Legalisation of cannabis will be bad for New Zealand’s young and impressionable

A young woman smokes marijuana before the 10th annual Marijuana March in downtown Toronto May 3, 2008. REUTERS/Mark Blinch (CANADA) – RTR205Z4

Guest Post:

I can only say that this state of affairs makes me incredibly sad. We are going through a monstrous situation with a teenage granddaughter who got introduced to weed at 13 yrs old by a social miscreant. Despite showing texts from her phone to the Police proving that the 45 yr was supplying her, nothing “can be done”. Apparently, she has to be the one to make the complaint!

The effect has been to make an incredibly smart, conscientious young lady into a confused, unreliable, dropout, who also now considers thieving to pay for the drugs as legitimate. Who knows what occupation will come next to feed the habit.

What does a referendum do? Whatever the outcome, it instantly gives weed legitimacy in the eyes of these young and impressionable people.

Our conversations with many professionals working with young people is that weed is incredibly bad. They are ALL dead against any lessening of laws for what is called “recreational use”. It is NOT recreational, it is destructive. Let’s get the language right here.

If the active ingredient is beneficial for those in extreme pain or with a terminal illness, then get it made into a drug like any other medication. Clearly defined use and quality assured. Produced locally it need not be expensive.

DO NOT confuse this with widespread use in the general public. We don’t allow poppy seeds to be grown and manufactured into a “recreational drug” because of the danger. The same applied to cannabis.

I can speak from personal experience in the sixties when it was used extensively by students at the universities. After a rather bad experience, and seeing the deleterious effect of fellow students, I started to research it and managed to get a lecturer to describe exactly how it works, and how it is different to alcohol. After that, I never touched it again.

THC, the active ingredient in cannabis works on the nervous systems cells, accumulating in the “synaptic gap”, and over time affecting the transmission of all messages between cells. Because the body does not see THC as a poison (unlike alcohol which is, and consequently quickly excreted) it is not easily removed. Slowly but surely it dumbs down the user, eventually creating the iconic dope-head.

What I see in the press so often is people addicted to weed trying to explain that it is harmless. In my experience that is just as bad as an alcoholic extolling the virtues of booze.

The fact that it comes from a plant that grows easily is no justification for indiscriminate use. Nature provides us with all our drugs, whether directly from the plants, or via processing, but it is up to us to use them wisely.

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