Decriminalization Of Marijuana In Canada Argumentative Essays Examples

Type of paper: Argumentative Essay

Topic: Marijuana, Drugs, Cannabis, Canada, Medicine, Law, Plants, People

Pages: 8

Words: 2200

Published: 2020/12/13

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Marijuana is known to have a place in helping shape the historical aspects in Canada for more than one reason. It is even considered to have helped the country economically and politically from a very premature part of the nation’s existence. The first plant or crop was sowed in 1606 by a well-known plant scientist named Louis Hebert. Hebert had a plethora of knowledge involving uses of herbal and medicinal techniques that he brought with him when he moved from Nova Scotia to Canada. During this time period Cannabis (Marijuana) and hemp which comes from the marijuana plant had many uses in the world during this period mainly for the use in building ropes and sails for ships however it was also useful for many food and medicine experiments in much of Asia and Europe. During this time there was an overwhelming demand for the cannabis plant all through Europe, Russia, Spain and New England for the ability it had to produce ropes and sails that were much needed. The year that cannabis was introduced to the Canadian nation, the plant had already been used for thousands of years by others. Cannabis had four main uses fueling things, medicinal, eating and acquiring needed fiber. The seeds were the main food source that could be found from cannabis as they contained a large amount of important fatty acids. This could be useful for human and animal consumption. In the stalk of the plant resources like pulp and fiber were used for making rope as well as sails for naval and merchant ships. This part of the plant was also used for making clothes. In the 1900s another valuable use was found for the stalk as it was found these could help make explosives paper and plastic. Medicinally the flower of the plant was the most resourceful. Cannabis plants are separated by both male as well as female sexes, and there are plants that can be both or hermaphrodites. Plants considered female carry certain glands that are called trichomes. The cannabis found in these glands is what is used to make many different medicines.
Cannabis was considered such a needed commodity that the Britain and France went to extremes to ensure that the crop would thrive. Fines were considered payable through crop, people were punished if they grew too few, seeds were given out and the government gave bonuses to people who grew the plant. Although there were many awards for growing the plant harvesting it was tedious, many settlers decided to instead grow food crops. The settlers were more interested in this because it fed them and cannabis was a crop that could only offer a cash payout. However because the crop was needed so badly in 1688 Jean Talon who was the administrator of Quebec took drastic measures to ensure the crop would thrive. He forced the people of Canada to grow more crops by taking all of the resources they had for clothing and holding it hostage until they produced crops. The Canadians in had no way to produce or mend clothing without these materials and so they complied. The roots of many Canadian places remain tied to the cannabis plant as some still hold names that were based on the plant today. When Britain overtook Canada in 1763 they gave away thousands of bushels of cannabis hemp to the farmers however only 15 farmers were interested and the remaining hemp was wasted. Years later in the 1800s Britain again attempted to get the farmers in Canada to grow cannabis plants. They sent two highly motivated experts to the country and tasked them with teaching Canadians how to grow the crop with great results and to motivate more farmers to join in growing it but this did not end well. A combination of unusable seeds and very bad rain storms caused this endeavor to end without success. It took several more attempts and reports from newspapers to bring crop success. In the 1900s many places began a war on marijuana claiming it was a black and Chinese man’s drug that was being used to take advantage of white women and eventually rule the white race. By the end of World War II Cannabis growth had been prohibited in many places and growing crops was halted. Even though new laws were implemented the 1960s were a time of much partying as hippies were very prominent. Marijuana was widely used in this era even though it was not allowed (Larsen, 2014).

Marijuana/Cannabis/Hemp and its uses

The difference between hemp and Marijuana aka Cannabis is mostly dependent on the sex of the plant. Male plants are used for making hemp and do not have the chemical structure of the drug in there DNA. Female plants produce the chemical for the drug and therefore are marijuana plants. The cannabis derived from male plants has different strands of sativa that do not produce any intoxicating effects and therefore this plant has other uses. It can be used for fuels foods and medicinal purposes. Marijuana which is the slang for cannabis is found in the flowers of the female plant that produce different strains of sativa which produce the effect that gets people high. Different plants are known to produce different effects as well as have different uses. Some are used only to produce more seeds; these plants often have no other viable use. Some are used to produce clothing medicines fuel etc. These plants are not used for seeds or getting intoxicated. Last there is the plant that produces certain intoxication effects and it is used for getting high. The knowledge of cannabis coupled with the fact that it was prohibited through much of the recent history has incorporated new developments with the plant. The production that is found in most Cannabis today is higher quality with much more potency than the Cannabis that was used throughout early history. There are three known types of cannabis in existence today, Sativa C., Indica, and C. ruderalis. Each of these is slightly different than the other and this mostly depends on the place and way that the plant is grown. Though legal definitions vary this is the standard scientific definition of the cannabis plant (Bacca, 2014).

Why is Cannabis illegal

It is said that the laws imposed to ban marijuana were put into place 90 years ago because of racism fueled panic that swept many countries at the time. Science is credited with nothing when it comes to the reasons why people decided to make cannabis illegal at that time. While other countries are now realizing the values of this plant for medicinal and other purposes and easing up there laws there are worries that Canada is only battling against cannabis even more. In 1969 there was a brief glimmer that things might change as the drug use policies were reexamined. Later in 1972 what is known as the mysterious pot study took place. Research was done over a period of fifty five months to determine if the laws were excessive against marijuana use. The commissioner at the time did in fact deem the laws to be extremely excessive and recommended the decriminalization of cannabis altogether. As time has gone by there is even more of a backing for this decision as the studies have found that the criminalization of having and trafficking marijuana was not based on any scientific evidence suggesting that these laws should be in place. There was a time in history that the laws against drug use were nonexistent and you could even buy things like morphine and cocaine from the pharmacies. However racism and violence pointed toward drugs and other races using these drugs against white people as a result riots happened and new laws were passed. Soon marijuana was considered a drug as well. In 1911 the drug laws for getting caught with marijuana were not very harsh however more anti-Asian panic in the 1920s and by 1923 there were even harsher penalties including deportation. America and Canada were credited only with hysterical tactics in there antidrug policies and it was found there was never a real scientific reason for all of the drug laws. The prohibition is even said to be a twentieth century experiment. In the 1960s with the era of the hippies pot smokers became plentiful and with that more arrests as a solution the government imposed harsher penalties including life in prison for possession. However rather than deterring these people from smoking and possessing pot the numbers rose drastically from 431 in 1967 to over 8,000 in 1971. Much research was done uncovering nothing scientifically substantial in an attempt to ensure that cannabis remained prohibited including claims that the drug had many negative effects. More recent and scientifically backed studies do suggest that there are some negative risks however not as many that were claimed. Marijuana is linked to mental illness including schizophrenia however it is undetermined if these issues would have happened regardless of use. Dependence is another concern that has been established however it is found not to be a gateway drug. This study found that even with the two concerns that marijuana use is not a hazard to a person’s health. In fact for some medical conditions Marijuana use can be very beneficial medicinally (Allen, 2015).

Marijuana should be legalized

Advocates for marijuana in Canada can be found in even the most unlikely of places. The addiction center which is one of Canada’s largest mental health (CAMH) and addiction treatment places located in Toronto is one of the places that are pro marijuana use and sales. They say it should be legalized and sold with the same restrictions as alcohol. They believe that marijuana should be controlled for instance who is allowed to buy it (age limits) and from where however that it should be decriminalized. The institute made a statement in 2014 advocating for the use saying that the government should control the sales with many of the same restrictions as alcohol sales and use have. The director of the center Jürgen Rehm even defined what their expectations of legalization were to be and that is that adults should have access to marijuana. The reason behind his expectations he says is that the system in place now is not preventing harms associated with the use of marijuana. He believes that strict regulations and legalization will do this better than prohibition of the drug. There are some health risks that Rehm defined including respiratory illness, harm to underage smokers, impaired driving and lung cancer however these risks he says are better deterred with proper age and other limitations. Canada is reportedly one of the highest rating places in the world when it comes to how many people use marijuana even though it is illegal. Forty percent of Canadians report that they have at least used pot once during their life. Rehm believes that the prohibition of cannabis is causing other concerns for the youth’s safety as well. He says that pot being illegal pushes young people into a market of finding the drug on the street where they will in turn be exposed to other drugs that there dealer has that are even more harmful. The ages suggested for sales of the product by the center range from 19 to 21 which is similar to the restrictions for buying alcohol in the country. Another man Benedikt Fischer that is an expert on addictions emphasizes that the criminalization of marijuana is a leading reason so many people have a criminal record. This in turn has a devastating effect economically as these citizens have issues finding jobs and furthering their lives. The idea behind legalizing marijuana is that it would be easier to regulate in terms of deterrence as pricing the product higher would limit the use of marijuana. This would help the safety of the product as it would control the supply and limit the demand (Ubelacker, 2014).
For many years marijuana has not been a medicinal acceptation among health experts and researchers in Canada. However they are now studying the first trial which is on the effects of marijuana on patients who have osteoarthritis in there knee. This study is the first time the medical industry has taken marijuana into serious consideration for its medical benefits in years. An issue that has been ongoing is that Canadian medical establishments have not condoned Marijuana as a medication for illnesses even though many of their patients advocate that the marijuana use is very helpful with many different ailments. This changed in 2000 when the Supreme Court in Canada ruled that patients should have access to marijuana for medical uses. Health Canada was not pleased with this decision because they did not necessarily agree with the use of marijuana as a medicine for the ailments. They later decided it would be up to the doctors at their facility whether to prescribe marijuana as a treatment or not. The Canadian Medical association was not very happy with this decision and the main reason why it is that there is not a lot of research that has been done to test the effects of medical marijuana on different issues. The other medicines that are described by doctors have undergone many different studies and safe dosage amounts were determined for the drugs however marijuana does not have the same research to back it up. Another issue is that smoking marijuana does cause significant damage to the lungs which doctors are not comfortable with. As a result vaporized cannabis is being tested to help doctors feel more comfortable with the process. Health Canada has also been able to license over a dozen marijuana producers across Canada in an attempt to establish credibility of the drugs medicinal uses through research. The first licensed marijuana producer in Canada is Prairie Plant Systems and this incorporation will also be responsible for the first clinical trial of medical marijuana for medicinal use in patients. The main goal is to be able to provide clinical proof that marijuana has great medicinal uses for patients who are already using it and claiming it is helpful and who are suffering from things like arthritis (Freeman, 2015).
There are currently studies being done because evidence suggests that Cannabis has the ability to treat many different medical issues. There are indications that it is very helpful with people who suffer from chronic pain. Another serious list of conditions that cannabis has been shown to help is the many different neurological conditions that exist like MS (multiple sclerosis) and epilepsy which can cause serious seizures. The issue is that there is not enough research that shows if there are any negative side effects and to support the claims that the drug is helping so many. This is largely because of Marijuana’s prohibition which limits the scientific communities from conducting the necessary research. Experts have been able to show data that has been collected suggesting many concern about negative side effects are not substantial. For instance memory loss which is associated with use has shown to dissipate within a few days of stopping the use of marijuana. With so many hoops to jump through and approvals researchers report it is next to impossible to study the drug more thoroughly. Legalization would make the evidence a lot easier to procure (Trager, 2015).


The many uses of cannabis made this crop a high demand product in the early years even causing some farmers grief that chose not to become involved in growing it. It had uses for the navies, medicinal uses and even some of the forms were edible. History shows that the product was brought to Canada from other places for instance the British who had a huge hand in ensuring the growth of the product for making sails and ropes for their ships. However when other things came over with Asians like opiates concerns rose which are highly accredited to racism that drugs were being used to confuse and seduce white women. When riots and racism got out of control the government stepped in creating laws that banned the use and sales of many different substances including opiates and Marijuana. The bans on marijuana have stuck throughout time however the increased suggestion that the drug is medicinally effective has researchers pondering the real evidence behind the plants uses and contraindications. Some places throughout Canada have made medical use legal however there are still issues with doctors who do not feel comfortable prescribing usage of a drug that they do not know anything about. It is important for patients who can benefit from access to medicinal marijuana to be prescribed the proper amounts and dosage and without research on this doctors are at a standstill with prescribing it.


Allen, K. (2015). Why Canada banned pot (science had nothing to do with it) | Toronto Star. Retrieved 9 March 2015, from
Bacca, A. (2014). Whats the Difference Between Hemp and Marijuana?. Alternet. Retrieved 9 March 2015, from
Freeman, S. (2015). Canada's Marijuana Industry Just Took A Big Step Forward. The Huffington Post. Retrieved 9 March 2015, from
Larsen, D. (2014). The History of Cannabis in Canada – Part 1: A Crucial World Commodity | Cannabis Culture. Cannabis Culture. Retrieved 9 March 2015, from
Trager, R. (2015). Clinical trials high on list for medical marijuana community | Chemistry World. Retrieved 9 March 2015, from
Ubelacker, S. (2014). Pot should be legalized, regulated and sold like alcohol: addiction centre. The Globe and Mail. Retrieved 9 March 2015, from

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