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< Back to question Should recreational marijuana be legal? Show more Show less

Following a public outcry over the case of Billy Caldwell, a 12-year-old boy with epilepsy who was prohibited from bringing back a life-changing supply of cannabis oil from Canada, the use of cannabis for medicinal purposes has now been made legal in the UK. Unsurprisingly this has re-ignited the ongoing question: should we legalise the recreational use of cannabis?

Recreational marijuana should be legal Show more Show less

Legalising marijuana would help to minimise its harms.
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Marijuana is less harmful than alcohol and tobacco

Alcohol and tobacco are legal, but cause far more deaths than marijuana. There is no reason marijuana should be illegal while alcohol and tobacco are legal.
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The Argument

Alcohol and tobacco are both legal, and they are far worse for public health than marijuana. In the U.S. roughly six people per day die from alcohol poisoning,[1] and about 480,000 deaths per year are linked to smoking tobacco.[2] There is no reason that while these are both legal, marijuana, which is nontoxic, should not be.

Counter arguments

Just because one thing is less harmful than another does not mean it should automatically get the same treatment. If alcohol and tobacco are significantly worse than marijuana, maybe laws around them should also be examined. Additionally, reinforcing regulations of marijuana are much harder than with alcohol. For instance, while with alcohol a Blood Alcohol Limit can be implemented to stop people driving while intoxicated, no such parameters exist with marijuana despite it impairing users' driving abilities.

Premises

[P1] Alcohol and tobacco cause huge numbers of deaths each year. [P2] Marijuana is nontoxic. [P3] If alcohol and tobacco are going to be legal, there is no reason marijuana should not be.

Rejecting the premises

[Rejecting P3] Just because marijuana does not cause as many deaths directly as alcohol and tobacco does not mean it should be legal.

References

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/vitalsigns/alcohol-poisoning-deaths/index.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fast_facts/index.htm

This page was last edited on Friday, 5 Jun 2020 at 23:17 UTC

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