At the Street festival, on saturday.. there was also some reasonable discussion & even some genuine questions.. which I did my best to address:
1) a young girl (early teens ?) ask me which I thought was worst : Tobacco or Cannabis?
I told her that in her youth, she is better off avoiding both. She went on to say, that both her parents used both & she thinks Tobacco is the worst & cannot understand why it is legal, but not cannabis.
A very smart response from one so young. I explained, that’s just the way the law is, but the evidence is; Tobacco does cause many more deaths & harm. I explained it is part of the reason why WE (in the movement) are trying to change the law.. (R18 only). She seemed to agree with my reasoning.
2) A lady asked why I would want to legalise cannabis, if it will allow ‘everyone to smoke it’ (enough issues with the current situation & the legal drugs).
I explained that I had been to Amsterdam & seen an alternative to prohibition. I told her that I understand that whilst there was a spike in use, at the beginning.. the ‘novelty’ quickly wore off & now Holland has lower rates of use per capita than NZ. (she did not look convinced) BUT I told her it is easily researched on the internet. I explained that the majority of people in their famous ‘coffeeshops’ are actually foreign tourists, not Dutch people. The dutch are actually ‘over all the hype’.
3) Another lady who was staunchly opposed asked me ‘why I would want to legalise a drug that made so many people violent ?’
I was a bit perplexed & replied most people I know who use cannabis do not get violent (that sounds like a line from ‘reefer madness’). She replied I’ve seen many people who do. I asked are you sure is was ‘natural herb’ they are smoking.. maybe it was ‘meth’ (P) or maybe another synthetic ‘legal high’ ?? she was adamant that it was ‘marijuana’.. unfortunately I just had to reaffirm that I could not believe it was just ‘herb’.. not in my experience.
I explained that I had heard of studies, were out of 100 people only a handful, actually had negative reactions. I said surely it would be better to treat the people who have negative issues with cannabis, rather than banning the vast majority who use it with little or no issues. She still did not seem convinced.
4) Several elderly people asked what we knew about Medicinal use.. we were happy to discuss recent changes occurring in USA, Canada, EU etc. & that these countries are already allowing : Oils, extracts & the ‘raw herb’ to be prescribed for many illnesses & conditions. One lady said she had heard of a person, who was getting it in NZ for epilepsy. I said YES it is happening here, BUT is extremely difficult to get approval, unlike overseas, where these oils etc. are being prescribed by the GP doctors, to patients who benefit; (even the ‘raw’ herb) as a pain-killer. I told some that smoking it was not the only option !
It was good to engage with these people but, it still feels like its only the ‘first few steps on the 100 mile.. long march’ to FREEDOM
It did seem that many people just cannot see past the prohibition regime in NZ.. one young guy (about 18) said to me “do you really believe the law will ever change, Bro’ ?” I said “not, unless we try !”