Of all the harms claimed about cannabis there is ongoing critical damage being done by its most overlooked element. Chances are that you have been effected by this even if you had never had so much as a single puff of the stuff.
One could be forgiven for thinking that the dangers of cannabis are mostly the stuff that makes for sensational headlines. You know the kind I’m talking about. We’ve all seen them. From stories of reefer maddened teenagers participating in Satanic Dagga Orgies concluding in decapitations to thoroughly cooked drug addicts conveniently blaming the complete demise of their lives on that first toke of weed. So while these stories make for good media sales and irresistible click bait, it is impossible to ignore the impact they have on society’s perception of this much vilified plant. Sure some of us see the clearly ludicrous stories as nothing more than laughable, but there are many others who gobble up the negative hype with glee and see it as an affirmation of their deluded beliefs.
There was a time when the legalisation movement was synonymous with long haired hippies loudly preaching conspiracies, thereby drowning out their counterparts on the other side of the fence. Things have been rapidly changing though. The movement has now found itself increasingly adopting a reasoned professional white collar approach to the hard questions and formalities of cannabis law reform. This step back from blind drum banging has provided a strong contrast for the ongoing prohibitionists who are no longer secure in the comfort of not having to substantiate their claims. Sure they will trump on about the long debunked gateway drug theory, blame it for the woes of every drug addled community and claim that South Africa is an unequipped 3rd world country that has far too many other more pressing issues to address. Although I do not understand why a nation with the most celebrated Constitution in the world would still be hung up on this if there are so many other more pressing issues apparently worthy of our attention.
What worries me most is not that these folk are not only simply jack-booting our human rights, but that they are using children as a human moral shield, something that you should also be worried about. Being proudly dishonest and ignorant about the realities of cannabis (and prohibition) is a despicable means employed by those so addicted to their self righteous Drug Free World quest that they are in complete denial of the harm they are inflicting on the youth they so profess to be protecting. As hard as it may be, try to put aside your pro or anti cannabis views for just a minute or two and ask yourself: are boogeyman tales and barely half truths honestly the best tools for educating our children on the all too real decisions they will one day have to make? Or even adults for that matter?
As uncomfortable as the discussions may be, the obfuscation and diversion on offer is akin to telling kids to never have sex… ever… because they will get AIDS. Case closed. When we all know that these are not a black and white matters that can be simplified to mere scaremongering, the issues regarding cannabis use may seem complex and intimidating. Something that we are perhaps afraid of dealing with on a personal level, let alone having the discussion with our children. That’s not an unreasonable trepidation. What is unreasonable is when people and their organisations mask that fear by claiming some superior moral objective absolves them form answering the hard questions. Likening it to the antics of the Catholic Church when all those children were sexually abused by priests for decades would be a stretch, but every time I am confronted by another of these anti-cannabis disciples; I get that same awkward feeling I get when as a kid, all those years ago, an endless queue of people lined up to enthusiastically diddle with my emotions rather than deliver a genuine message about what the future could hold and the potential impact of drugs. Legal or not.
These people are perhaps the greatest danger of cannabis. Not because of the beliefs that they hold, but because they are holding the futures of our children hostage. Given the opportunity to address the proximate causes of substance abuse or the science of why to legalise, they instead persist in using the rusty heroin needles of worst case scenarios to nail the futures of our children to the prohibition cross.