The sooner that widespread cannabis production is legalised in this country for producing medicinal extracts, the better.
It's a cruel irony - the negative prevalence of cannabis in our community versus the expensive exclusivity of its medicinal properties.
We have a District Health Board open minded enough to fund the cannabis extract Sativex for an ailing Northlander.
No sooner is that announced, than the pro-cannabis brigade comes out of the woodwork with 4.20pm protests, smoking up large in public places. I'm not sure the DHB's move was an endorsement to smoke weed near kids' playgrounds, but the link has been made and here we are again contemplating what to do about cannabis.
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From a medicinal perspective, Northland is constantly evaluating economic opportunities - is this one? And we wouldn't just need gardeners, we'd need scientists or chemists. One of the biggest reasons for pursuing medicinal commercial cannabis use is that it would focus the pro-cannabis community's argument for legalisation or decriminalisation.
A recreational dope smoker arguing for decriminalisation on a medicinal basis, well, that's a skewed argument. They want it legalised because it suits them, not because they need it. Fair enough, if you claim that your use is solely pain-related, but the medicinal bandwagon is one that too many in the pro camp jump on. I can see the benefits - I would personally rather see police chasing burglars than dope smokers, and to a certain point growers (for personal use anyway.) But it's cannabis' poisonous attributes that cause many to still have reservations around easing our stance. It has stuffed up the minds of too many young Northlanders who have grown up exposed to the drug, some from when they were in the womb. It has led people down a path that has wrecked families. There is simply to much that is bad about it, for it to be good for us to legalise it wholesale.
But doing nothing is becoming less of a option - let's legalise using its powers for good and then focus on what we are going to do about the evil.