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"Marijuana is one of the most abused drugs across the world"
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"Marijuana is one of the most abused drugs across the world"

Proponents of the legalisation of cannabis fail to realise the very real negative effects of the drug on society, argues Peter Njoroge, 25, a Commonwealth Corrrespondent from the town of Kiambu in Kenya.

Most of us have either seen or smoked marijuana, either in a recreational or medical setting.

What is common about the drug, locally and internationally, is its illegal status. But this has not discouraged some people from partaking of the drug and the consequences for this legal disregard is socially and economically catastrophic.

There exists a divide on opinion regarding the legal status of the drug with some loudly calling for its legalisation – especially in major countries like the US. The debate on the legalisation of marijuana is not new and has raged for several decades with both the proponents and opponents using emotional appeal and evidence to back their claims.

Marijuana is one of the most abused drugs across the world and the call for its legalization has a significant impact on governments and individuals. This has informed my opinion that marijuana should not be legalised since doing so will lead to increased addiction, social evils like crime and additional burdens to the world’s health care systems through treatment of this addiction and drug induced accidents.

Marijuana is addictive and one of the most abused illegal substances in major cities across the world. Legalising the drug will just increase addiction by making it readily available to the users and tempting non users to engage in its consumption. This will in turn lead to reduced productivity and increased social evils in form of crime since drugs reduce inhibitions.

Education might also be affected either through teens dropping out of school or their performance being greatly affected by marijuana use. Those who have had the privilege to study in public universities here in Kenya will attest to the extent that students abuse the drug which they have ascribed nicknames like weed, bush, kush and “ndome.”

This abuse leads to risky behaviour like experimentation with alcohol, other drugs and reckless engagement in dangerous sexual activities. Needless to say sustaining this addiction requires money and students who have no ready source of income result to dangerous behaviour like robbery or prostitution to get cash for basic needs and marijuana.

The side effects include increased AIDs prevalence, unwanted pregnancies and an increase in the rate of abortions. Those calling for marijuana legalisation have citied taxation of the drug as a way for government to control its use and increase its revenue. However, statistics have shown that legalisation of drugs does not increase its effective control or add revenue in relation to social cost as demonstrated by the two legal drugs; alcohol and tobacco.

For instance, in the United States, the federal cost of attending to alcohol related conditions amounted to $185 billion as compared to alcohol related revenue totalling $14.5 billion. Medical data collected in trauma wards has shown that most deaths and major injuries on our roads are caused by marijuana smoking drivers. Marijuana, like alcohol, impairs the judgment of the driver and the resultant effect is unnecessary carnage. Innocent lives are lost simply because a few people chose to engage in an illegal fetish.

What would happen then if the drug was made legal, how many innocent lives would the world lose under the hands of a few hedonistic individuals? How many more resources would we need to assign to treatment rather than focus on other welfare programs meant to make this world a better place?

No, legalising marijuana is not just impractical – it’s downright immoral.

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About me:

“Born in a town bear Nairobi, I’ve had to face many challenges in line with many Kenyans who hail from humble backgrounds. Educated through public school from elementary school all the way to Kenyatta University where I studied economics and philosophy.

“I do various writing jobs to earn a living since writing is not only a calling but a vocation too. I hope that one day I’ll be able to actively help in the journey towards global youth empowerment – not just on a political level but social-economic too.”

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Opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of the Commonwealth Youth Programme. Articles are published in a spirit of dialogue, respect and understanding. If you disagree, why not submit a response?

To learn more about becoming a Commonwealth Correspondent please visit: http://www.yourcommonwealth.org/submit-articles/commonwealthcorrespondents/

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