Should we legalise marijuana?

September 30, 2014
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There’s a lot to be considered in the debate over the legalisation of marijuana – from organised crime and regulation models to personal freedoms and medicinal value. As the debate ranges on, you may have noticed the massive SBS publicity stunt with fake weed plants growing in Sydney’s Railway Square. We went down there to find out what some of Sydney’s youth reckon.

Callum, 19, Bachelor of Business, UTS

HJCKD: Should we legalise marijuana?

It really depends on the case. It’s one of those things that throughout history people say ‘oh it makes me feel good’, but there have been proven studies that it does show dramatic brain interference and damage. From a business perspective people have to learn that the prices will go up, there will be taxes on the marijuana, it will be proper pharmaceutical and not your typical backyard stuff, and they’d pay more than they would from the side guy.

HJCKD: As a business student, if they legalised it would you start selling it?

If I had a legal shop that would, why not? But it would be all government controlled.

Alyssa King, 22, Administrative Clerk

HJCKD: Should marijuana be legalised?

Alyssa King: I don’t think so, no.

HJCKD: Why not?

Because it’s just like any other drug that’s illegal… people say it comes from the ground or a plant and people say it’s natural, but it’s not. There’s still so many psychological and physical effects. And there’s so many studies on it… there are studies that are proving why it’s OK and why it’s not, but my course, I did psychology, and we did a lot of study on the effect of drugs on the brain. And especially with depression so prevalent, marijuana use over long periods of time can cause damage and synapses in the brain.

[If] you legalise it, it’s out of control so what stops someone from going to work stoned or high? What does that do for the economy?

HJCKD: What about medicinal marijuana?

I think in cases of chronically or terminally ill patients, then I can understand its use. Yeah I guess, but I think it should be very much recorded and tracked.

Nick, 18, Waiter

HJCKD: Do you think we should legalise marijuana?

Yeah.

HJCKD: Why?

It’s a natural plant; it’s not created or artificial.

HJCKD: What about all the people who think it’s bad for you?

It’s probably just the way they’re brought up with it – they have that image it’s a bad drug. It’s just a mental thing, they don’t really know.

HJCKD: What would you say to them?

Try it and then see what it’s like.

Steph, 18, Bachelor of Business, UTS

HJCKD: Should we legalise marijuana?

I’m kind of on the fence about it to be honest. If it’s for medical reasons I think yes, but I don’t think for everyday use kind of thing.

HJCKD: Do you think it would it make it easier to get?

No I don’t. I reckon if they legalise it it’s not going to be such a rare commodity that everyone wants, if the government controls it the price will just go up.

Victor Nikolic, 18, Bartender

HJCKD: Do you think we should legalise marijuana?

Yes.

HJCKD: Why?

Because it’s a herb and it grows in the ground. Nobody should tell me what I should be able to do to my body or not.

HJCKD: What about all the people who think it’s bad for you?

It’s their choice – don’t smoke weed.

Jess Chen, 21, Media Arts and Production, UTS

HJCKD: Should marijuana be legalised?

Absolutely, I think it should.

HJCKD: Why?

Well apparently Australia has the highest ratio of young people who smoke marijuana and I think with any kind of drug it’s so much better when it’s regulated – not necessarily legalised, but regulated, which means that there’s less of a black market. That’s just what happens when you ban something, you drive it underground so I think there would be less of a black market and it’d be more accessible for people who need it for medical reasons. I have chronic neck pain at the moment and it’s really awful pain, and I think it would be so much better if natural remedies like marijuana in the form of oils and stuff, if research was more available and more accessible. It’s not about getting high, it’s about a lot more than that I think.

HJCKD: Do you worry that if it's legalised it’ll make it worse for those who experience psychotic episodes?

Again, I don’t think it should be fully legalised, I think it should be regulated and monitored. I think with that it could open up more research to the adverse effects of marijuana and more research into psychosis and things like that. I think it’s the smoking of marijuana that’s really harmful, so research into extracting the THC into oils could be beneficial…

Lee Tuan, 19, Bachelor of Business, UTS

HJCKD: Do you think we should legalise marijuana?

I don’t think we should legalise marijuana.

HJCKD: Why?

People are messing up and doing stupid things after marijuana.

HJCKD: Should we legalise marijuana for medicine?

I’m not sure about that.

Sam Caldwell

Sam is a UTS journalism student with experience in radio and written online media. He enjoys writing opinion and news features, particularly the sort that makes other people angry.

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