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

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Epistle from Son of Ja

New Zealand: PUB LTE: Cannabis
http://www.mapinc.org/drugnews/v07/n535/a01.html

Pubdate: Sat, 21 Apr 2007
Source: Otago Daily Times (New Zealand)
Copyright: 2007 Allied Press Limited
Contact: odt.editor@alliedpress.co.nz
Website: http://www.odt.co.nz/
Details: http://www.mapinc.org/media/925
Author: Jason Baker-Sherman

CANNABIS

Congratulations regarding your excellent editorial "Revising drugs policy" ( ODT, 21.3.07 ).  While most of its argument was commendable, I did, however, take exception to its conclusion that "even the most superficial study of court and prison statistics will show that the majority of drug user and abusers are from what we commonly describe as underprivileged and minority groups; their addiction is driven by poverty, ignorance, fear and criminal activity, and it leads to the undermining of respect for the law and the undermining of whole communities."

While many of the prison population do have drug problems, drug use and abuse of both licit and illicit drugs is widespread throughout the whole community.  Alcohol abuse is by far the biggest drug problem facing New Zealand, whereas most of the harm from illegal drug use is caused by their prohibition.  A person can be the perfect parent, employee and citizen but should they enjoy smoking cannabis, or even simply believe in its legalisation, then they will be treated as a criminal and become another underclass outcast should the greater community find out.  When a person uses cannabis, they not only break the law, they also give up many of their rights such as, soon, the right to drive, if the Government has its way.  And, ironically, they become society's scapegoat too.

I did, however, appreciate the editorial's reference to the anti-smacking Bill as I have enjoyed hearing "ordinary" New Zealanders complain about potentially being turned into criminals for hitting their children.  Maybe now they will better appreciate how the cannabis criminal feels.

Jason Baker-Sherman

Dalmore

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