Otago Daily Times

Stack­ing up the ar­gu­ments for cannabis re­form

- Marijuana · Narcotic Drugs · Society · California

THE ar­gu­ments against the cannabis ref­er­en­dum come down to: Smok­ing is bad, re­gard­less of what you smoke; and, le­gal­ity and in­creased avail­abil­ity might lead to in­creased us­age, par­tic­u­larly in the young.

Both these two points are rea­son­able but can be an­swered.

You don’t have to smoke cannabis. Tak­ing cannabis orally is far more sen­si­ble. Gen­tly po­tent cannabis teas, for ex­am­ple, are quite pop­u­lar in Cal­i­for­nia, and are a safe and at­trac­tive al­ter­na­tive to al­co­hol with all the lat­ter’s well­doc­u­mented prob­lems.

While le­gal­i­sa­tion might lead to in­creased us­age, it might not. It is not a ques­tion that can be def­i­nitely an­swered the­o­ret­i­cally.

For­tu­nately, the ex­per­i­ment has al­ready been run for a few years in a very com­pa­ra­ble coun­try, Canada. By and large, the dire pre­dic­tions have not come to pass there. Drug driv­ing of­fend­ing has not in­creased, and us­age among peo­ple un­der 20 has ac­tu­ally de­clined (it’s less cool if your par­ents are do­ing it, per­haps?).

The ar­gu­ments in favour of le­gal­i­sa­tion in­clude the ab­sur­dity of treat­ing some­thing that 80% of us have tried as crim­i­nal, the ben­e­fits of treat­ing cannabis abuse as a health rather than le­gal is­sue, tak­ing rev­enue away from gangs and the as­so­ci­ated new le­git­i­mate busi­ness pos­si­bil­i­ties and tax rev­enues, and above all the no­tion of per­sonal free­dom.

I find the Yes side’s ar­gu­ments far more con­vinc­ing.

Con­rad Do­browol­ski



GREAT news — I’ve just read more meet­ings and more races at For­bury for dogs.

Now let’s get an on­course ter­mi­nal open where pun­ters can bet and col­lect like they used to un­der pre­vi­ous man­age­ment — where staff were trained to be op­er­a­tors and bar peo­ple.

At pre­vi­ous meet­ings, pun­ters had one man­ual bet­ting pod with long queues and a few el­derly peo­ple, who at­tend all meet­ings, need­ing help to place bets.

We all want to see For­bury sur­vive in both codes so let’s start here and re­open a ter­mi­nal in the pub­lic bar. War­ren McCal­lion


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