When I was listening to talk-back radio recently, a caller’s comments stuck in my mind (rang true).. on the matter of NZ drug legislation, I often hear the expression ‘Harm Minimisation’ as the PREFERRED option. BUT the reality is that we have Harm MAXIMISATION !
This is my rationale for this :
1) Prof. David Nutt’s list of Harm has; Alcohol at the top (most harmful to society).. this is Legal & widely available/promoted
2) Tobacco is at No. 6 (ahead of cannabis at No. 8) but the more harmful is legal, the less harmful is illegal. The fear-mongers say cannabis is more carcinogenic, BUT there are 1000s of deaths related to tobacco, deaths directly attributed to cannabis.. none officially reported !
3) The recently passed ‘NZ Psychoactive substance act 2013’ now allows SYNTHETIC cannabinoids, deemed to be of low-level harm, to be sold in a strictly regulated market.. BUT Natural Cannabis (still on the list of Illegal Drugs, covered by the Mis-use of Drugs act 1975) is not included & still banned/prohibited. Guess which ‘substance’ is considered by many authorities, to be the more harmful ?
4) Prohibition creates the black-market & gangsters (who will sell to anyone with cash, including kids) whilst a strictly regulated (R18) market for Natural Cannabis is outlawed.. which would see this drug ONLY available to Adults over 18 years.. (similar to Holland etc.)
5) Zero-tolerance makes cannabis a ‘forbidden fruit’ that makes it more attractive to a rebellious youth.. BUT they say prohibition is keeping it from the hands of these rebels (B-S)
6) Instead of putting addicts & others suffering from their drug use, into treatment.. they drag them through the courts & many end up in Jail(often making them worse) !
7) In increasing numbers, of other western nations are recognising that Cannabis DOES have medicinal properties.. BUT in Aotearoa/NZ it is still deemed a Schedule 1 narcotic (with no known medicinal use) & people who could genuinely gain therapeutic relief from it, are all but being denied this, by its classification in an outdated regime.
I would welcome anyone to challenge my assertions !
Who is benefitting from maximising the harm ? (maybe those who don’t wish to see law reform or genuine Harm MINIMISATION ??