Marijuana and pain by Susan Grimsdell
I’ve been obsessed with pain lately. Not mine, but two of my friends who’ve both broken ribs. Panadol doesn’t cut it. Morphine’s good, but not something you want to take too much of. The best thing, I’ve heard, is marijuana, often called cannabis. We’ve all heard how effective it is for crippling pain. But in NZ it’s not on the list of options.
Decriminalisation and legalisation
I had a look to see if there are places that do allow people to buy and use marijuana, and it’s truly mind-boggling how many there are, and ones you’d least expect to have such a liberal view. Think of the most deeply conservative southern states – Mississippi, North Carolina, Missouri – would you believe they have all decriminalised it?
Altogether, nine US states have decriminalised all use of marijuana. Twenty-nine more states permit use of it for medicinal purposes. Most provinces in Canada permit the use of marijuana to some degree – whether recreational or medicinal depends on the province.
Switzerland, the Netherlands, Germany, Greece, Italy, Portugal, Spain – all of them allow marijuana one way or another. In some places its use has been legalised which makes it acceptable in the eyes of the law and, therefore, not subject to any penalties, while in other places it has been decriminalised which means that its use is no longer regarded as a criminal act but it can still be subject to minor penalties or fines, like getting a speeding ticket.
Less violence, less pain
The great thing about legalisation is that it takes the drug out of the hands of armed criminal gangs, who have a nasty tendency to see violence as the go-to answer for any problem, and who have worked out that if they add contaminants to the drugs that’ll make them go further. These additives are not nice. For drug dealers it’s all about money, nothing but money.
Legalising on the other hand, means licensed dealers control the sale. That sounds a whole lot safer. Also, the money goes to the government – in the US, it’s a $10 billion dollar industry. More roads, more parks, more hospitals. Sounds win-win to me.
Surely it’s a no-brainer – legalisation is the way to go? However, it’s not going to happen. Emotion, as is the case so often, wins over logic and evidence. There’s not a political party in NZ brave enough to take on the legalisation of marijuana. In the end we’re all the losers and my friends will have to go on feeling the pain.