OPINION: I tried weed, banning it doesn't work
SOME find 'getting high' a great rush and an escape from their stressful and frustrating lives, while others have paranoid hallucinations ... or worse.
Recently, the New South Wales government announced the first medical marijuana trial.
It comes as ongoing media stories focus on drugs in Australian society.
As someone who has lived in five states in this country, reporting in each of those on drugs, and having been a teenager who tried marijuana, I have to say I agree with some aspects of the legalisation argument.
I had both good and bad times with cannabis. This could be the reason why I was only an 'experimenter' versus some that ended smoking it every weekend for years … even into their mid-30s.
I was around people who dropped ecstasy and those who snorted lines of cocaine. These people were adults and knew the risks they were taking with drugs. But I guess that 'invincibility' factor played a role in their decision to ignore the risks.
I've lived in the Australian Capital Territory and South Australia where there are laws enabling people to grow plants and use marijuana recreationally. My observations of the drug use and crime in those societies indicated that legalising marijuana for recreational use was beneficial. Those that did smoke marijuana did so in moderation.
Whereas those I came across in other states would 'overdo it'. I've had one guy 'green out' on me and pass out. That was not a fun experience, particularly because I didn't know what was going on and if what was happening was a medical emergency where I should call an ambulance or not.
Watching a program on TV the other night about drugs in Australian society, which had a panel of people from all aspects of the debate - recreational drug users, people who work with rehabilitating addicts, parents of kids who died from drugs - I couldn't believe my ears.
The recreational users on the ABC show 'Australians on Drugs' and their excuses for taking drugs was 'beyond reality' of being acceptable excuses.
"It's like taking Panadol. It makes you feel better."
And … then there was the excuse of being frustrated with the authorities of today not listening to late teens and early adults who have 'experience and knowledge' that could be of use.
Ha! That's called society love. Some people are willing to listen to others and some have their ears shut to all other opinions not in line with theirs. And that is in all levels of society.
So back to the discussion about legalising drugs in Australia.
One expert suggested that by legalising these party drugs, it would take the stigma of being 'wrong' and the adrenaline around doing something illegal (this is very much like teenagers smoking, ditching school, not cleaning their rooms - it's something they feel they can control and do in the face of authorities and test the boundaries).
The recreational drug users said they would prefer to buy their drugs from a pharmacy where they feel safer in what they are buying, which would be possible if the drugs were legalised.
I get that point of view. There have been many reports over the years of different things added to the mix when drug which have led to the deaths of unsuspecting drug users.
But Anna Wood's father has made a great point - you simply do not know how your body is going to react to the party drug. My own experience has shown me that each time I smoked or ingested cannabis, the reaction was different.
The biggest problem with making a decision like this is that society now wants statistical data and evidence either way before anything is done.
We are quick to react with "oh no, too many people are dying from taking these drugs. We must make it hard for them to get their hands on it so they will stop taking it."
This is obviously not working.
While drugs are illegal, the criminals preying on addicts and others wanting to test the boundaries will continue to take 'short cuts' while manufacturing the drugs and pull the addicts further into the criminal world to pay of drug debts, etc.
And for the sake of those people who have found relief from pain related to medical conditions through cannabis oil - just legalise it already. I couldn't imagine anything worse than discovering a pain relief method that works (as a migraine sufferer, I know the perils of pain relief medication not working) and then being told you can't use it because it is illegal. Or being told you can't administer it to your child who is in agonising pain.
What readers have said about legalising marijuana on Facebook: