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marijuana plants1 263x164 Debate: Should Marijuana be Legalized Around the World?

By Elizabeth Renter, Natural Society,http://naturalsociety.com/marijuana-legalized-around-world/

State by state, the marijuana laws in this country are changing, but this  isn’t the only place reconsidering pot prohibition. Marijuana  legalization support is growing around the world.Recently, Uruguay  became the latest to “edge toward” a government owned and regulated  marijuana industry. Medical marijuana in Canada is similarly making significant  strides towards making this healing herb a legal choice for millions. A  recent debate at the Economist suggested  legalization should be a global endeavor, with thousands weighing  in.

Economist debates put two high profile experts against each other, arguing  different sides of an issue. Readers are invited to weigh in and vote for the  arguments that are most convincing.  …

On the side of global legalization was Ethan Nadelmann, founder and executive  director of the Drug Policy Alliance. On the other side, founding director of  the Centre for Drug Misuse Research Neil McKeganey was against marijuana  legalization. With marijuana being a hot button issue no matter how you look at  it, both had to bring some convincing arguments to the table.

McKeganey, as most opponents do, focused on the belief that marijuana  legalization would increase marijuana usage, and with studies linking  consumption to schizophrenia, he argued, this could create a sad state of  affairs. For fear of minimizing the issue of adults being able to choose whether  or not to consume a plant in their day-to-day life, McKeganey characterized  legalization as a form of “extremism”.

With a long list of arguments for the elimination of pot prohibition,  Nadelmann hit them all in his opening remarks—from the discriminatory  foundations of prohibition (initially crafted to keep Mexican migrants and Black  Americans “in their place”), to the fact that prohibition has made marijuana  more popular than ever—Nadelmann set up numerous arguments for global  marijuana legalization.

“Marijuana prohibition is unique among criminal laws. No other law is  enforced so widely and harshly yet deemed unnecessary by such a substantial  portion of the populace.”

Marijuana is a plant which can have psychoactive effects when consumed by certain methods,  but it also has a laundry list of beneficial health effects—many of which have  yet to be explored fully simply due to prohibition and a lack of funding. Even  more than its health effects, however, marijuana legalization is an issue of  liberty and freedom

As Nadelmann said in his opening  remarks:

“But when all is said and done, the principal, and most principled, argument  in favour of ending marijuana prohibition is this: whether or not I or anyone  else consumes marijuana should be none of the government’s business—so long as  I’m not behind the wheel of a car or otherwise putting others at risk. It’s time  to get the government off my property and out of both my pockets and my body  when it comes to marijuana. Enough is enough.”

So, who won the debate? While Economist debates are hardly scientific surveys  or polls, Nadelmann won with 92% of readers supporting his arguments. Yes, most  people support marijuana legalization. If this kind of debate can be recreated  in a well-publicized forum, there’s no telling where it could go and the  ultimate effect it could have.

Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/marijuana-legalized-around-world/#ixzz2kXqXgTmPFollow us: @naturalsociety on Twitter | NaturalSociety on Facebook

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