As we edge ever closer to our referendum next year on cannabis, the debate’s heating up.
That’s a good thing. We need to be as well informed as we possibly can before we vote.
It’s easy to come at these issues from whatever your personal experiences or interests are.
But part of living in a democratic society is being able to look at debate from all sides. At the moment with the legalise cannabis debate, I tend to come at it from my standpoint as a parent.
If we look to overseas examples, which we should, a Colorado native and author of the book “Weed, Inc”, Ben Cort has been shedding some light on what’s happened in his hometown.
Colorado legalised cannabis in 2012. Since then, commercial interests have taken over sales and they’re making millions.
Not only that, the product’s been hijacked. The ‘natural plant’ as cannabis enthusiasts from the 1970s may’ve called it, is no longer just a plant. It’s concentrated and distilled into edibles, eye drops, gum, lollies, nasal sprays, ice cream – whatever you can think of now contains THC – which is the active ingredient in marijuana. The part that gets you high.
Cort says it’s so dramatically more potent now than it was back then. Where plants of the 70s may’ve contained about 4 per cent THC, the levels now are more like 42 per cent.
Why? Because it’s now being grown in glasshouses and commercial production facilities, with pesticides, fertilisers and metals added to it.
In his TED talk, Cort cites a mate of his who quit working in one of the cannabis growing facilities due to his fears about the amount of chemicals he was around. Their employers were asking them to wear Hazmat suits – that’s how much chemical spraying was going onto these plants.
The arguments against – that it’s a health issue and not a criminal one – I hear that.
But don’t we create a bigger health issue for ourselves than we already have with those other legalised corporatised addictive drugs such as tobacco and alcohol?
They’re legal: look how that turned out.
Is this what we really want for our country?
A more potent drug than ever before, and in the hands of corporate giants milking it for every cent?