I just watched a local NZ talk-show, topic : Synthetic Cannabis
The ‘panel’ was made up of : the host, an addiction worker, a law centre lawyer & a health worker. The main issue was the negative effects these ‘legal highs’ are having in communities (esp. Maori & Pacific.. where apparently it is at higher level than the ‘mainstream’ ?) the following ‘opinions’ were raised..examples: (paraphrased)
1) “we need to get these DRUGS out of the communities”
2) “it’s not just youth, BUT all age-groups using them, including grand-parents..” (but the main concerns were around underage youth)
3) “some people use both ‘the plant’ & synthetic & they are both ‘frying their brains’..”
4) “we need to get ‘public champions’ to take this to politicians.. to change the law (back to prohibition ?) !”
5) “black-market gangsters are selling these DRUGS to underage youth” (similar to natural ‘illegal’ cannabis)
6) “a student was expelled from school for using synthetic cannabis.. he said ‘its legal just like alcohol/tobacco’ & thought it OK”
I actually found that many of these ‘opinions’ were somewhat naive (from educated people who work in the field).. effectively saying that PROHIBITION should be reintroduced as a ‘final solution’ to this issue. Ignoring the obvious issues.. it’s NOT just youth using these drugs & blanket bans will only drive them underground to the black-market. Also that there is a market for these ‘alternative drugs’ (besides alcohol & tobacco) & this cannot be just swept under the carpet AGAIN.
The most obvious thing, I found unbelievable, was one panelist comparing Natural Cannabis (plant) to these synthetics (as if there is no real difference).. speaking from personal experience (I tried synthetic cannabis once only.. never again) They are not the same ! Synthetic cannabis left me feeling irritable & anxious for a day after the ‘experience’. Natural cannabis does not have this ‘hangover’ I am NOT saying that natural cannabis is ‘harmless’ BUT in my opinion/experience it is much less harmful.
Surely; EDUCATION (not scare-mongering !), Harm minimisation, health care & rehab. would be better options.. than current DRACONIAN punitive regime.. (arrest, prosecute & punish) ?