Heather du Plessis-Allan: We’ve made the right call rejecting cannabis

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Manage episode 275764862 series 2098282
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We’ve made the right call on rejecting the legalisation of cannabis.
I say that as someone who voted yes.
But the closer it got to voting, the more worried I got about what this could mean for the country: actually enacting legalisation.
So I ended up, I think, a soft yes. There, but only just.
The thing that worried me the most about legislation was the risk that we would normalise marijuana consumption for kids.
I really struggled with the thought that they would, on the main street of their town or city or suburb see a shop or a café selling weed, see people stoned and think that’s a normal way to live your life. In the same way that we don’t want kids seeing adults off their face on alcohol and thus thinking that’s normal, we don’t want the same for kids with weed.
The referendum was too rushed in the end. We need to give decriminalisation a bit more of a go before we decide if we want to go the whole hog with legalisation.
Remember, it’s only been a year since parliament passed legislation asking police to avoid drug prosecutions if possible, essentially decriminalising them.
I accept it’s not an ideal situation, putting this on police so squarely.
But decriminalisation appears to solve a lot of the immediate problems without needing legalisation.
It seems to allow people to get access to marijuana to ease their pain given it’s still so hard to get their hands on approved medicinal cannabis products.
It seems to have stopped minor drug prosecutions, given only 18 people were convicted and sentenced to jail for cannabis offences last year.
It seems to allow adults to smoke marijuana recreationally without fear of prosecution… and crucially… without setting up shops that might normalise it for kids.
In time, we can and should have another vote on this.
But let’s see how decriminalisation works for a while first. It seems a good compromise situation for now.

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