Understanding the Global Impact of Cannabis Legalization

Cannabis, the most widely used illicit drug globally, is at the center of an evolving conversation on legalization and its societal impact. An estimated 192 million people worldwide used cannabis in 2018, with approximately 90 million Europeans having tried it at least once in their lifetime. This prevalence has sparked significant debate regarding the drug’s social and public health implications.

Understanding the Global Impact of Cannabis Legalization

3.3. Health Implications. In the U.S., following the legalization of medical marijuana, a notable increase in cardiac mortality rates was observed. This development coincided with a reduction in opioid prescribing, especially in regions with legal cannabis dispensaries. However, these areas also experienced an increase in tobacco sales[PMC8754285].

Background: Cannabis Social Clubs (CSCs) are a unique phenomenon. They are private clubs that cultivate cannabis for non-commercial distribution among adult members, aiming to circumvent the black market. These clubs, inspired by models in Spain, exist in various countries but differ significantly in their operational realities.

CSCs now function in several countries, each under distinct legal and socio-political frameworks. This paper details the legal frameworks and self-regulatory practices of CSCs in Spain, Belgium, and Uruguay[PMC6747067].

Federal Perspective: In the United States, marijuana remains classified under Schedule I of the Controlled Substances Act, indicating a high potential for abuse and no accepted medical use. This classification aligns marijuana with substances like heroin.

Cannabis is not just a topic of medical discourse; its use is deeply intertwined with societal and educational outcomes. Longitudinal studies indicate that regular cannabis use, particularly during adolescence, is linked to increased risks of school dropout and truancy.

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Despite federal prohibition, the U.S. has witnessed a gradual shift towards liberalization, with states experimenting with decriminalization and medical access laws since the 1970s. The complexity of cannabis policies across states reflects a nation grappling with the drug’s legal status and its implications[PMC9490941].

Marijuana, also known as cannabis, weed, pot, or dope, is derived from the Cannabis sativa plant. It contains over 100 cannabinoids, including THC, which is psychoactive, and CBD, which is not. The physical characteristics of marijuana vary, often appearing as a dry, shredded mix of green, brown, or gray plant material. Its common consumption method is smoking, resembling the use of tobacco.

The legalization and regulation of cannabis continue to be a topic of significant debate, reflecting a balance between medical, social, and legal considerations.

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