Legalised dope is a licence for Big Marijuana to exploit young people
Bob McCoskrie – National Director, Family First NZ
Published in the Dominion Post 15 November 2018
In August I visited Colorado to see first-hand the effects of legalised marijuana.
I quickly realised that the drug has come a long way since the days of Cheech & Chong.
The upcoming referendum isn’t about a ‘toke’ or a ‘tinnie’. We’re talking about Big Marijuana: a new money-making industry of lobbyists and special interest groups putting profits over evidence-based policy protecting public health and safety, and ready to flout and challenge any regulations.
While dope shops in Colorado have forms of marijuana buds to smoke, almost half of the business is now in highly potent cannabis concentrates – edibles, dabbing (smoking highly concentrated THC) and vaping. The average psychoactive component of cannabis (THC) of all tested flower last year in Colorado was 19.6%, and the average potency of concentrated extract products was 68.6%. Potency rates of up to 95% have been recorded.
The 2% THC ‘woodstock weed’ has been replaced by popping a handful of gummy bears containing 10 times the legal limit of THC per serving, or a 90% THC dab.
‘Ditch weed’ refers to weak weed. It used to mean under 3% THC. Today, ‘ditch’ in Colorado is anything 15% or less.
This is definitely not your parent’s pot.
With increased potency comes increased health risks, including mental illness, psychotic symptoms, suicidal thoughts among teens, respiratory problems, and a greater likelihood of addiction. And addiction is exactly what Big Marijuana wants.
It fascinates me that at the same time as we are rightly booting Big Tobacco out of the country, we are in the process of putting down the welcome mat for Big Marijuana.
We got sucked in once, but we finally understood that the claims made by Big Tobacco – how healthy the product was, that it wasn’t addictive, and that they weren’t targeting young people – were all big, fat lies. The supporters of dope are now peddling the same myths.
In Colorado I saw all sorts of THC-infused products, including coffee, ice-cream, baked goods, lollypops, fizzy drinks, tea, hot cocoa, breath mints & spray, pills, gummi bears, chewing gum, marinara sauce, and even suppositories. Big Marijuana deliberately targets these products at the young. The earlier they can get someone addicted, the better for business.
Users will be drinking it, chewing it, sucking it, and eating it as a dessert. These products are easily transportable and readily concealed or disguised. Teens and twenty-somethings will love it, and that should worry us all.
The US Attorney for the District of Colorado published an article in the Denver Post just this month entitled “It’s high time we took a breath from marijuana commercialization, Colorado.”
He said, “Colorado’s youth use marijuana at a rate 85% higher than the national average. Now marijuana-related traffic fatalities are up by 151%. Now 70% of 400 licensed pot shops surveyed recommend that pregnant women use marijuana to treat morning sickness. Now an indoor marijuana grow consumes 17x more power per square foot than an average residence. Now each of the approximately 1m adult marijuana plants grown by licensed growers in Colorado consumes over 2.2 liters of water – per day. Now Colorado has issued over 40 little-publicized recalls of retail marijuana laced with pesticides and mold. And now Colorado has a booming black market…”
Despite 65% of local jurisdictions in Colorado banning any medical and recreational marijuana businesses in their local areas because of public discontent, there are now more marijuana stores statewide than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.
Other disturbing trends include the yearly rate of marijuana-related hospitalisations in Colorado increasing 148%, and toxicology reports show that the percentage of adolescent suicide victims testing positive for marijuana has increased.
At a time when New Zealand’s mental health system is bursting at the seams, why would we legitimise a mind-altering product which will simply add to social harm? It’s patently obvious that legalisation will increase its use, and harm.
There is one positive about the referendum though: it has revealed the ultimate agenda of drug advocates. The smokescreens of ‘medicinal cannabis’ or ‘decriminalisation’ no longer work. We now know the ultimate goal: legalisation of recreational dope. And, if we listen to drug advocates internationally, they will want legalisation of not just this drug but all drugs – cocaine, heroin, P.
Big Marijuana has high hopes for New Zealand, but liberalising marijuana laws is the wrong path to go down if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people.
Drug use is a major health issue, and that’s why the role of the law is so important.
This is not a ‘war on drugs’ – this is a defence of our brains.
People should always come before profits.
We should say no to Big Marijuana.