(Original post by Dr. Bassman)
TIL I learnt 7.8% to 11.7% is a 50% increase. Either way, it's irrelevant. Here are my thoughts on the matter, take them or leave them. Firstly, I obviously don't believe cannabis is a dangerous drug. In fact, I think an increase in cannabis use is a good thing, depending on what 'usage' is considered to be. Heavy usage in my opinion is a bad thing, but an increase in weekly usage, or something like that is hardly a bad thing, though obviously this is a bit subjective. However, the other positive is that with more cannabis users there are less alcohol/'hard' drug users which can only be a positive thing.
Secondly, decriminalisation is different to legalisation. Decriminalisation just means that you can get away with it and so there's no reason for cannabis usage to go down since nothing has changed except that you won't be prosecuted. Legalisation would impose strict regulation however and so you can't argue that because cannabis use went up in Portugal legalisation doesn't work since there's still no control, portugal did not legalise any drugs. The Netherlands is a far better example, though still not perfect in my opinion. Hopefully Uruguay (iirc) will shine some light on it. Legalisation doesn't necessarily mean being allowed to sell it in supermarkets. Nothing is really 'fully' legal, everything has controls, from food to alcohol. With heroin for example, you could ensure that it was only available through prescription and that would bring users closer to the health services etc. and ensure that new usage decreases. In fact, IIRC they did a study in Switzerland, involving something similar to this and the rate of new users dropped massively (don't have the figures on me, you can believe me or not, up to you).
You have to also consider the fact that usage isn't the only important factor. Let me ask you a question. Would you prefer to have 1000 addicts using clean, regulated heroin, free from disease, crime, stigma etc. or 500 addicts using dirty needles, having to deal with dealers, more crime etc.? Personally I'd prefer the first, simply because, despite the fact that there are more addicts, society is actually far less damaged. Also remember that with the money previously used to prosecute drug users and dealers/traffickers, and the money gained from taxation you could massively decrease the harms from drugs and fund education, rehabilitation etc. and so it actually isn't unreasonable to assume that, not only would drug use be FAR safer, but drug use really could decrease, as has been found before.
Quite simply, people need to stop viewing the idea of legalisation as full-blown 'buy it from your cornershop' legalisation. Try and view it from a medical stand-point and you'll find that it seems like a less 'dirty' topic. Fundamentally I think people are just afraid of the thought of anyone being able to get class A drugs easily (which frankly is the situation right now for many people) but that's not what legalisation entails.