Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Friday, December 29, 2006

Cannabis for Safer, Healthier, Wealthier Aussies.

The Canberra Times (AU)

Letter to the Editor,
Dear Sir, Madam,
[350 words]

Cannabis for Safer, Healthier, Wealthier Communities

David Barnett writes questioning why nothing has been done to recognise the serious consequences of cannabis use.
["We're all dopes if we don't get serious about cannabis dangers." . CT. 21 Dec]
Barnett cites the 60% of Australians who 'have used' but fails to note for all this use mental health issues are no more prevalent than before cannabis was prohibited. The omission of comparative harms of alcohol and tobacco both causatively linked with serious mental health issues is self evident.
Were those who misused licit drugs to substitute with cannabis, evidence suggests that within a generation, A&E, neurological, cardiac, thoracic, oncology, hepatic and mental health wards would be left with barely anything to do. Additionally the criminal justice gravy train would cease to run. The nation would be safer, healthier, and wealthier.
Prohibitionists expect the world to do 'as I say' without accounting for the mess they leave behind. Where is the cost benefit analysis (or even efficacy) of the obsessive focus on keeping cannabis from kids by jailing adults? Barnett acknowledges the failure of deterrent laws, waxing lyrical "what about the children' yet he tolerates subsuming [control of] age of consent to criminal networks.
Scary stories of health risks accompanied by 'you're just not allowed it' enhances allure, availability and profitability. Every time we bust someone 'to send a signal' we create another job opportunity.
Removing the double standards that are an impediment to credible anti-drug (alcohol and tobacco) education was a core recommendation of the New Zealand Health Select Committee in 1998. The same committee also said of cannabis "the harms have been largely overstated".
Advertising 'harms' won't work for youth who are already rejecting the value system. Reality based education requires us to fix what's broken and respect adult choice. Legally regulate cannabis and Mr Barnett's mental health issues and youth problems will not only have the required resources, the effort put in to both sectors will be enabled.
Einstein said, doing more of the same and expecting a different result is insanity. Clearly, the unresolved tensions surrounding 30 years of insidious cannabis policy is enough to make anyone mad. Barnett's 'it's dangerous' proposal, absent reform, appears to be no exception.

Blair Anderson,
Director, Educators For Sensible Drug Policy,

50 Wainoni Road,
New Zealand.

ph ++64 3 3894065
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