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The Lancet Advocates Decriminalization and Regulation of Marijuana


January 1996

An editorial in the November 11 issue of the British medical journal The Lancet makes a stong statement advocating the decriminalization and regulation of marijuana (Editorial, "Deglamorising Cannabis," The Lancet, November 11, 1995, p. 1241).

The editorial argues that even though long-term use of marijuana is not harmful, governments are scared of decriminalization and legalization proposals:

Leaving politics aside, where is the harm in decriminalising cannabis? There is none to the health of consumers, and the criminal fraternity who depend for their succor on prohibition would hate it. But decriminalization of possession does not go far enough in our view. That has to be accompanied by controls on source, distribution, and advertising, much as happens with tobacco. ... Sooner or later politicians will have to stop running scared and address the evidence: cannabis per se is not a hazard to society but driving it further underground may well be.

[For a copy of this editorial, contact the NewsBriefs office. To contact The Lancet, write to 42 Bedford Square, London, England, WC1B3SL or contact the office of the U.S. edition at Williams and Wilkins, 428 East Preston Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, 410-528-4000.]