s effects, of which little was known at the time. Over time marijuana has also been associated with the use of harder drugs and the development of lung cancer, but then again so has the use of alcohol and tobacco. To this day the ban against marijuana has compounded existing problems and it has created new ones in its wake.
     Presently, one of the most pressing issues that has arisen from the criminalization of marijuana is the backlog seen in Canadian courts resulting from the persecution of marijuana offenders. In 1997, nearly 50, 000 Canadians were charged with marijuana offences, up ...


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...e yet underground crops, it has prevented the use of marijuana for medical reasons and it has exposed Canadians to an avoidable element of organized crime. After close scrutiny of the evidence, it is clear that the Canadian government did not have the best interests of its citizens in mind when creating this law, but rather it acted upon fear when it prohibited marijuana. This legislation is a clear-cut example of the way fear and apprehension can compound problems, and the government must re-evaluate the facts on marijuana to clear the smoke that shrouds this important issue.


Works Cited

Carey, Elaine. “Pot Charges on the Rise.” Toronto Star 3 March 1999: A1
Green, Sarah.. “Marijuana Truth/ Many Docs Oppose ‘Cheech and Chong’ Medicine
But Clinical Trials Being Planned.” Ottawa Sun 26 December 1999: A1
Jenkins, Phil. “Field of Opportunity.” Canadian Geographic March 1999
Onstand, Katrina. “Smoking Marijuana Relieves Pain.” Chatelaine November 1997:
163-166
Rebick, Judy. “Smoking Pot Shouldn’t Be a Crime/ It’s Time to Decriminalize
Marijuana.” London Free Press April 1999: A19
Walkom, Thomas. “BC’s Grass is Really Greener.” Toronto Star 27 June 1998: A1



























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