I love you Maryjane. Debate report by Martina Correani

Should cannabis be legalized in Italy? Since 2013, the Italian Parliament has been debating on whether to legalize it or not. A law has been proposed, but it has not been approved yet since our political leaders have not managed to find any common ground on the issue. However, we tried to answer this question in class by discussing both the pros and cons.

The group in favour brought to light the link between cannabis, mafia and terrorists which, in my opinion, is Italy’s main problem. They argued convincingly that cannabis legalization means regulating the market in order to fight against the mafia and its illegal business, but this does not mean encouraging people to use cannabis. Another point argued by the for team was the need for a safer market for young people who often come into contact with  dealers and criminals. They also focused on the health benefits of cannabis, as it has been used as medical treatment for a very long time, also by ancient populations. Research has shown that cannabis is less addictive than legal and easy-to-find substances such as alcohol, caffeine or tobacco. It is also incredibly useful to treat and prevent diseases such as Alzheimer’s, glaucoma, anxiety, depression, post-traumatic disorders, cancer, Parkinson, muscle spasms caused by multiple sclerosis and nausea or weight loss caused by HIV. All these effects are provided by its two main cannabinoids, which are THC and CBD.

The for team explained that in Italy, medical cannabis is usually prescribed by doctors only when standard treatments are ineffective and patients start to suffer from their side effects. However, it is not easy to get hold of it and it’s very expensive. They concluded by mentioning some places in European and beyond  where cannabis is legal or partly legal such as The Netherlands, Spain, Portugal, Washington DC, Colorado, Oregon, Uruguay and North Korea. All the speakers provided evidence for their thesis and successfully held the attention of the audience. They also proposed a solution for Italy, namely, to legalize cannabis by establishing a State monopoly for it and to control the market for marijuana through licensed shops in order to prevent crime.

The group against seemed less clear in its argumentation, maintaining that cannabis is not good for our health and leads to addiction. They stated that legalization would induce people to use it and that market regulation would encourage dealers and criminal organisations. They added that the consumption of light drugs always leads people to start using hard drugs. They argued that, in Italy, only medical use should be allowed because using cannabis for therapeutic purposes is necessary while using it just for recreational purposes is not. Finally, they stated that society should convince young people that cannabis is not good for their health and they mentioned the suicide of Giovanni Bianchi. This team didn’t appear to provide enough evidence to support their thesis and didn’t manage to convince the audience of their views. In my opinion, their argumentations were quite superficial, and they were less combative than the first group.

During question time, one of our co-students asked the against group to think about how legalizing cannabis would improve the quality since crops would be controlled, thereby avoiding dangerous mixtures with other substances which are really bad for our health. One of the teammates answered that people should not trust dealers even if the market for marijuana does become regulated. Another student asked the group in favour about other countries where cannabis is legal.

Unsurprisingly, the group in favour of the motion won.

Personally, I totally agree with their thesis. Every year, millions of people die because of  legal substances like alcohol and tobacco but nobody talks about that, while legalizing marijuana would be good for medical treatments and for the economy of our country.

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