What Are The Advantages And Disadvantages Of Cannabis Law?

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Debate surrounding the advantages and disadvantages of Australian cannabis legislation is often framed as a simplification between two competing choices relating to levels of harm to individuals and to society, with the same evidence and information selectively interpreted, to bolster opposing arguments (Hall, 2008). The choices are: cannabis use as harmless and therefore, should be decriminalised or legalised based on prohibition’s inability to deter use, crime, mortality and morbidity (McGeorge & Aitken, 1997) versus continued prohibition due to harmful effects of addiction, crime and health consequences (Dennis & White, 1999; Hall, 2008). This simplification glosses over the advantages and disadvantages of the health consequences and potential medical benefits to use, the economic costs of enforcement, criminal administration and decriminalisation plus the social costs to individuals and society. In addition to there being no public unanimity on the harms that are of most significance, nor the required action from the government in overseeing those harms (Weatherburn, 2014). Nevertheless,…show more content…
Quantifying the desired and achieved levels of harm minimisation is both difficult and problematic due to the lack of public consensus regarding the harms that are most important and requiring priority, in addition to the context they occur in (Weatherburn, 2014). Polarised views of minimising harm for the health of individuals versus society, motivations for use as medicinal versus youth experimentation to long-term dependency plus combining economic costs and benefits of a criminal prohibitionist approach as opposed to a civil prohibitionist approach means legislation is required to find balance between the policy that reduces the most amount of harm for the least amount of resources, with the highest expectation of

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