2. With considered reference to scholarly literature on the subject, assess the advantages and disadvantages of Cannabis Legalisation in Australia.
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Gerber, R.J. (2004) ‘History of Demonizing Drugs’. In Legalizing Marijuana: Drug Policy Reform and Prohibition Politics, Westport, CT: Praeger, pp. 1-16.
Hall, W. (1997) ‘The Recent Australian Debate About the Prohibition on Cannabis Use’, ...view middle of the document...
Each state and territory has varying policy on Cannabis, With SA and the ACT having decriminalised possession of small amounts of Cannabis. New South Wales, Queensland, Victoria and Tasmania's respective law's state the possession and use of cannabis is a criminal offence. As it stands, recreational use of marijuana in Australia is among the highest in the western world with 15% of the population between 15 and 64 having used marijuana in 2009 (Siegel 2012). Marijuana is the most commonly used drug in Australia.
Calls for full marijuana legalisation and decriminalisation have been regularly occurring for decades, from the Nimbin hemp embassy activists, to the 1978 to the NSW Joint Parliamentary Committee Upon Drugs. More recently institutions such as the Australian Medical Association (Mills 2012) and Australia21 (ABC 2012), a think-tank, both called for cannabis legalisation nationwide.
Legalisation of cannabis has its advantages and disadvantages to Australia on a social, legal and economic level. Cannabis has potential for commercial use, as well as health benefits . Legalisation also aids in curbing criminal activities. However cannabis is also seen as a gateway drug as well as having adverse effects on health
Cannabis has had a commercial use dating back to colonial Australia. Botanist Sir Joseph banks brought Hemp, a non psychoactive variant of cannabis with the first fleet, with which he created large plantations of hemp harvested for its strong fibres, used as a strategic means to supply the British Navy with sails and cordage and lines for ships. With cannabis's legalisation in Australia, a new industry can be created which will provide a commercial use for society, stimulating local and state economies.
Hemp fibre, as mentioned above, has modern uses in cordage as well as paper, textiles, clothing and biodegradable plastics. Already many commercial car manufacturers use hemp plastic in car components (Onion 2012). Hemp can also be used in construction, with 'hempcrete' being a strong and reliable alternative to regular concrete.
Hemp can be used as alternative material to cane and corn in the making of bio fuels. With hemp yield being 25 tonnes per hectare, greater than the US corn yield of 8.6 tonnes for corn, it provides a more cost effect alternative to corn in bio fuel making.
Furthermore, hemps traits provide a crop that is an excellent food source. It requires semi humid conditions for growth, it is fairly drought resistant and does not require any pesticides in the growing process (British Columbia 1999). As a food itself, hemp contains essential amino and fatty acids the body needs and it is a high source of protein. It provides an alternative to other fairly scarce and undersupplied foods such as fish (British Columbia 1999).
Hemp production, which can occur through Cannabis legalisation can provide an excellent advantage to Australia's economy. Australia already has a global competitive advantage in...