Australia Considering the Legalisation of Marijuana to Reduce Binge Drinking in Teens

Australia Considering the Legalisation of Marijuana to Reduce Binge Drinking in Teens

Australia Considering the Legalisation of Marijuana to Reduce Binge Drinking in Teens

THE head of Australia’s leading alcohol research body has called for marijuana to be legalised to reduce the harm of drinking.

Robin Room, director of the Centre for Alcohol Policy Research, says marijuana should be legalised under strict controls because the social harm associated with it was significantly less than from drinking.

“It makes sense to legalise marijuana in a controlled market,” he told the Herald Sun yesterday. “We are in a situation where we need to look ahead. I think we need to have the discussion and it makes a lot of sense in terms of, among others, cutting down government costs to have a fairly highly controlled legal (cannabis) market and, while we are at it, tighten up the legal market of alcohol in the same way we tightened up the market of tobacco.”

Prof Room, a leading academic at Melbourne University, is funded by the Department of Human Services.

In an ideal world, Prof Room said teens would not smoke marijuana or drink alcohol to excess.

But if an 18-year-old was going to use substances, he said they would likely land themselves in less trouble after using cannabis rather than bingeing on alcohol.

Teens were “better off” on a mixture of booze and marijuana rather than just pure alcohol in social settings, he added. Alcohol was more dangerous than cannabis because it had a closer association with aggression and violence, loss of co-ordination and impacts on work and family life, he said.

“Cannabis is not without harm but it’s substantially less than alcohol and tobacco in terms of social harm,” he said.

“If you are adding the cannabis to an equal amount of alcohol, then in some ways you’d be probably less likely to be aggressive but it’s a bad idea to add it on if you want to drive a car.”

Prof Room said if marijuana were legalised, among the measures to control the use should be “state sellers” and “state stores” where sales were regulated. It should not be sold in supermarkets nor advertised on TV or at sporting matches.

While Prof Room acknowledged many people would be “surprised” and even “bothered” by his stance, the statistics backed him up.

The controversial proposal comes as Melbourne continues to battle booze-fuelled violence, and alcohol-related hospital admissions soar for men and women.



  1. Chris Theo says

    This is really a stupid idea. Marijuana is proven to negatively impact brain development in teenagers. Any such decision fails to take that into account.

  2. Chris Theo says

    Doesn't explain the attraction to alcohol then. There's underlying social causes to that kind of damaging behaviour.

  3. Chris Theo says

    Delicate balance though, gotta make them smart enough to be employable and tax paying citizens but suitably compliant to succumb to propaganda. By the by, did you see who won the last season of "The biggest loser"? :)

  4. says

    show me the evidence you talk out of your arse mate you to society are deemed a repeater, you read 1 thing then repeat it to everybody else like you know what your talking about. i challenge you to find me the science document that says it impacts brain development. the only source you will find are from the 1930's when science first started out. well just to bring you to the new age …
    Understanding the science of marijuana began in the mid-1960s with the identification of THC (delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol) as marijuana’s main active ingredient. Twenty years later, scientists identified the sites in the brain and body where marijuana acts and called them cannabinoid (CB) receptors.

    Scientists then discovered the body’s own natural chemicals—anandamide and 2-AG (2-arachidonoyl glycerol)—which also act on CB receptors. These chemicals (called cannabinoids), along with their receptors, make up the endocannabinoid (EC) system.

    The EC system is found in many areas of the brain, which explains why it affects so many different body functions. Cannabinoids exert their influence by regulating how cells communicate—how they send, receive, or process messages.

  5. says

    some of the smartest people in the world smoked cannabis so now prove to me how it dumbs people down and effects there brain negatively go educate your self because most of the technology around you today including the internet was created by men who smoked cannabis so if you look down on a plant that saves many peoples lives of pain then your a complete mug. i think saving someone from a life of pain is the best gift anybody can recieve and due to propaganda your mind controlled, hemp is carbon neutral so it can also save the planet from excess heat.

  6. says

    this is an excellent idea, Alcohol is proven to have an EXTREMELY negative impact on brain development in teenagers. Any argument against this proposed change fails to take this into account, and is based on biased opinions.

  7. Noah Alyce Roads says

    but it does have withdrawal and people do develop a tolerance to it just like any other drug

  8. Noah Alyce Roads says

    Jay Davies Some of the most successful people do hard drugs..and yet there is proof it's bad stuff for you. So prove to me marijuana causes absolutely 0 harm. It does! People focus on "0 deaths" but pay no attention to "lots of harm". A few "successful" or "intelligent" people who have smoked that stuff do not represent the common majority. The common majority are regular folks that ones we SHOULD be protecting instead of making a "shining minority" the example!

  9. Chris Theo says

    I love how due to my comment I'm immediately labelled as a repeater and assumed that I'd be anti legalisation. You couldn't be more wrong, you shouldtry and avoid those stereotypes mate and think for yourself.

  10. Adi Harris says

    normal marijuana users dont get withdrawals, only those who develop a MENTAL addiction, which has nothing to do with the drug. there are more people addicted to porn than pot

  11. says

    Dr Leslie Iversen of Oxford University’s department of pharmacology, found many “myths” surrounding marijuana use, such as extreme addictiveness, or links with mental illness or infertility are not supported by science.

    He also found cannabis is an inherently “safe drug” which does not lead to cancer, infertility, brain damage or mental illness. Legalisation of the drug for medical conditions should be considered, he says.

  12. says

    Noah Alyce Roads "The common majority are regular folks that ones we SHOULD be protecting instead of making a "shining minority" the example!"

    NO that is where you are wrong Noah. Cannabis users DONT NEED PROTECTING by do-gooders like yourself. Most long term users show little or no residual side effects and the VAST majority do not end up with mental illness The govt has kept the medicinal benefits from the people for too long. As a social drug cannabis is way safer than alcohol AND the current wave of synthetics on the market. If you wanna do some real good go campaign against these KILLERS.

    "…. The author, a fellow of the prestigious Royal Society, found cannabis was far less toxic than other drugs and had “an impressive record” compared with heroin, cocaine or tobacco and alcohol.
    His study showed that the active element of cannabis, tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), which made users high, had a lot of potential as a safe drug to treat Aids patients and people suffering severe pain.
    He also found “stoned” drivers were less dangerous and able to co-ordinate than people who were drunk. “By any standards, THC must be considered a very safe drug both acutely and on long-term exposure,” he writes.

  13. says

    Noah Alyce Roads Here is some more for you Noah:
    Dr. Stuart Gitlow, the president of the American Society of Addiction Medicine and a member of the American Medical Association Council on Science and Public Health, says doctors are reluctant to recommend medical marijuana to a child because it may come back to haunt them. If the child later develops a mental health condition or gets in a car crash, the doctors will be blamed and won’t have any way to defend themselves, he said. (SELF INTEREST AND SELF PROTECTION)
    But several pediatricians in the United States believe the drug has a healing power that is worth investigating.

  14. Debbie Luttrell says

    I know a lot of young people who drink to excess on weekends and are doing so much damage to there bodies and those who smoke pot and drink , those people after smoking drink very little.. Alcohol is poison where as Marijuana is not.. marijuana is proven to repair damaged brain cells not kill them and is medicine for a lot of people with a lot of ailments. I lived with an alcaholic and I lived with a pot smoker the alcoholic got angry and aggressive every time he got drunk and the pot smoker just wanted to make love all night, which one would you prefer?

  15. says

    It's about bloody time. The amount of damage legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco do to the lives of many Australians is staggering. Every week we hear horror stories of young alcohol fueled drivers killing all there mates, drunk fights erupting causing injury and death, tens of thousands of deaths caused by tobacco and alcohol related illnesses, alcohol fueled domestic violence against women and children and many many more.

    When was the last time you heard of anybody dying from any residual effect of marijuana smoking? That's right, never. The only logical step is to legalise marijuana, and tighten laws on alcohol and tobacco.

  16. says

    Swing and a miss Chris. How about you actually read some of the reports which have been released in medical and scientific journals around the globe. EVERY SINGLE PIECE OF RESEARCH says weed is mostly harmless (especially in comparison to alcohol). There isn't a single study which says otherwise or even ranks them equal.

    In fact, 99% of studies put alcohol as being more dangerous than LSD (acid), MDMA (ecstasy), Psilocybin (magic mushrooms) and pretty much every popular recreational drug. The only common drugs which rank worse than Alcohol in these studies are Heroin, Crack and Ice. They even class Cocaine as being less destructive than alcohol.

  17. Peter Hayden says

    I can see good and bad sides to this, as a social weed smoker myself I'm all for it the high you get from marijuana is more of a sleepy, cruisy relaxed high as opposed to drinking which like this article suggests can lead to an angry, defensive and abusive one. weed also has properities that help benefit the mind and reduce the onset of alsizmers disease whereas alcohol destroys it.

    however the down side I can see comming from all this is because things have become so pollitically correct in recent years what happens if we open the door and legalise weed where does it stop and where is the line drawn and what will the domino effects of such a decision be? it legalising of a drug was to happen you'll have crazies lining up around the corner wanting heroine, cocaine, extacy legalised to just to name a few also it will send religious communties into a frenzy damming us all to hell (lol) :P however I think ive made my point.

  18. Andrew Fitzeses says

    I disagree on your last point mate as by making weed illegal I believe is more likely to for people (especially teens) to believe that stronger drugs aren't so bad. While alcohol and tobacco remain legal when people try weed and find it to be such a benign high it is easy to see why people might think that other illegal substances might be as harmless, when tobacco and alcohol are so clearly detrimental to physical and mental health yet remain legal.

  19. Ryan Drechsler says

    trying not to be offensive, but did you read the article? the idea he presents behind legalizing it is: the statistics behind it show its a much safer and socially beneficial drug compared to alcohol, where as coke heroin etc are not. so while people might want it and they already do, they cant provide any logical beneficial reasoning's (that i know of) to make it legal.

  20. Ryan Drechsler says

    ohh really Chris Theo?, im not sure if your aware. but alcohol is illegal to sell to minors, and im assuming pot will be also… and as far as your proof goes its probably as shady as some of the opposite claims of marijuana being a super healing drug. i mean if you can provide a well written pier reviewed article not funded by the government id love to read it. just googling marijuana damages teens brains i found plenty of contradicting things one being

    so yeah, balls in your court but im guessing u just read that shit once and called it a day as fact….

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