Dale Bramley: Dope is harmless? You must be high

NZ Herald 11 June 2014
The ban last month of so-called legal highs came as a welcome relief to staff at Waitemata District Health Board, particularly our doctors, nurses and mental health workers who see first-hand the effects synthetic cannabinoids can have.

As the discussion around synthetic cannabinoids evolved in the public sphere, it was not unexpected that talk would soon turn to the issue of decriminalising cannabis.

Legalising or decriminalising cannabis are not sensible solutions to the legal highs problem.

Let’s not convey the message – especially to our young – that cannabis is harmless. It is not. Any initiative that potentially makes cannabis more freely available will only further increase the burden of medical, psychological and social problems cannabis use has on our health system and our communities.

Dr Dale Bramley is a public health physician and chief executive of Waitemata District Health Board.
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