Otago Daily Times

Stacking up the arguments for cannabis reform


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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