Monday, 3 March 2014

Why I am opposed to over regulation of cannabis

I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a teacher. I am a drug and alcohol counsellor and I am opposed to over regulation of cannabis. I don't want to see cannabis being a commodity like tobacco and alcohol. As you know the restrictions on tobacco are that individuals are not allowed to grow for sale and the seeds for tobacco are not readily on sale although you can buy them from specialist seed banks like Kings.
Take alcohol, we are allowed to make beer and wine ourselves but not allowed to sell spirits that we make ourselves.
I don't want the lovely cannabis plant becoming another commodity that becomes hands off for the normal kiwi person and the corporations take over.
I don't want to buy my cannabis in pre-rolled packets.
I dont want Pall Mall or Rothmans type of packaging.

I don't want to see cannabis being regulated and commodified like tobacco.

I speak for myself but I have never wanted to purchase any of the existing legal highs for sale because as a drug and alcohol counsellor I am not comfortable with a product that has a number and not a name.

Perhaps it comes down to being open and transparent or the opposite of being closed secretive and exclusive. It seems the legal high market has done a great job in getting a sale of psychoactive substances bill through Parliament with the Minister of Health, the Hon Peter Dunne. But is it great for cannabis?

As far as I know there has never been a single death from cannabis in the entire world. as a counsellor that makes it safe enough for me to approve. I approve it's use both recreationally and medicinally. I think the problem in New Zealand is that the although we state drug use as a medical and health related problem, the average medical person or doctor is not trained in drugs or drug use. That area of medicine is a speciality area and part of  mental health area which has meagre funds and resources. Drug and alcohol treatment is not a sexy area of medicine like cancer or cardiology. We don't get MIR machines. We deal with difficult people with frequent relapses.

 As a result people with drug abuse issues and addiction problems do not see their GP and have the matter dealt with at the doctors.  Our medical model puts those people out of the mainstream and treats them at centres designed for drug treatment. CADS or community alcohol and drugs services. It has stigma attached.

I am not against drug use, hell I know most of New Zealand isn't.  Over 80% of us drank alcohol last year Alcohol is a drug but again labeling makes a big difference when alcohol the social lubricant has not been deemed a drug of addiction but we accept those poor old alcoholics and don't seem to make the connection.  Misuse of alcohol and a genetic component can turn any person an alcoholic.

So my point is that cannabis is low risk , do we need 30 pages of jargon to tell us that?
I want the cannabis industry to be developed by those already in and not a bunch of politicians. I want the money and the control to remain in the hands of individuals and not one.

I think the worst thing that could happen is for cannabis to made legal and illegal to grow sell or trade apart from those licenced outlets. Because as we have seen, this means white men in expensive suits and the rest of us over looked.
Just look at the other big Pharma and tobacco and alcohol cos this may be where we are headed. Its not where I want to go.

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