Cannabis referendum: Think marijuana is harmless? Think again

Stuff co.nz 10 July 2020
Family First Comment: So many good points in this excellent op-Ed. Including …
“ The gang-controlled black market for cannabis will still be thriving and in operation (contrary to what many would like you to believe) for teenagers to purchase drugs, which they’ll see as a very normal substance. Not only that, but when cannabis is legally grown in your neighbour’s backyard, there is no way to stop youth or anyone else for that matter, from taking it. As well as selling cannabis for cheaper prices because of no taxes, the black market will also host a much larger range of drugs to use after the gateway drug of cannabis. Police will also find it much harder to distinguish legally and illegally (gang) grown cannabis plants and shut down gang operations.”

OPINION: We are all familiar with the Government’s “Smokefree 2025” goals. On one hand, we’re saying it’s not good to smoke tobacco, and on the other, we’re saying that smoking cannabis is fine.

Children will be prohibited from purchasing cannabis if it becomes legalised in the 2020 referendum as you probably know, but most teenagers get their hands on alcohol and tobacco from friends and family, not retailers, so nothing is going to stop the same happening with cannabis.

The gang-controlled black market for cannabis will still be thriving and in operation (contrary to what many would like you to believe) for teenagers to purchase drugs, which they’ll see as a very normal substance. Not only that, but when cannabis is legally grown in your neighbour’s backyard, there is no way to stop youth or anyone else for that matter, from taking it.

As well as selling cannabis for cheaper prices because of no taxes, the black market will also host a much larger range of drugs to use after the gateway drug of cannabis. Police will also find it much harder to distinguish legally and illegally (gang) grown cannabis plants and shut down gang operations.

Many people liken cannabis to tobacco cigarettes and claim cannabis is less harmful and addictive. However, the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand concluded that long-term cannabis usage increases the risk of lung cancer.

Even worse, the British Lung foundation concluded that just three or four cannabis joints are as bad as smoking 20 tobacco cigarettes. Dying from high blood pressure is also three times more likely for cannabis users than non-users, which is still higher than that of people who smoke cigarettes.

In the US state of Oregon where cannabis has been legalised, the amount of children younger than six being poisoned by cannabis rose by a whopping 271 per cent from 2014 – 2018. A 2017 Arizona report has shown that cannabis was the substance most often linked to child abuse deaths in 2016.

If a pregnant woman smokes cannabis, it can affect parts of the baby’s brain. Later in life, the child is more likely to face problems with attention, memory, and problem solving. One study has shown that people who smoked cannabis heavily between the ages of 13 and 38 lost an average of 8 IQ points.

Although people under 20 are banned from buying “legal” cannabis in the proposed bill, it is legal to grow two cannabis plants per adult at home. This means children could easily take cannabis from the plants grown by their parents, or a neighbour.

A New Zealand report shows two thirds of construction industry members are worried about the effects of cannabis law reform. Karl Hardy, a founder of a work-place drug testing company, claims he expected to see drug-related recruitment issues in the event of legalisation.

A New Zealand study shows regular cannabis users have 10 times the risk of car crash injuries or death compared to non-users, with another study showing that more than half of drivers causing a crash had drugs in their system.

Unless every single drug is legalised, this proposed legalisation of cannabis will not work because gangs will always be tempting people with the next harsher drug that some people will claim the government needs to control and regulate.
https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/politics/opinion/122082490/cannabis-referendum-think-marijuana-is-harmless-think-again

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