Smoke and mirrors from the government

The price of cigarettes was increased again on January 1st. Apparently, it now costs about $40 for a packet of 25. Wow. Smoking has become the domain of the well off which is strange because it was always a very working class habit until now.

It will still be the domain of lower income people, of course, and those that continue to smoke will just have less money for other things, which will be a tragedy in some families. The government knows this, but their apparent aim is to force people to stop smoking because of the health issues caused by smoking tobacco.

Knowing this, why is there to be a referendum in 2020 on the legalisation of cannabis? The government is trying to stop people from smoking, and smoking is the way most people use cannabis.

Smoking cannabis has health risks too. WebMD lists the risks to lung health of smoking marijuana, and it is quite obvious that smoking ANYTHING poses a risk to health. quote:

The link between tobacco smoke and lung cancer is well-known. Studies show that marijuana smoke has many of the same harmful substances as tobacco, and often more of them. 

People also smoke marijuana in a different way than tobacco, possibly posing greater danger to the lungs:
You usually inhale marijuana smoke deeply and hold it in, which gives the toxins more contact with your lung tissue and more chance to stick there.
You generally a smoke a joint all the way to the end. Tar, the sticky stuff left after burning, has high levels of harmful substances, and it?s concentrated at the end of a joint. end quote.

This government is telling us that tobacco is the really bad stuff and people must be punished by taxation to stop them from damaging their health, but marijuana is perfectly fine. This is not true.

Police Minister Stuart Nash wants to set up drug testing services at music festivals next summer. This service is not to catch people taking illegal substances. It is to provide testing of drugs for the safety of users. The drugs in question are illegal substances, of course, and many of them are much stronger substances than marijuana. quote.

Nash said he wants to see “a more compassionate and restorative approach” to the use of drugs. He and Health Minister David Clark announced last month the Government intends to amend the Misuse of Drugs Act to direct police not to bring prosecutions for possession and use of illicit drugs, including heroin and methamphetamine, “where a therapeutic approach would be more beneficial, or there is no public interest in a prosecution”. end quote.

The government is softening its stance on ALL illegal drugs, not just cannabis even though we know how drugs, particularly hard drugs, can wreck people’s lives. But not tobacco. Tobacco must be eliminated at all costs. quote.

At the same time they want to toughen the law against the production and distribution of illicit substances. But possessing them for personal use looks likely to be effectively decriminalised before the public will be invited to vote on the legalisation of cannabis at the referendum to be held with the next election. end quote.

Stopping the production and supply would solve the entire problem, but that is never going to happen. Once drugs are decriminalised, more people will use them. They will be rife through the schools, and parents will have little chance of stopping their kids taking drugs when it is no longer a crime for adults. The problem will be bigger, not smaller. More children will go without food. What will that do for Jacinda’s flagship ‘child poverty’ issue? More and more teenagers will have fried brains. More mental health patients will need assistance.

If a kid at a rock concert has his pills tested at the service centre, and then handed back to him, and is told that it is okay to take them, it sends the message that drug taking is fine. Apart from the legal aspects of it, it means that kids will think the supplier that they got their ‘kosher’ drugs from is a good source only to find, possibly, that the next batch is deadly.

I know a lot of people will say that alcohol does as much harm as illegal drugs, but that is an argument for limiting alcohol, not for legalising drugs.

While I don’t want to see kids dying as a result of taking harmful substances, drugs ARE harmful substances. Aren’t we sending a message here that it is perfectly fine to take drugs?

In the meantime, tobacco is so bad that this government is banning smoking in cars, and has indicated it would like to ban smoking tobacco at home but cannabis is okay. Any time, any place, anywhere.