The big news of the week; the Green party health spokesperson, had her Medicinal cannabis & other matters bill, pulled from the Aotearoa/NZ parliamentary ballot. This means that at least the debate can begin. I read that the Assoc. health minister (Govt.) has called he bill “unworkable” & reportedly says it’s encroaching on full cannabis decrim./regulation (and.. Is that a bad thing, Minister?).
I already hear the ‘prohibitionist’ warming up with tales of woe & ‘hippies lying about all day, smoking weed & giving it to kids’ etc.
The one thing this will hopefully do, if it does not pass the 1st reading, is get the issues out on the table, so we can at least dispel much of the myth, around it:
1) ‘medical marijuana’: marijuana is a slang name & should never be used in a medicinal, therapeutic or scientific context. Only the correct name; Cannabis. They even go so far as to call CBDs (extracted compounds) ‘marijuana’. Recently the UK Lancet (medical journal) reportedly printed a peer-reviewed study, that confirmed that ‘YES, CBDs often relieve the symptoms of epilepsy & other neurological disorders’. Therefore it should be removed from the schedule #1 list, which states ‘most open to harm & NO KNOWN medicinal value’
2) that the end of prohibition, would see the sky fall & the end of the world as we know it; well it may do the second thing (change the world), but in many jurisdictions were cannabis is already regulated, the sky has NOT fallen.. I doubt it will here either
3) the gateway theory; this was once called ‘the stepping stone’ theory. It was alleged that almost everyone, who smoked cannabis (class C), then opened the gateway & jumped to the next drug (eg LSD or Ecstasy ? class B) then onto HARD DRUGS (opiates, meth. etc. – Class A). This was widely disputed in favour of; It is the black-market dealers, who open the gateway, by offering these other drugs to people who use cannabis
4) cannabis use, inevitably leads down the road to INSANITY; whilst I accept that a ‘mind-altering substance’ has the capability to alter brain chemistry, is this a permanent change ?
Many believe that regular use by teenagers, whilst their brains are growing & developing, can result in ‘permanent change/damage’. I agree 100%.. this is why any reform must have at least an R18 age limit. Under the black-market prohibition that exists, there is no age-limit set by gangs/dealers etc.
Whilst it may also be true that some people do develop, mental disorders from cannabis use.. it is not a ‘foregone conclusion’ & it often only affects a small percentage of the total. This should by no means be an excuse to ban its use, by all others. There should be 1) EDUCATION & treatment for those who do suffer associated harm, taking in mind that some people are predisposed to mental issues (the drug may not cause the condition, just add to it)
5) ‘the war on drugs is achieving its stated outcomes’.. this is the biggest MYTH of all ! It creates, so-called ‘unintended consequences’ (which were widely known during alcohol prohibition 1920s USA); Black-markets, gangsters, widespread corruption, massive ‘prohibition industry’ (Police, customs, courts, prisons etc.) who fight ‘tooth & nail’ to ensure their survival (as Anslinger once did).
Many, many others.. that I’m sure readers can think of too.. “Kia Ora Koutou Katoa”