Thursday, July 10, 2008

Should cannabis be legalized?

Cannabis has been used in Morocco for a long time. For its consumption, a tool called sebsi is used. The processed cannabis is called kief . This cannabis should be considered as a soft drug, but it is still considered as illegal to purchase it although people in the past used to smoke it in public without being arrested. Now with the crackdown on using and dealing in drugs of all sorts, people use it on the sly.

Morocco is one of the biggest producers of cannabis. The production area is in the north of the country which is the closest to Europe. Its production has made many drug dealers some of the richest in the country through money laundering in Morocco and Spain the country where it is sold and which also serves as a transit to other European countries. Now there is the start of a crackdown on the lands where it is produced and on the drug barons.

But Morocco has been under pressure from the EU to control cannabis production and sale by gangs, which has led to the arrest of drug dealers and many security personnel for facilitating drug trafficking. The most famous of them is Abdelaziz Izzou, who was serving as head of security at Morocco's royal palaces when he was arrested

Legalizing cannabis will have a disastrous effect on Morocco where the majority of its citizens are still young. It will lead just to its over-consumption with its dire consequences on their physical and mental health. There are other ways for people to feel euphoric by engaging in physical, mental and spiritual exercises without having to try a herb, addiction to which will tempt the young to use hard drugs. It’s like getting addicted to alcohol. For alcoholic, they need strong liquor around the hour, which of course has an effect on their health.

Instead of envisaging legalizing cannabis, efforts should be made to dissuade people from using it and to open rehabilitation centres. Alcohol at least doesn’t kill through “second-hand drinking”. Cannabis as a smoke can affect non-smokers who inhale it from its direct users.

As one variation of drug, leads to another, those using soft drugs will be tempted to use hard drugs. If cannabis is legalized, maybe in the future there will be calls to legalize other forms of drugs. Contrary to the view that legalizing cannabis can solve economic and security problems, it may lead to more problems, as there will be efforts to deal with the use of hard drugs resulting from using soft drugs.

Instead of allocating ( more) land for growing more cannabis as an economic activity, more of it should be allocated to grow more food in view of its current high prices and shortage. Food processing can also create more jobs without raising any ethical or social controversy. It can be easier to ask people to eat moderately (as food isn’t and addiction) than to ask people to abstain from cannabis or use it “healthily when it is available at the market like any other normal commodity.

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