Friday, September 25, 2020

Kate Hawkesby: Listen to the professionals on the harms of cannabis legalisation

23 days until we vote on cannabis.

You’ll know if you’re a regular listener to this show that I’m of the vote no brigade.

No, I’m not on a moral crusade, although I don’t think there’s anything wrong with moral crusades.

I’m in the no camp because of all the mental health professionals I’ve spoken to who work at the coal face. The ones who have no agenda around cannabis other than trying to help clean up the harm it’s done to young people’s brains, and by young people I mean under 25’s. Remember the legal age limit here will be 20.

The psychiatrists and psychologists I’ve spoken to despair at the misinformation being peddled, the confusion that this is somehow a vote on medicinal – it isn’t. Or that it somehow will keep people out of prison - it won’t.

It won’t have anything to do with prosecutions and convictions because most of the very small number of people jailed for cannabis are either dealers, manufacturers, or have a string of other more serious convictions to go with it. You don’t get locked up for smoking a joint.

But the health professionals I’ve spoken to say all the arguments for legalisation do not balance out, on the scale of what it practically will cost the healthcare system and the stress it'll cause our mental health sector. A sector that is of course already stressed.

The other thing they tell me is that despite people’s best hopes, it is a gateway drug. Many of their patients are people who were just looking for bigger highs. Many of the patients they deal with say they wish they’d never touched the stuff.

So it’s not the legalising that’s problematic, it’s the normalising. That drugs are OK, that cannabis is not harmful, that as long as you smoke it legally and buy it from a government approved weed store, you’re all good.

What a message to send to young people, and I do note a lot of the pro campaigners happen to be people without children, who’ve never attempted to raise a young person.

So we want to be smokefree by 2025, but we’re happy to have people smoke weed?

Former detectives have warned the black market will boom as users look for more potent cannabis.

What confounds me is the people arguing for this, people like the Greens, are the same people who claim to be the champions of lower socio-economic society. Yet cannabis legalisation would unquestionably have the greatest impact on these groups and create more social harm. One former detective says ‘Our poor neighbourhoods would have a proliferation of pot shops which would cause devastation'.

We know from the government’s commissioned report into cannabis legalisation (the one they didn’t want released before the election) is that there’d be more than 400 weed shops throughout New Zealand. 117 would be spread around rural townships. If dairy’s are targets of crime for smokes, imagine weed shops.

So do I think we should legalise and normalise cannabis? No.

Kate Hawkesby is a political broadcaster on Newstalk ZB - her articles can be seen HERE.


Unknown said...

I'd like to see Kate debate this with Chloe before the election plz

Mervyn said...

The biggest laugh of this legislation is that the Government will be able to control the production, distribution and sale. They can't do that now when it's illegal and will they hope to do it when it is legal to get smashed on marijuana..
As for Te comment of the Greens caring about the lower socio economic class where ever did Kate get such an idea. The Greens simply use the poor to advance their personal interests. Governments don't cure problems they only treat them and there is simply no incentive for any organisation to do itself out of the business of a steady growth in treatment. Marijuana legalisitation will provide a whole industry to treat the consequences of normalising drug taking.

Ahwen Boone said...

"Marijuana legalisitation will provide a whole industry to treat the consequences of normalising drug taking." Aint that the truth!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't know anyone campaigning for a yes vote who claims cannabis is not harmful. However if we banned everything that was harmful the list would be very long and include tobacco and alcohol at the very least. It'd be a relatively short move from there to sugar, red meat, nitrite infused foods etc.
I would rather we allow adults to make a personal choice on cannabis as they do with wine and bacon. If Kate wishes to have sip pinot or have a bacon sandwich it is none of my business. Ditto for a joint or a cannabis brownie. The no vote, as with other personal choice items like euthanasia, abortion, homosexuality, gay marriage etc wants to enforce their beliefs on others. This is wrong.

Robert said...

After much thought,, I am with Kate on this. But on purist grounds I think that Cannabis should be decriminalized, albeit with protective legislation. Safeguarding the young and vulnerable is paramount. From a practical point of view, as one who has tried Cannabis (THC) and Hemp (CBD) and also the deep mind states achieved in meditation, I am able to compare all three. Personally, I hate the mind altering violence of too much THC, but CBD has no such effect as it compensates for the age-related drop in the body's endo-cannabinoid system. As we all know, CBD is very healing. That said, a touch of THC to go with it is what nature originally intended and this provides for very restorative sleep. When it comes to getting high, the critical brain centre is the pineal gland. With today's Fluoridation and pollution our pineals are disabled in their higher functions of cosmic connection. The first cab off the rank with a functional pineal is DMT (magic mushrooms). But again, this is an artificial forcing of what should be a natural process, by meditation, the science of which has been fully elucidated. The pathway (to enlightenment) is via detox, exercise and diet, prayer and meditation. Meditation in its wider sense involves activation of the parasympathetic nervous system/ pineal gland via deep breathing and chakra visualization exercises. Unfortunately, we are a long way off teaching this in schools due to deep contrary agendas at work.