Marijuana: Should it be legalized?
Smoking marijuana a few times daily can help ease a type of chronic pain, a Canadian study suggests.
Researchers in Montreal conducted a randomized controlled trial -- the gold standard of medical research -- of inhaled cannabis in 21 adults with chronic neuropathic pain, a condition caused by damage to nerves that don't repair.
The research team found that smoking higher-potency marijuana significantly reduced average pain intensity and helped improve sleep quality.
Although the CBC News.ca article was about research into marijuana's possible health benefits, many readers engaged in a spirited debate in the comments section over whether cannabis use in Canada should be legalized.
"I am a middle-class professional and practically everyone I know now, or used to know when I was a student and factory labourer, supports the legalization of pot," wrote TomVincent99. "The people I speak of are smart, hardworking, socially responsible individuals, some of whom have used marijuana, some of whom have not. Meanwhile, our government perpetuates [a] mantra of 'pot is evil,' supported by a minority of [scared] reactionaries whom I swear must have the social experience of aquarium turtles. People suffer pain and sit in jail needlessly for all of this, when practically any forward thinking person knows that the only sane thing to do is legalize it already!"
Commenter canarky said legalizing marijuana would yield economic benefits. "If the government were to legalize it, and controlled production and distribution like they do with beer, wine and alcohol, and then put a 'sin tax' on it, would we not be further ahead? Just think ... people who want to use it will use it, whether it is legal or not. Let's make them pay for it just like we do for cigarettes, beer, wine, booze, and reduce the tax burden to prosecute and support them while incarcerated."
Robert d agreed. "Regardless of the pain relief, the amount of wealth both Canada and the USA waste on the drug war is more criminal than the act of smoking it."
Some readers against legalizing marijuana argued that only people with legitimate health problems should have access to it, not people who use cannabis recreationally.
"Just because it has medical benefits for people with medical conditions, doesn't mean there is enough justification to legalize it for everyone to access," wrote cain-lawrence. "All it means is that it should be available only for those with medical conditions ... There is nothing to discuss here, because in Canada, marijuana is already legal for those people with medical conditions who need it."
Commenter darntootin' doesn't have an issue with people smoking marijuana, but does take exception to people who use the drug and then get behind the wheel. "Every one of the pot smokers I know thinks it is okay for them to do so now. I don't want to think of the amount of high drivers that would show up on the roads if it were legalized."
J A M 11 believes most Canadians don't want to marijuana to be legalized. "Judging by the comments and the thumbs up/down on this article, this is obviously where all the potheads hang out ... Definitely out of touch with mainstream Canada, who get their news elsewhere, and are against the slippery slope of legalizing pot use and other immoral activities."
Commenter Doctor R disagreed with J A M 11 and responded directly. "Please explain why legalizing marijuana is a 'slippery slope?' Is this akin to the argument that if a person uses pot, he/she will inevitably go on to use heroin? Or will society be more inclined to sanction rape once pot is legal? Why should making pot legal cause us to be inclined to make other things legal?
"Furthermore, why is smoking marijuana more immoral than, for example, drinking wine? If we try to impose some logic on your argument, it looks like this: 'All things immoral should be illegal. Pot is immoral. Therefore pot should be illegal.' The problem is that we don't make all things immoral illegal - adultery, for example, is legal. Nor is there any good reason to conclude that pot is immoral, since its use hurts no one except, potentially, the user."
What do you think of these arguments? Should marijuana be legalized? Why or why not?
(This poll is not scientific. It is based on readers' responses.)
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