Cannabis is a drug derived from the cannabis plant, and for some, it is a stimulant. So what happened to this plant, which has been used for centuries, and was suddenly banned? What did this ban bring, what did it take? First of all, let’s have a brainstorm on why a plant given by nature is banned. While doing this, I want to put aside your prejudices and what you have heard so far. When you look at it this way, I think you can get a more objective perspective at the end of the article.
Cannabis was made difficult to grow under the Marijuana Tax Law enacted in the USA in the 1930s for “economic” reasons and became illegal all over the world over time. So, as you have read, it is not a law that is applied as a result of scientific studies. Moreover, there are many scientific research examples suggest that cannabis used in appropriate amounts is less harmless than cigarettes and alcohol and has various benefits. The fact that such a perception has been created on cannabis is not because of its harms, but rather that it has many economic benefits and these benefits are the rent effort of companies that generate some oil-based income.
The water requirement of the plant is very low and it is possible to grow it both outdoors and in greenhouses in many parts of the world. Moreover, it is a durable plant that does not require any agricultural pesticides. Therefore, its production is very low cost compared to many agricultural plants. Rope, sack, bag, carpet, shoe, upholstery, and hat can be made from this plant, which has very strong fibers. These products, which can also be produced from plastic, are produced in a more durable and healthier way. The damages of plastic to nature and people are known. You can also produce all products that can be produced from plastic from hemp. While cannabis products can be mixed quickly without harming nature, products made of plastic can only be mixed with nature after thousands of years.
Paper equivalent to 4 decares of wood can be obtained from 1 decare of hemp. Paper obtained from hemp can be recycled 8 times, while paper made from wood is suitable for recycling 3 times. In addition, while trees grow in a period of 20-50 years, the cultivation period of cannabis is 4 months. The cosmetics and soaps we use are also highly harmful to nature, but since the cosmetics and soaps made from hemp are natural, they will not pollute the water and will not harm you. Biofuel is also obtained from hemp, and organic energy that is permanent, cheap, and respectful to nature can be produced compared to petroleum. When the oil is burned, it can cause sulfur pollution and acid rain, but this is not the case with fuels produced from hemp. However, this situation does not suit the oil companies.
If cannabis production from cannabis is transferred to the state control and body, people who want to consume this plant can buy from the places determined by the state by paying their tax, and thus there will be a serious tax inflow to the coffers of the state. After marijuana became legal in Colorado, there was a $ 3.5 million tax inflow to the state coffers in 2012. In California, after the legalization of cannabis, the sales volume is expected to reach 7 billion dollars in the next 2 years. This situation will contribute to the economic development of the state and at the same time, the crime rate and profit of the cartels who carry out this business illegally and make money will decrease.
The Story of How Cannabis Became Illegal
The real reason may surprise you. Why do people go to jail or get punished for using cannabis? Most of us assume this is because a person sits down and scientifically finds that cannabis is more harmful than alcohol and cigarettes. But research in official archives on why cannabis was banned in the 1930s shows that this is not the case. It is certainly not the case.
In 1929, a man named Harry Anslinger was made responsible for the Prohibition Agency in Washington DC. But the alcohol ban had become a disaster. Gangs took over all the districts. The alcohol controlled by the criminals had become much more toxic. So the alcohol ban was finally over, and Harry Anslinger was scared. He found himself in charge of a huge government agency and had nothing to do about it. Until then, he had said that cannabis was not an issue. He explained that this did not harm people and that there was no more absurd nonsense than it would drive people to violence. But then he suddenly declared that he had changed his mind when his office needed a new purpose.
He explained to the public what would happen if they smoked marijuana. At first, you would have a crazy rage. Then, the dreams of an erotic character would have surrounded you. Then you would lose the power of connected thought. Eventually, you would reach the inevitable endpoint, madness. Marijuana would turn people into wild animals. Harry Anslinger was particularly obsessed with an incident. In Florida, a boy named Victor Licata killed his parents with an ax. Anslinger explained to America: This would happen when you smoked Devil’s weed. The event became famous. The parents were scared.
What was the evidence Harry Anslinger had? It turns out that at the time, he wrote to 30 leading scientists in the field to ask whether cannabis is harmful and should not be banned. Twenty-nine people wrote the answer and said no. Anslinger chose the “one” scientist who said yes and presented himself to the world. The press, obsessed with Victor Licata’s ax, applauded them.
Cannabis was banned during a panic that plagued America. The US has told other countries that they have to do the same. Most countries have denied this as an absurd idea. Mexico, for example, decided that its drug policy should be managed by doctors. Their medical advice was that marijuana did not cause these problems, and they refused to ban it. The USA was angry. Anslinger ordered them to line up. The Mexicans imposed it until eventually, the US ceased all legal supplies of pain relievers to Mexico. People started dying in pain in hospitals. Mexico fired the doctor and started its own drug war.
But questions were asked in the homeland. A prominent American doctor named Michael Ball wrote a letter to Harry Anslinger in confusion. He said he used marijuana when he was a medical student and that only made him drowsy. Maybe cannabis drives a small number of people crazy, he said, but he said some scientific study capital was needed to find it. Anslinger replied firmly that the issue of the cannabis devil could no longer be extended and would never fund independent science from now on.
Doctors continued to say that he was at fault for years, and he began to snub, telling them that they were “walking in a dangerous area” and pay attention to their words. Today, most countries in the world are still living with Harry Anslinger’s marijuana ban in the nationwide panic following Victor Licata’s series of murders. But the problem is that years later, someone went and looked at Victor Licata’s psychiatric files. As it turns out, there was no evidence that he had used cannabis before. He had many mental illnesses in his family. They were told that he should be put in a nursing home, but they refused. His psychiatrists had never mentioned cannabis in connection with him.
David Nutt, the former chief of drug advisor of the British government, explains: if cannabis is clearly causing mental imbalance, then this must be exposed. When marijuana use increases, the mental imbalance will increase, and as cannabis use decreases, the mental imbalance will decrease. So is this happening? We have a lot of data from many countries. And it turns out that this is not the case. For example, cannabis use in the UK has increased by 40 percent since the 1960s. What about mental imbalance rates? It remained stable.
In fact, scientific evidence suggests cannabis is safe from alcohol. Alcohol kills 40,000 people in the USA every year. Marijuana doesn’t kill anybody; Willie Nelson says he died when a bale of marijuana fell on a friend’s head. So in 2006, a young man named Mason Tvert in Colorado challenged state governor John Hickenlooper. Hickenlooper owned alcohol bars throughout the state, and that made it rich. So Mason invited him to a duel. He told him to bring a crate of drink and that he would bring a pack of herbs. He said that every time he drinks a drink he will pull a weed himself. It would be seen who would die first.
Mason continued to lead the campaign to legalize cannabis in his state. Citizens who supported him also voted on this issue with 55%. Now adults can legally buy marijuana for taxation in licensed shops, and the money is used to build schools. After seeing this scheme for 1.5 years, in reality, support for legalization has risen to 69%. Even Governor Hickenlooper began to call it common sense. And Colorado has not yet been filled with people killing their families.
Countries Where Cannabis Is Not Illegal
Some have legalized this substance only in the medical field, while others arbitrarily.
It has just been legalized in Washington DC and Colorado states.
Legal as long as you are not involved in any crime. It is also forbidden to grow and sell!
Legal as long as you are not involved in any crime. It is also forbidden to sell! But if you want to raise, you need a medical condition.
Legal as long as you are not involved in any crime. It is legal to sell and manufacture only for medical purposes only.
5- Czech Republic
Its manufacture or medical use is legal as long as you are not involved in any crime.
Its consumption is legal as long as you are not involved in any crime. Other than that, if they catch a Marijuana tree in your home, they have a penalty.
Its consumption is legal as long as you are not involved in any crime. It’s okay if you smoke it with Russian chicks in bars, but if they see that you have bought or raised, there is a penalty.
It is actually forbidden in France, but there are many smokers. Better not to smoke. But if you get caught, cannabis laws in France are very loose. Apart from that, it is forbidden to grow and sell.
It is strictly forbidden to transfer this product to another country via India, but it is freed by the government to use or produce it.
Its consumption is legal as long as you are not involved in any crime. But it is forbidden to produce or sell. So if you are caught buying and consuming in Croatia, there is no problem.
11- the Netherlands
It’s legal in all areas where the police allow it. In addition, the cultivation and distribution of cannabis inside and outside the country are free as long as it is under state control.
Free to sell within the country, but you cannot sell it outside the country. Interestingly enough, consumption within the country is free, but you shouldn’t be involved in crime. In addition, marijuana is a very legal plant to grow in Iran.
Consumption is not a crime in the country unless you are involved in any crime. At the same time, its cultivation is free but not allowed for sale.
Its consumption is legal as long as you are not involved in any crime. You can grow this product freely in Cambodia, but you cannot put it on the market publicly.
Its consumption is legal as long as you are not involved in any crime. You can grow this product freely in Colombia, but you cannot put it on the market publicly.
16- Costa Rica
Consumption is free as long as you do not involve in any crime. However, you cannot grow this product in this country and at the same time, you cannot sell it to other countries.
17- North Korea
In North Korea, free-to-drink marijuana is not allowed to be exported from the country in any way, and you cannot grow it.
You can consume marijuana in Pakistan, but you can easily consume this product in places where the government tolerates, in short, where there is bribery, except that you cannot even produce it within the territory of the country.
In Uruguay, the cultivation, use, and sale of cannabis are completely free.
Cannabis Use Declines in the Us Where It Is Legal
A recent study in the US concluded that cannabis use among teenagers declined in places where cannabis was legalized. A study by Montana State University examined health surveys of high school students between 1993 and 2017. While the total use of cannabis among adolescents in the USA increased, it was found that use decreased by approximately 10 percent in states where recreational use was legalized. In the USA, 33 states legalize the use of medical marijuana, while 10 states decriminalize recreational use. The use of cannabis by young people under the age of 18 is still prohibited in all states.
Mark Anderson, the head of the team that conducted the study, told the Associated Press news agency that he hoped their research would “alleviate concerns that cannabis legalization has increased use among young people.” Anderson and his team reviewed data on 1.4 million young people obtained through the Risky Behaviors Among Teens survey conducted annually by the US Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Anderson stated that it is more difficult for young people to buy cannabis from licensed cannabis shops, which require identification for shopping, compared to street vendors, and this may explain the decrease.
Marijuana sold in licensed shops is more expensive compared to street vendors. Anderson emphasized in his research that after the release of medical use, he did not find any changes in use and that the usage habits changed only after the recreational use was legalized. Last December, a study conducted in Washington state concluded that usage among young people declined after the legalization in 2012. However, a similar study conducted in Colorado state last year found that the number of high school students who reported using marijuana did not change. Anderson told CNN television that most states have recently released cannabis use and should follow and update the data for a few more years.
Why the Netherlands Legalized Cannabis Use?
In the ’70s, the use of heroin became very common in the Netherlands. Deaths and health problems, especially from injecting heroin use, exceeded the European average. The Netherlands, which was looking for alternative policies to protect public health, could not control the use by making use of it with legal regulations at that time, because the international community still had a perspective that supported very harsh sanctions on drugs and spoke harsh sanctions to countries that made concessions on this issue. For this reason, the Netherlands tried to come up with a solution by not applying laws.
First, they made a distinction between articles, and by legal regulation, they classified them into two groups. Cannabis was included in the soft drug group and all other substances in the hard drugs group. It increased the penalties for the use and sale of hard materials and reduced the sanctions on cannabis. The purpose of this distinction was to direct people to less harmful cannabis. After these regulations, the police started to ignore the use of cannabis, although it is still a crime in the law. It was expected that people would adapt to policy change over time, and they were successful.
Over the years, people stopped using harsh substances and turned to use cannabis, where they would get less trouble. Since the main aim is to protect public health, the policy change was not limited to changing the measures taken by police forces. They developed programs that would facilitate the treatment of addicts and encourage harm reduction. For example, from past to present, the Netherlands is the country with the highest expenditure per capita in addiction treatment.
The Netherlands is one of the countries that implement decriminalization (without making changes in the laws) de facto (its use and sale are still prohibited, but penalties are eased or administrative sanctions are applied). In other words, the use, sale, or supply of all kinds of substances, including cannabis, is still prohibited by law. However, with an administrative decision, the police’s investigation of certain substances is taken under control. While the authority to take administrative measures in this regard was taken by the central government in the ’70s, the authorities on this issue were transferred to local government units in time.
Police increased their operations to prevent the sale and use of heroin in the first period of the application. The police made a lot of searches in certain parts of the city, but in some parts, they turned a blind eye. They endeavored to gather users in a specific area within the city. This was a conscious choice, so it was easier for healthcare professionals to reach addicts concentrated in that area. Syringe distribution, persuasion efforts, and other health improvement activities intensified and over time the number of hard substance users decreased. The use, possession, and sale of marijuana are still prohibited under Dutch law, but police have ignored the possession or use of cannabis below a certain gram. They did not allow the sellers. The police, who managed to gather hard substance users to a certain area, directed new users to marijuana.
Cannabis Cafes in Netherlands
It was not possible to control the market dynamics in an environment where selling was prohibited and using was free. The police, who never tolerated those who sold hard materials, gradually began to ignore those who only sell marijuana. With a new policy change, salespeople were put under control to keep those who want to use cannabis away from the criminal world. Cannabis sales were allowed in certain areas under the supervision of local government units. Arrangements were made such as that it could not be advertised, that a maximum of 5 grams of sales would be made at a time, and that 500 grams of cannabis would not be kept in a cafe. Thus, it was aimed that there would be no illegal substance sellers in the streets. A legal cannabis seller is not trying to sell hard stuff here. The fact that people bought the most consumed substance from cafes narrowed the scope of the street vendors. When users lost contact with street vendors, they prevented them from accessing hard materials.
While its production and sale are still prohibited, it is still unknown where and how the cafes find, bring, and sell marijuana and are one of the most critical aspects of Dutch policy. However, over the years, the stones settled in place, the people selling in the cafes got ahead of the street vendors and caused the people to remain fixed in cannabis. The price of cannabis is more expensive on the street, as the police are fighting street vendors, but cafe prices are again above the average of many EU countries. In short, when it became free, its price did not drop too much, because its production is still prohibited and the cost of getting to the cafe is full of risks. This was an obstacle to its overuse.
The Netherlands got what it wanted in the long run. It is among the countries with the least problems in the category of problem drug use and drug-induced deaths compared to the European average. Over time, it also develops policies to restrict cannabis use. For example, until 2012, people from other EU countries could use cannabis in cafes. For this reason, it was criticized for doing cannabis tourism, but in 2012, a court decision banned cafes from selling cannabis to those who do not have a Dutch residence permit. Although some local governments do not fully enforce this ban, foreigners are prohibited from using marijuana in many places. The number of cafes in the country, which was around 800 in those years, decreased to around 300 in these years.
The THC ratio in cannabis has increased rapidly after 2000 years. As cannabis-induced suicides and applications for cannabis-induced treatment increased, the state made regulations on this issue. With a THC ratio of over 15%, cannabis was considered a hard substance and was no different from selling heroin. Thus, the damages caused by cannabis were also reduced. Practices related to those who use other substances have been softened. Decriminalization includes other substances, and those who use or have hard materials below half a gram (0.5) are not subject to legal action. Their detection and treatment are aimed.
The main purpose of this practice was to keep people away from hard materials and success was achieved in this regard. The Netherlands is now doing well compared to the EU average in many indicators in this category. Youth use in cannabis is low compared to the EU average, but 1-2 percentage points higher among adults. The number of people in prisons for drug use is very low, which is a huge economic gain. In addition, people do not have serious problems for the rest of their lives, as they do not have a criminal record for substance use. The criminal recording is an important means of marginalization and prevents substance users from gaining a place in society and holding on to life. When substance abuse turns from being a moral and legal issue to a health problem, people can turn to treatment more easily. This allows the state to solve the problem within the concept of health.
A Different Perspective: Reasons for Cannabis to Be Illegal
The marijuana plant, popularly known as cannabis, is legal in Canada, the USA, Ukraine, Uruguay, the Netherlands, Jamaica, and North Korea. It is possible to find many contents on the internet that the use of this plant as a tobacco product will cause serious harm. As a matter of fact, such herbal products are trafficked illegally in many countries. The number of countries that allow marijuana to be consumed legally is increasing day by day. This plant, which is normally used for medicinal production, already has a legal distribution network for scientific purposes. The legality in these countries is that people can easily access these plants like cigarettes. So why should marijuana stay illegal?
- Cannabis is getting more concentrated day by day:
Particularly in countries where the trade of these products is legal, serious chemical studies are carried out to increase the drug effect of the plant. In laboratories, addiction-triggering studies are carried out to increase the effects of the cannabis plant, as is done for cigarettes. In fact, powerful effects that can cause psychosis have emerged. In other words, the mental health of the people who use it is deeply affected. Experts have been working on the soothing effect of the marijuana plant against ailments such as anxiety for many years, but that doesn’t mean they get people drunk with cannabis.
- Cannabis is like the beginning of drugs, it drives people to consume more drugs:
If you take a look at the countries where cannabis is legal, you will see that illegal drug trafficking is a serious problem in those countries. In fact, the types of drugs traded are not limited to marijuana, as the consumption of synthetic versions has increased. As you know, synthetic drugs are produced directly to create addiction since they are not of plant origin. Its health effects are fatal. It has been observed that addicted people were treated for years, and those who refused treatment died prematurely.
3. Cannabis is addictive and unhealthy:
In societies where cannabis is widely used, there is much false news that it is not addictive. Scientific studies have shown that marijuana is a drug with an extremely powerful immunosuppressive effect. At the same time, the addictive effect continues to trigger psychological problems, unlike tobacco products. In recent years, it has been observed that the demand for treatment against cannabis addiction has doubled in the world. So wherever you look at it, it is clear that there is something more dangerous than alcohol and cigarettes.
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