Prohibition provides no protection for anyone, particularly not for children. It is easier for them to obtain cannabis than to get hold of cigarettes or alcohol. The only ID that a street dealer asks for is a £20 note.
While the brain is still developing, any psychoactive substance has the potential to cause harm. Although cannabis is one of the safest psychoactive substances available, it should not be used by children.
Also, prohibition has created the criminal market in which cannabis is grown intensively to produce higher levels of THC and the important balancing factor of CBD has been almost eliminated in some strains. Plants are often harvested early before the full range of cannabinoids, terpines and flavonoids have had time to develop.
Many instances have been reported of cannabis being sprayed with glass particles, mixed with fibreglass or other adulterants to increase weight or give the appearance of high quality.
These are the harms of prohibition, all of which would be eliminated under a regulated system.
A properly regulated system would mean cannabis was available only through licensed outlets for adults only. Personal cultivation licences would be available and healthcare services and advice provided without fear of arrest or prosecution.
Children and the vulnerable would be much better protected under regulation. Our political leaders know this perfectly well but they put their personal political advantage and their fear of tabloid headlines above the difficult task of grasping this nettle. Our prime minister, our home secretary, our drugs minister – simply, they prefer their careers to our children.