PEER-reviewed research conducted by Dr Andrew Monte, of Colorado, has reported a five-fold increase in cannabis-related hospital emergency visits since 2014, the year in which recreational use of marijuana was legalised. It also said that "motor vehicle crashes involving stoned drivers have doubled" in that same timeframe.
Doctors at the University of Colorado hospital reported that edible marijuana products were "disproportionately to blame" — serving to highlight consumer lack of knowledge and therefore being unaware of the effects of consuming the drug.
Colorado's economy has, however, greatly benefited from the legalising of marijuana. This result stems from money being taken out of the hands of criminals going into the local economy as well as increased tax revenue.
Farmers are also benefiting by harvesting a crop that provides greater returns than that given by traditional crops. Employment opportunities for locals have also been created.
While benefits are to be gained, the negative impact on society needs to be addressed. It is imperative costings and strategies be assessed in order to enhance the prospect of managing the challenges of the type experienced in Colorado.
That experience together with the current known resource issues in New Zealand compel the Government to be proactive in dealing with this issue.
Discussions concerning how marijuana might become a legalised part of our society should start happening across the country now to allow informed decisions to be made by voters when casting their preference in 2020.
Increasing emergency services' workload is not an option if the majority vote in favour of legalising marijuana for recreational use.
Submissions a rort
In response to the letter by F.R. Halpin, deriding Patricia Butler for daring to suggest that the End Of Life Choice Bill will become law:
He or she quotes the 90 per cent submissions against this bill. What is never mentioned by those using this figure are the percentages supporting this law change, figures obtained by independent polls, consistently over many years. These figures are easily verifiable. You may well ask, why the difference? Was it because the chairman of the submission committee was Simon O'Connor, an MP who studied for the Roman Catholic priesthood for many years and openly gave his opinion in The Catholic as to how submitters should word their opinion opposing this bill?
Or was it that the RC church had pamphlets in their churches advising how to make submissions in opposition but not to mention religion? Basically, the submissions process was a rort of epic proportions by a group of religious zealots. F.R. Halpin should come out of the closet and admit that his/her real objection is faith-based, and has little to do with compassion or the will of the majority of New Zealanders. It may well be that this bill is defeated, but I would put money on it that there will be a similar bill passed in the New Zealand Parliament well before the second coming of Christ.
JOHN M. WATSON
Assisted dying is suicide
Trying to prevent the tragedy of suicide is undermined by the promotion of assisted suicide, even when the proponents try to hide suicide behind euphemisms like "end of life choice" or "assisted dying".
When Helen Cartmell tries to claim that "suicide is a brutal act" and that "actual suicide" is taking matters "into their own hands by violent means", she causes eyebrows to rise. Is suicide by drug overdose not "actual suicide"? The real brutality of suicide is the deliberate ending of a life and this brutality is not magically removed by someone handing the victim the means of killing themselves.
In the same letters column, Alida Van der Velde tries to insist on "the facts" of "the end-of-life choice story", and this euphemism is followed by a shopping list of misleading statements. Perhaps the highlight (or should that be "lowlight"?) of this list is the statement and inference that the only way for "terminally ill patients" to "be cared for in a compassionate and kind manner" is for "wise governments" to legalise the killing or assisted suicide of patients.
Apart from the insult to all those who do care for terminally ill patients properly right now, this is an attempt to redefine language like "cared", "compassionate", and "kind".
The rather vocal minority in favour of euthanasia and assisted suicide are very good at emotive statements, but death is too serious and final to let them play with it.
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