Bad Law and Unintended Consequences
With the Government agreement with The Greens Party to hold a binding referendum on the legalisation of cannabis a robust debate on the topic is warranted.
Personally I am firmly against a policy change to legalise the drug. Why? Because it is harmful. There is a plethora of medical evidence available to show the active ingredient in cannabis, THC cannot be broken down and disposed of. Instead it accumulates in the fatty tissues of the body: ie the brain. Regular use causes lethargy and results in lack of motivation. Sprouting of communes in the Coromandel and Great Barrier Island among other places during the 1970’s and 80’s is testament to that.
My biggest fear with legalisation is that it would become bad law. Bad law is where unintended consequences occur. One such example is the legalisation of prostitution for over 18 year olds in 2004. I wonder if Parliament would have voted for legalisation if they foresaw the damage caused to neighbourhoods by street prostitution. Just ask business people in Hunters Corner who have to clean up used condoms and worse from their shop doorways most mornings.
One unintended consequence of the legalisation of cannabis is the harm caused to families who have a child with bi-polar. I know one such family in Denver, Colorado where possession and use of cannabis was legalised in 2012. Our dear family friends have rued the day their state legalised the substance.
They have a son I will call Kane who is on the bi-polar scale – between the moderate to serious end. He was 18 at the time they legalised cannabis. At that stage they were challenged by having to manage Kane’s mood swings and occasional violent outbursts. After he started using cannabis daily, his personality and behaviour deteriorated significantly to the extent they were left with no choice but to kick him out. He violently assaulted his mother many times and she lived in her own home in fear. Kane’s Dad arranged accommodation and employment for Kane in another state with a cousin. Today they have no contact with Kane – as much as they still love him and want to maintain a relationship with him.
Kane’s argument with his parents, who are anti-drugs and have a Christian faith is that if the state says using cannabis is OK then that is good enough for him, and should be for them also. It is hardly surprising that this couple do not allow cannabis to be used in their home, nor should they, despite what the state declares in legislation.
My question to the Colorado legislators is this; did you consider the plight of families who have a bi-polar teenager whose condition is exuberated by the use of cannabis? I think not.
These families have enough challenges in raising their child to be caring and contributing members of society without the state legislating bad law with unintended consequences. Let us not allow that to happen in New Zealand. Dave Pizzini 8/11/2017.