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Marijuana has been a very controversial issue Many speculate that changes in the laws concerning the possession of marijuana see Appendix A are long overdue and our society can no longer postpone this decision Three possible changes to the law legalization for medical purposes decriminalization for medical or general reasons and full legalization are being considered According to an Angus Reid survey in October public support for legalization is swelling in Canada A slim majority of Canadians 51 now believe that smoking marijuana should not be a criminal offence up from 39 in 1987 83 agree that it should not be a criminal offence if used for medicinal purposes only Nonetheless marijuana remains illegal while other more dangerous drugs both addictive and harmful remain legal Statistics Canada reports that 744 of Canadians over 15 drink alcohol about 70 drink coffee and some 25 smoke tobacco Alcohol caffeine and tobacco are highly addictive and to some extent mind-altering hence if these three are legal it only stands to reason that marijuana should likewise be legalized The medicinal uses of marijuana are being seen as a legitimate claim for the legalization of marijuana Judge Patrick Sheppard the Ontario judge who presided over the Terry Parker epileptic case of 1997 ruled that marijuana was therapeutically beneficial that Parker be exempt from further charges concerning marijuana and that Parkers seized marijuana plants were to be returned to him Specifically Judge Sheppard concluded that the smoking of marijuana had a therapeutic effect in the treatment of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapeutic drugs used to treat cancer and AIDS patients intraocular pressure from glaucoma muscle spasticity from spinal cord injuries or multiple sclerosis and muscular dystrophy migraine headaches epileptic seizures and chronic pain Smoking marijuana has also been proven to have a therapeutic effect in combating weight loss in AIDS patients It relaxes the patient eliminating pain and brings upon hunger and thirst obviously leading to the patients
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