“We are concerned that the serious problems facing our country due to [the] abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs will be obscured by ‘red-herrings’ like debates on legalising dagga” is what African Christian Democratic Party MP Cheryllyn Dudley has had to say, and we should be asking ourselves, why would the ACDP at the very least not support a debate on the matter of dagga legalisation?
There is a moral blind spot which Cheryllyn Dudley, and many others like her, refuse to turn their gaze towards. In their world, the prohibition of cannabis is without cost or consequence. To them it is just another part of their self-proclaimed quests to rid the world of all recreational drugs, even though their religion condones the most globally destructive drug of them all… alcohol. There is no arguing that our country has many issues to deal with regarding substance abuse, but why then does the ACDP insist that the dagga debate is a ‘red herring’ when a more liberal law would most likely result in lower use?
It is one thing to display faith as part of one’s a religion; it is a completely different thing to apply this same principle of faith to a cannabis law which exacerbates just about every problem that it failingly attempts to solve. You name it… exposure to hard drugs, youth use, organised crime and so on, it makes them all worse. Yet here we have another political party sitting atop its high horse wanting to make a difference by continuing to apply a law that is at the root of the very issues that they are trying to combat. Perhaps if they weren’t so busy opposing the dagga debate, and actually took the time to listen to what is being said, they would realise that we all want the same thing: Less harm from cannabis use.
The solution however lies not in fiercely enforcing an archaic law which makes criminals of otherwise innocent people, gives all the power and control to drug dealers, fuels organised crime and is the gateway to hard drugs. When organisations such as the ACDP choose to ignore the multitude of evidence and international cries for a change in the approach to cannabis users, it demonstrates that they have no actual intention to make a change for the better, but will instead play armchair referee in a matter that is ruining and costing lives every day.
It is doubtful that we will see anything other than the usual repetition of anti-cannabis studies and a pinch of anecdotal evidence from the ACDP. What we will certainly see from them though is a lack of any substantiation as to what potential health risk/s cannabis causes, or why we should still be shackled to a failed law that has had its time, a law that ironically detracts resources away from addressing “the serious problems facing our country”.
The time for political parties to feign ignorance is fast passing us by. Cannabis prohibition costs us millions, ruins the lives of millions and puts millions into the pockets of criminals. So why then would a political party with such righteous intentions continue to support a law that undoubtedly supports organised crime and makes us continue to foot the bill no matter how often or badly this law fails?
But then again, what could we expect from a homophobic political party which was “the only party to vote against the adoption of the final version of the South African Constitution”.