Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Marijuana - Legalise or not?
Information Collection

Websites in Malta have recently been inundated by news and opinions about marijuana and Malta's harsh sentences meted out to those who use it. This was triggered by the 11-year sentence to Daniel Holmes for having two plants in his house in Gozo. The emotionally-loaded comments posted by both sides reminded me of the Divorce War in Malta. Just as divorce had been linked with everything from family breakdowns to earthquakes and weeping madonnas, it seemed to me that the same thing was happening here.

So, just as I did with divorce, I decided to find things out for myself. Fortunately, there is a flood of information available - more so than in the case of divorce since the divorce issue had already been settled long ago almost everywhere else.

Here is a page with the best material I found. I have tried to keep everything objective - I included both pages for and against legalisation - but I'll say up front that what I found led me to conclude that marijuana should be legalised.
I will be updating this page with more information as I find it.

Reports, Studies and Articles
Global Commission on Drugs Policy Report
This commission studies the impact on drugs and comes up with a set of proposals for formulating drug policies. The commission recommends "End the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others", and "Encourage experimentation by governments with models of legal regulation of drugs ... This recommendation applies especially to cannabis ..."

What can we learn from the Portuguese Decriminalization of Illicit Drugs?
This report from the British Journal of Criminology describes the result of Portogal's decriminalisation of ALL drugs in 2001. From the abstract: "It concludes that contrary to predictions, the Portuguese decriminalization did not lead to major increases in drug use. Indeed, evidence indicates reductions in problematic use, drug-related harms and criminal justice overcrowding." (click the "Full Text" links for the entire report - payment required).

Time Magazine: Drugs in Portugal: Did Decriminalization Work?
"The paper, published by Cato in April, found that in the five years after personal possession was decriminalized, illegal drug use among teens in Portugal declined and rates of new HIV infections caused by sharing of dirty needles dropped, while the number of people seeking treatment for drug addiction more than doubled."

Cannabis and Cannabinoids (US National Cancer Institute)
This website describes findings about the use of cannabis for the treatment of cancer. The above link is quite technical but there's another link on the page with simpler information for patients. This page describes how cannabis is effective both in attacking the cancer itself, and in alleviating the side-effects of chemotherapy.


1. Clearing the Smoke - the Science of Cannabis
This is a full-length documentary produced by the PBS in Montana, USA. 

2. When we grow, this is what we can do

3. BBC: Cannabis: What's the Harm? (part 1 of 2)

4. National Geographic: Marijuana Nation (part 1 of 5)