I have often asked myself why, in the face of so many sound, common sense arguments, the pro-cannabis legislation lobby persists. I mean, why, having won the right to use it for medical purposes, push for a mind-altering substance that is neurologically harmful to young people, can lead to psychotic episodes, is ingested through smoke in a smoke-free country, and causes long-term users to revert back to a more primitive mind state?
I found my answer to this driving into Kaitaia from the northern end of town. A pro-cannabis billboard emblazoned with a cannabis leaf and the words, 'A billion dollars' written on it. I am thankful to the person who added to the poster: Mental Health Costs. But also for the answer to my conundrum.
The reason the pro-lobby wants more is that old root of all evil, money.
And isn't it interesting that the same answer can be given to why we allow all manner of harmful things to continue on these shores. Despite global warming and alternative fuels, the oil industry goes on unabated. Why? Money. Despite knowing sugar in large quantities is harmful it is legally permitted in almost every product we buy. Why? Money. Despite knowing fast food outlets are directly responsible for the country's shocking rates of obesity they are still open for business. Why? Money.
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So, the choice at the referendum is money versus people. I'm voting for the good of young people. And make no mistake, young people look to what is legal as a guide to what is acceptable. Vote no.
Mea atu kaore. Mo i o tatou tamariki me o tatou mokopuna.