Let's set things right

One should start tackling this question by understanding the factors that led to our current situation today. 'Marijuana' as a term was coined by the US by a certain Anslinger in a crusade against the plant, forevermore staining the simple plant as a scourge. It is insightful to appreciate that the oldest record of use goes way back to the Chinese Dynasty in 2727BC. Moving closer to the present we find numerous accounts of thinkers and labourers, high court members and lowly peasants finding a certain soothing within the use of the plant, from Ancient Greece, to the Roman Empire, to Rennaisance Florence (sometimes depicted in paintings) to the contemporary 19th Century, wherein a quote by the German philosopher Nietzche comes to mind stating "If a man wishes to rid himself of a feeling of unbearable oppression, he may have to take to hashish. Well, I had to take to Wagner..." (1888, Ecce Homo). My initial point to make is that this was never a plant that was frowned upon, but rather it was, like the grape and the malt, a fruitful natural ingredient that allievates physical, psychological or emotional pain. If not curing certain ailments, it surely mitigated the pain. This is specifically aimed at the recreational or medicinal use of the plant. However, as some often forget, the plant needs much less resources to grow, and it can be made into flax fiber, fabric, paper, wood, even compressed into concrete (called 'Hempcrete'). I envisage a scenario where the government moves away from old, archaic and fear-driven ideas about a plant that has a Zero death toll and endorses it to create a 'green economy'.  The government could work unused fields, create tenders for prospective farmers who wish to start growing cannabis plants, turning garigue land into fertile green areas. The yield would create a surplus by marketing responsible use but as an alternative to the suspiciously positively-regarded alcohol situation in the west and naturally Malta. The government could then create industries through the hemp aspect, which is a rising vogue in fashion and industry as it is portrayed (and rightly so) as a conscious effort to minimise the damage done to the planet in our creation of needs and luxuries. In the US, the abolisher of the plant, some states have now reversed their position (Colorado, California, Washington to name a few) and what they realised is that 1) the market is huge 2) such financial booms led to better upkeep of the cities, a much needed cash injection in education (all round not just propaganda in favour of marijuana). Moreover, the stubborness to keep marijuana illegal, has opened pockets of 'legal highs' which inevitably surface when there is a great need by the populace. The dastardly people behind such legal highs are simply profiteers exploiting an archaic law of illegality, by providing a synthetic and pathetic replacement for cannabis by using chemicals which are legal, but are very dangerous to health, both body and mind. Thus, legalising marijuana would remove these imitation poisons from the streets and people would not even think of resorting to such horrible alternatives. Even more so, it would cut off the underground illegal importation and selling of the plant. It is common knowledge and a categorically agreed statement that if the government provided marijuana, with varied strains and details that enable you to determine the high effect of the product, much like alcohol does with the back sticker on a bottle of wine or an exquisite whiskey case, people would not even think of going to underground dealers where the person never knows what he's buying in terms of potency, origin, effect and THC/ CBD percentages. (For context imagine going to by a bottle of wine, but there is just a bottle of slightly translucent liquid, might be white wine, or might be some grappa (double alcohol at the least) or some vodka (quadruple) or some Absinthe (60% - 80% alcohol). The range is too great and troublesome. That is the situation with Marijuana as long as it is illegal. In conclusion, my idea is that as far as harm is concerned, which should be the factor determining the morality of an object, the plant is not 'a killer' , it does not drive people to do unspeakable things (such as Flakka), and as for the sliver of people who experience some psychological distress (although no one bans alcohol for a 'vomit marked' night) do so because of a rare assemblage of characteristics: the person's psyche (such as undergoing a period of bipolarity or a family history of Psychosis or Schizophrenia), along side not knowing what the user is absorbing (imagine a young teen tasting alcohol for the first time, he has a genetic kidney problem which he does not know about, and being 'unlabeled' the person starts off with vodka or worse). Legality would avoid all this, it would give the people what they desire, it would slash off illegal trade of the plant, it would save government resources from being spent needlessly on the crusade against it by not having drug squads and courts and prisons wasting time hunting and sentencing and 'reforming', and it would boost the economy greatly as can be seen by recent states who took the brave effort to stop resting on 'it's been like that for quite a long time' and change for the better.

Naturally, there will be hiccups as the country adjusts, but I believe that with the right intentions, right methods and right consultations (such as these) Malta shall move ever onwards in shedding our old coats and be rationally mature about Marijuana as we've been with other much needed sectors. (Gay marriage, Equality and Equal pay, Divorce.. among others) Thank you for your time and consideration, Jon Snow  

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