The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNDOC) just released the 2016 World Drug Report, which states that cannabis is still the most widely-used social substance, and because of changing perceptions, it is also becoming more and more approved of by the masses.
According to High Times’ (http://www.hightimes.com/read/un-world-drug-report-shows-cannabis-use-and-acceptance-continues-grow) analysis of this report , over 183 million people used cannabis in 2014. Men are also three times more likely than women to use cannabis, and about five percent of the adult population admitted to trying a drug of some kind in 2014.
The report also noted that drug-related deaths are still a problem, particularly with heroin. More heroin deaths occurred in 2015 than in previous year and this has continued to increase according to The National Institute of Drug Abuse. Many people have checked into treatment facilities for abuse of heroin and painkillers. Thus, opiates still pose the biggest threat to health overall.
Also highlighted was the fact that 18 percent of prisoners are in jail for drug-related crimes. If cannabis prisoners no longer had to serve time, this would drastically reduce the amount of people imprisoned in general. Additionally, prison was shown by the report to be ineffective in correcting the behavior of prisoners, as many of those in prison for drug-related crimes were repeat offenders.
Also mentioned in the report was the fact that much drug use was from poor and impoverished areas. This highlights the fact that when substances are on the black market, criminals prey on impoverished communities where individuals already have problems.
It is clear from all this that the best course of action would be to legalize cannabis. Cannabis use is on the up, and so is acceptance of the substance. Plus, legalizing could help with a lot of other problems, like overcrowded prisons and opiate abuse. Hopefully, the next few years will see a serious shift in the legal status of cannabis world-wide.