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August 3, 2009 | by  | in Opinion |
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The fact that cannabis is still prohibited in New Zealand is a great example of the limitations of our ‘democratic’ government. With 30–60 percent (depending on who paid for the survey!) of Kiwis having tried it at least once, the fact it is still illegal is just plain bizarre. So much for New Zealand being a progressive country, eh?

There is only one type of person who can say that cannabis should remain prohibited without being a hypocrite—the same person who thinks alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and any other ‘drugs’ should also be illegal. There is no middle ground—either you have a problem with drug use in general, and therefore think our laws around alcohol etc. should be changed, or you don’t mind recreational drug use, and must either agree that cannabis is a safe recreational drug of choice for many people, or be ignorant. As those people who think all drugs (including our currently legal drugs) should be prohibited, are few and far between, I am going to make the assumption that a large portion of New Zealanders, or at least those in political power, are huge hypocrites.

The Misuse of Drugs Act (1975) is supposed to be in place to protect people from harm—it is not doing its job, when the most harm that could happen to me is being caught.

I am not going to get into why cannabis should not be prohibited (it is harmless to the majority of people who use it, is far less harmful than other legal recreational drugs, has medical benefits, has potential for economy boost, how amazing the hemp plant is and the myriad of uses it has, was originally prohibited in the USA (and subsequently other countries) due to political, economic and race-related issues, has extensive use and research backing up all the aforementioned points)—whoops, I guess I just did.

Really, if you think cannabis is harmful, you need to do some reading and get up to speed.

I am not going to try to pass it off as 100% harmless, of course it isn’t. People with pre-existing mental conditions should definitely be cautious using it, and smoking (anything) is obviously bad for your lungs. But in the grand scale of things using cannabis is like a stroll in the park compared to what some people put in their bodies. (I’m looking at you, drinkers!)

Regulating cannabis in a similar way to our current recreational drugs (age limit, laws around driving under the influence, etc) would instantly be a large kick in the nuts to organised crime. It would allow the government to tax the sale of cannabis, and better regulate its availability. Consumers will know what they are buying, and whether to expect very potent pot or not, and knowing they are buying a good, untampered-with product, which is a safety issue.

It could create an influx of tourists (heh, clean green New Zealand) and the potential for commercial hemp products is enormous.

The fact that I have to feel nervous and paranoid about being caught using cannabis makes me angry as hell. Why should Johnny Doe be able to walk into a store, flash their ID, and then get shitface fucked up on alcohol (which is actually quite harmful on the body), yet I have to wait around in a sketchy alley to meet some guy who may or may not show up with something that may or may not be ‘good shit’, and half the time gives me a 2 gram 50 bag (hellooo?! It’s 3 grams in a 50 bag you piece of shit dealer). And being looked down on by ignorant people who don’t know shit about shit to boot, it’s outrageous!

How dare you tell me what I can and cannot put in my body, my body!

If there was serious risk to my health involved, I may be more understanding. But there is not.

In summary I hope all the old, closed-minded MPs all have heart attacks and we get a new generation of politicians in parliament, who have their heads screwed on right and make the right choices because they are the right choices, not clinging to some false DARE stories they heard in primary school, and worrying about losing the elderly vote.

Fuck it, I too am building a bunker, buying a bread maker, and retiring early with a few potplants. See ya there Jeremy.

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Salient is a magazine. Salient is a website. Salient is an institution founded in 1938 to cater to the whim and fancy of students of Victoria University. We are partly funded by VUWSA and partly by gold bullion that was discovered under a pile of old Salients from the 40's. Salient welcomes your participation in debate on all the issues that we present to you, and if you're a student of Victoria University then you're more than welcome to drop in and have tea and scones with the contributors of this little rag in our little hideaway that overlooks Wellington.

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