The case for policy reform in cannabis control
This is not a debate on the harms of cannabis. These are well-known. Acute effects include accidents with motor vehicles or machinery, and adverse reactions. In the longer term, cannabis has been associated with cognitive impairment and psychosis, although not consistently, and direct causality is more difficult to establish than for acute effects. It is possible that cannabis precipitates schizophrenia in those who are predisposed through a personal or family history. The relation is also 2-way, with cannabis being the most commonly used illicit drug in those with schizophrenia. Rather, this is a debate of how best to address the mental health consequences of cannabis. More specifically, it is a debate about overreliance on just one supply-side strategy, prohibition, at the expense of demand-side approaches, such as education, treatment, or prevention. This is of particular relevance to Canada as proposed legislation (Bill C-26) will place an even greater emphasis on law enforcement. This article discusses the origins and effectiveness of prohibition, and argues that we should apply the lessons from alcohol or tobacco control to cannabis.
The Canadian Journal of Psychiatry
© 2008 Canadian Psychiatric Association. Self-archiving of the author-manuscript version is not yet supported by this publisher. Please refer to the journal link for access to the definitive, published version or contact the author for more information.