Will marijuana legalization lead to other drugs gaining legal status?

Published Jun 9, 2019 11:01 a.m. ET
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

Now that cannabis dispensaries have opened right across Canada, and marijuana legalization has become a much more popular and well-supported view, a lot of people are beginning to question the reasoning behind decriminalization in the first place. Those who find themselves struggling with this unanswered dilemma are also wondering whether this shift in awareness will eventually lead to the decriminalization of other common drugs and substances. Unfortunately, there is no way to see into the future and know for sure, but there are several aspects to this question that we do have the answers to which may help you to decide how to feel about this possibility going forward.

How marijuana legalization helped shift restrictions on growing hemp plants used to create CBD products

When cannabis plants and marijuana use were first banned in both the US and Canada, the federal government also chose to ban the growing and processing of hemp plants. As research into the produced components of each species shone some light on the vast difference between the two, the restrictions surrounding hemp plants began to fade. Many areas of Canada have allowed hemp plants for longer than legal cannabis has been available, but the United States did not change their laws on the Federal level until just this past year.

A lot of people are concerned about the potential that marijuana legalization may have on other substances being decriminalized because they noticed a new influx of CBD products into the Canadian market alongside cannabis products. The truth is that these items have been allowed for a very long time as they have purely medicinal and health benefits and are not consumed for recreational purposes. The decriminalization of one element may not necessarily translate to others following suit, and in this case, both marijuana and hemp have proven health, wellness, and environmental benefits, but other substances are still a little way off from being researched enough to know their possible effects.

How marijuana legalization has helped to improve the safety of cannabis consumption

At one time, stoners and medical patients alike were forced to seek out cannabis products on the black market, which is unregulated, and not entirely trustworthy. The fact that the substance was illegal kept it in the hands of black-market dealers who would often sell other drugs to make ends meet, leaving customers uncomfortable and sometimes even in dangerous situations just to get a few buds. Also, if they were successful in safely obtaining some type of marijuana product, there would be no guarantee that the quality of the said product would be good.

One study that was conducted by Global News in 2018 showed that over 20 samples of black-market cannabis tested positive for contaminants like mold and even fecal matter which can be harmful to the consumer's lungs and overall health. Marijuana legalization introduced strict regulations which avoid this and offers a safe and knowledgeable staff and space who can provide tested products that are held to high standards.

How marijuana legalization has influenced the research and study into the efficacy of other substances and elements AKA drugs

When cannabis was prohibited, it was incredibly difficult to find specialists who were willing to dedicate the time and money needed to get access to permission to study the plant. Even more difficult was the task of finding investors to back this type of research. Now that we have seen the vast array of benefits that can be obtained by using this plant in its various forms, strains, and doses, it has inspired a more in-depth look into the efficiency of other illicit substances. More specifically, psychedelics like mushrooms and LSD, which have also shown the ability to alleviate the symptoms of mental health conditions like PTSD and other trauma-related brain injuries. Though these elements remain illegal, the interest and ability to look past the restrictions set out by our federal government has inspired a shift in the perspective of medical professionals and researchers everywhere.

Why this may lead to other drugs becoming legal

Though perspectives of addictive and non-addictive illegal substances remain overall negative, the research shows a dramatic improvement in the overall health of consumers when they have access to safe and regulated products, and every overdose or contaminated interaction is a significant drain on our emergency services. This has led the federal government to investigate the possibility of decriminalization, and this journey started after the introduction of safe use drug sites that have helped to save hundreds of lives and thousands of tax dollars. Even if all of these elements proved to have absolutely no medicinal qualities, the numbers show that it might be safer, more cost effective, and just better all-around to decriminalize many of the currently illegal substances, and these are all things that must be considered before deciding whether or not you might support such a drastic change to regulation.

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