1. Prevent young people and children from accessing and using cannabis in Victoria.
2. Protect public health and public safety in relation to the use of cannabis in Victoria.
From what exactly?! The pain relieving herb has never killed anyone in ten thousand years of history. Sure, its mind altering properties are not to everyone’s liking, the same as alcohol. Some people get frightened and don’t go there again. After all, it is manure for the imagination’s garden. Again prohibition is the problem. Cannabis was a sacred herb in many cultures and introduced to people with a ritual and initiation. Prohibition destroyed that along with the respect. And importantly, along with the respect for other drug use.
So, first up to protect public health and safety let’s start being honest. And while we’re at it, educate people not to smoke their organic it should be pot with tobacco. They don’t even have to smoke it, there are other options, like eating or vaporising. We like smoking because we can feel the effect quickly and know when to stop, self titration it’s called. Taking cannabis orally means waiting up to an hour for the effect which can then be too much or too little.
I guess once regulated it has to be for over 18 year olds, like booze. And introducing regulations brings in education. Dispensaries where you buy cannabis in America have experts giving health advice on site. What is the best variety of cannabis for you to try is a modern day art still in its infancy. Unless you grow your own in Australia or have a friend who grows, this choice of variety is hardly possible under prohibition and is a huge loss. We have been left way behind North America which has had legal pot for over twenty years and is now breeding specific strains of pot with cannabinoid profiles to suit the patient. We go to the blackmarket and get what we can and hope not to get caught!
Driving is another important safety issue. Cannabis users like myself who have been using regularly for almost fifty years are safer with their usual medicine than without. The same as people who use all manner and mixes of pharmaceutical drugs. Currently in Australia we are being bullied with saliva testing drivers merely for the presence of THC and nothing to do with impairment. Cannabinoids are uniquely fat soluble, unlike all other illegal drugs, and stay in your system for not just weeks but months. It would take me 3 months to get my blood free of cannabis, several weeks for my urine to be free and days for my saliva to be free.
Where I live near Nimbin many people have stopped driving or stopped smoking in the evening if they have to drive the next day. Or they change to using drugs that are not tested, like opiates, methadone, mushrooms, lsd, etc. Or they use chemical drugs which your body expels almost overnight, unlike cannabis which it hangs onto long after everything else is eliminated.
Impairment not quantity used is the issue with safe driving. Someone young smoking their first cone is totally different to someone who has been using for decades. And if they’ve drunk alcohol as well it’s another matter again. Impaired driving is the issue.
Our saliva testing, and sniffer dogs, have dramatically altered drug trends in Australia. Cannabis is an easy bust, bulky, smelly, needs to be smoked. Pills and powders are easily hidden and used. Our policing methods have helped create the shocking ice epidemic here. The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Many drivers have moved away from pot to chemical drugs and alcohol.
There could be a parliamentary inquiry into just driver drug testing alone. It is important enough. Rumours persist police contacts have the lucrative contract to supply the expensive drug tests. I have no idea but certainly the police are promoting the drug testing in a big way and they know full well it has little if anything to do with impaired driving. There is absolutely no evidence at all it is helping the road toll or accident rates. In fact States in America with legal cannabis have figures showing a significant fall in car accidents (possibly because of less alcohol use) along with a drop in suicides, domestic violence, depression, and of course crime.
3. Implement health education campaigns and programs to ensure children and young people are aware of the dangers of drug use, in particular, cannabis use.
American States in particular have a lot to show us on this. Many states there have had legal medical cannabis for over twenty years and we all learn by trial and error in the end. All 33 states with legal pot have different regulations. We are in a terrific position to pick the eyes out of their experiments. We need to start being truthful. Cannabis is safe and not addictive for a start. Young people and children will sense the truth on drugs if presented honestly. We just need to be truthful with them.
4. Prevent criminal activity relating to the illegal cannabis trade in Victoria.
In two words ….tax and regulate! Learn from the American States who have been the guinea pigs for us on this. Take it out of the hands of criminals and give it to experienced growers who can create jobs and pay tax. And I mean a lot of jobs, and a lot of tax! Colorado has less than Melbourne’s population and in 8 years the State has earned $1.25 billion in tax and there are 100,000 jobs in the industry. This is the potential Victoria has. There are a lot more cannabis users than you will ever know in Australia. Most people who use it need to hide their habit like a junkie. The stigma is huge but keeping your job is paramount.
5. Assess the health, mental health, and social impacts of cannabis use on people who use cannabis, their families and carers.
Cannabis is a fantastic medicine. I discovered it at the age of 24 and have loved it ever since. It changed my life as it did for millions of people around the country. I cannot explain exactly why or how either. There is a spiritual content in using it, for me anyway. For millennia it was known in the East as “Gods Gift”, and I understand why. Is it just because it takes your pain away and makes you feel good? (Good and God come from the same root, by Gad!)
51 Cullen Street
Nimbin NSW 2480
Phone: (02) 66 890326 Mobile 0472760236