Sunday, 12 January 2014

2014 the year of the Consumer, Cannabis that is!

I am so happy that Colorado is leading the way with cannabis law reform. The natural progression from Medical Marijuana outlets or dispensaries to the legal sale of recreational cannabis makes perfect sense. As a grandmother and former youth worker at Odyssey house (alcohol and drug counsellor) I would prefer that my mokopuna waited till 18 or older before drinking or smoking or trying any of the mind altering substances. As a researcher of cannabis and cannabis activist I would be happier to see my children with a joint in their hand than a can of beer or glass of wine.

I have watched with interest how America is sorting itself out and ending the prohibition of cannabis and I firmly believe it has mostly been a consumer lead law. By consumer I mean user of cannabis. I make little distinction between medical use and non-medical or recreational use as I believe we use cannabis to feel better= happier relieved relaxed and this in my mind is what medicines do. Marijuana or cannabis has a therapeutic effect for many people.
Many people say it puts them to sleep. Exactly , that is one of the most common uses.

Imagine the drop in prescriptions if this was common knowledge. Zoplicone and other sleeping drugs are addictive and dangerous and can cause death. Cannabis can be used safely in small amounts over very long periods of times. There are hundreds if not thousands of doctors in America writing medical user cards for normal people all across America. The people that use cannabis for any reason are just like you and me.

Marijuana use in New Zealand is widespread and mainstream. Despite there being a dearth of real evidence, studies etc detailing cannabis use in New Zealand nice people use cannabis. The only real depiction of the cannabis user is on TV shows like Police Ten 7 and drugs bust. We only see one side of cannabis users in New Zealand and it is a negative depiction.

I have been to court for cannabis possession and my story isn't likely to be told by the media anytime soon because I plead guilty to possession and was discharged without conviction.  The police want to present the view to the public that a cannabis user is something to fear. A cannabis user is a criminal and breaking the law which the Police are duty bound to maintain.

The judge saw that as a cannabis law reformer I had the need of a passport to travel and research what is happening in other places like Denver and Portugal. This year I would like to go to Amsterdam where cannabis has been discretely sold from coffee shops for 40 years. Uruguay has also passed laws legalising sales of cannabis. How amazing! And where is the harm? What is the danger of cannabis? What do the people fear? Well the users fear the police and the non-users fear the unknown.

That is why I think that 2014 should be the year for the consumer to do a little cannabis education on the others and break down barriers. The truth is, cannabis smokers, eaters or drinkers are no different to anyone else. We tend to be of every age. It is a myth that people mature out of cannabis use. Many many older senior citizens use cannabis daily for aches and pains and just the enjoyment. I have seen a 72 year MD pull on a pipe and know many pension aged cannabis users. Most are the lively and interesting people you meet in daily life, out cycling or swimming. Walking a well loved dog or driving a car listening to a great stereo.

For many people including those that say they don't use cannabis, like the defense force and Government people, all types of people enjoy cannabis for some social purposes and enjoyment of music art or activity. We know what we like and who we are and we need to have a personal uprising as cannabis consumers. I have been over this many times in my head and fail to see one single reason why I should not enjoy a little plant rolled in a paper and passed to friend while watching a perfect sunset. Or to start a day in a well adjusted and happy space instead of my slightly depressive and negative frames of mind in the morning. It sort of goes with the paper and a nice cup of tea.

This is a campaign of strength and individuality. I am not saying rush out and out yourself as a cannabis consumer but stop feeling so bad. I smoke cannabis, so what!

It is not all I am, it is not the only thing I do.
I am sick of people being defined by their use of cannabis and even angered as the frequent depiction of a cannabis user is a no-hoper and criminal type. I am willing to bet that university students are still one of the biggest groups that consume cannabis and no one would be calling that bunch of "young academia" stupid for trying cannabis, except someone even dumber.

 I parent and cook and run a business and garden and read books and watch tv and walk on bushy tracks and paint in acrylics and make chocolates and cup cakes and move house frequently.I enjoy art and going to galleries and I enjoy travel , warm beaches and swimming.
 I have been to school and taught and been to university and learnt.I have been a wife and am still a mother and now Nana. Any person who has ever smoked and enjoyed the experience is unlikely to have been harmed by the experience.

So I am continuing my personal revolution to legalise cannabis and show the people, that nice people use cannabis. I hope everyone who enjoys cannabis can stand tall knowing they are using a safer alternative to alcohol. Safer for your body and safer for society. The biggest harm and the biggest fear , I don't have one anymore.

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