The fight for legalised cannabis


Chloe Swarbrick. Photo credit: The AM Show

It played out on the AM show. Representing the Green’s commitment to legalise cannabis is Chloe Swarbrick. Her opponent, Duncan Garner, claims cannabis affects the mental health of young people and wants to protect our youth along with his 14 year old daughter.

They are talking recreational cannabis although there is no guarantee that the Greens won’t slip a reference to medicinal cannabis into the document for a public referendum. Surely, any chance to drag fence-sitters into their camp won’t be missed.

Garner fires first by referring to a 17 year old suicide over the weekend and says cannabis depresses youth. He suggests we address youth mental health issues before legalising cannabis. Quote.

“Cannabis at a young age leads to depression. We know this.” End of quote.

Swarbrick fires back. Quote.

[…]opponents are “ill-informed” and confusing legalisation with liberalisation.

  Chloe Swarbrick end quote.

Swarbrick uses foxy words to attack her opponents and argues that liberalisation is not their goal, but her opponents argue that it is the natural effect of legislation to legitimise marijuana. Swarbrick has an inflated view of her government’s ability to regulate an illegal activity. However, moving along to her next point. Quote.

“What we currently have, right now, is essentially a free-for-all.” End of quote.

Swarbrick’s argument that cannabis is already freely available and government suppliers will be more discriminating, conveniently forgets that gangs won’t take this lying down. Quote.

“That illegal drug dealer is not going to check your ID, they are not going to know the chemical balance of THC/CBD, psychoactive substances, within that cannabis.” End of quote.

Gangs will simply undercut government suppliers and carry on their lucrative business, but with more freedom, once it is legal. They serve the underbelly of society and that won’t change. Quote.

They are not going to be paying their tax. Worse than that, that is going to profit the criminal underground.

end quote.

No doubt this government is after the lucrative revenue but bringing gangs into this debate is actually a red herring. The only debate here should be on the merits or otherwise of legalised cannabis and its effect on the general population, particularly on our most vulnerable, our youth. Quote.

In America, all those things you have just said is still going on. The gangs are still controlling the cannabis because they don’t want to sign up to a tax regime. And it’s still happening. There were 515 prosecutions in the LA area that were dealing with cannabis.” End of quote.

Swarbrick defends her party’s stance by saying they would not buy into the advertising allowed in America. Quote.

“Instead, we want to see a sensible model that minimizes harm. We want to educate, we want to regulate to ensure this isn’t seen as advertised or cool or promoted to kids. And we want to ensure that the tax revenue that is generated off the back of it is invested into mental health services.”

end quote.

Yadda, yadda. Like the Greens can do this better than anyone else? And education is the magic bullet? Did sex education slow down illegitimate births?

Then there’s that money word cropping up again. Just put some more of our damn taxes into our huge youth mental health issue, why don’t you?

Garner says legal marijuana revenue in America is much less than they anticipated. Quote.

“But that’s the thing Duncan. It’s not a silver bullet. I’m not here promising overnight we are going to solve all these social issues. But what I can say is we have a disproportionate amount of harm occurring under cannabis prohibition.” End of quote.

Actually the harm happening is a direct result of illegal marijuana use. The reason the legitimate revenue is not as expected is because the black market did not go away.

The Greens are shooting randomly at various targets – youth mental health, gangs, drug revenue and controlling marijuana quality without being able to definitively give us the results of overseas experience.

Garner refers to an report out of LA. Quote.

“I’ve been through this and it says that more young people will try it as a result of it being legal.” End of quote.

The two of them couldn’t agree on the results of the overseas reports and Swarbrick asked us to wait for the results of a meta-study coming out next month. This tells us all that we need to know.  Before chucking our youth under this bus she needs to go away and do her homework.


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