Stopping use healthiest

LETTER

Last Saturday’s Weekender featured an opinion piece by Stephen Blyth titled Best option to protect public health, in which he writes in favour of legalising cannabis and thinks this a good idea.

A few years ago I read during one month of two events, the first a coroner’s report of 11 people dying in a balloon crash in the Wairarapa in January 2012, and the coroner’s report of the death of a fishing boat captain off Greymouth in April 2013.

Both coroners reported the balloon pilot and fishing boat Captain had cannabis in their blood.

I find it very strange that Stephen Blyth can write an article about cannabis and public health, as the balloon passengers are not living healthy lives now and the crew of the fishing boat were very lucky to be alive and not suffer the same fate as the captain.

The healthiest thing I could think of as far as cannabis is concerned would be for every addict to stop using it today. The former addicts would live healthier lives with less worry of the mental health problems Stephen Blyth writes about, and balloon travel and fishing boat employment would be safer and therefore healthier.

Tony Dobson

Last Saturday’s Weekender featured an opinion piece by Stephen Blyth titled Best option to protect public health, in which he writes in favour of legalising cannabis and thinks this a good idea.

A few years ago I read during one month of two events, the first a coroner’s report of 11 people dying in a balloon crash in the Wairarapa in January 2012, and the coroner’s report of the death of a fishing boat captain off Greymouth in April 2013.

Both coroners reported the balloon pilot and fishing boat Captain had cannabis in their blood.

I find it very strange that Stephen Blyth can write an article about cannabis and public health, as the balloon passengers are not living healthy lives now and the crew of the fishing boat were very lucky to be alive and not suffer the same fate as the captain.

The healthiest thing I could think of as far as cannabis is concerned would be for every addict to stop using it today. The former addicts would live healthier lives with less worry of the mental health problems Stephen Blyth writes about, and balloon travel and fishing boat employment would be safer and therefore healthier.

Tony Dobson

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Mary-Ann De Kort - 2 months ago
You seem to be missing the point Tony Dobson. Prohibition didn't work for alcohol and isn't working for cannabis either. The examples you gave actually reinforce that, as those who wish to use drugs will still find them and use them even if they aren't legal.

A huge number of NZers use cannabis regularly. We all bear the cost of criminalisation in paying for police time and resources, court time and to keep someone who has an addiction in prison.

If cannabis was to be legalised it could be treated in a similar way to alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs. It could be regulated, taxed and health or addiction issues could be spotted early and help given. There would also be fewer barriers to workers admitting they have taken drugs, as it wouldn't be a criminal matter.

If cannabis is not legalised we're just closing our eyes to an existing problem and encouraging the use of more dangerous drugs like 'p' or synthetics which actually do kill.

Phil Hunt, Picton - 2 months ago
Beware of what you wish for!

Total legalisation of cannabis use will not achieve the aims of those who propose this move.

The gangs will continue on selling drugs (of whatever description), as money talks.

There is no roadside testing for cannabis in this country. Why not? They do it in several Australian states and it works OK there.

Governments are so weak-kneed and wish-washy. They are like grass in the wind - they move this way and that listening to "Me! Me!" groups, never for the common good.

G R Webb - 2 months ago
We haven't stopped domestic violence or bank robberies yet, either. So does Mary-Ann suggest we legalise those, too?

Manu Caddie - 2 months ago
Hopefully we can all agree that we want to see a reduction in harm from the use of drugs. The question then is what is the most effective way to achieve this goal.

The international experience and most reliable empirical evidence clearly points to public policy that enables highly regulated access as more effective than prohibition. Undermining the illicit market is more effective in keeping drugs away from children, enables better access to support services for the small proportion of the population who are prone to unhealthy use, and doesn't result in any long-term increase in injuries or deaths from traffic accidents. Anyone who suggests otherwise needs to look at the peer-reviewed, published evidence not cherry-pick anecdotal associations.

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