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History shows us prohibition doesn’t work

Opinion Piece

Grey Power Otamatea Inc has started a petition for the re-legalisation of cannabis, which has been medicinally used for at least 10,000 years.

Many will be unaware that up until the late 1920s, cannabis was legal throughout the world. Hemp was so valued that farmers in America were legally compelled to allot a percentage of their land for the exclusive growth of hemp. Even Queen Victoria was prescribed cannabis by the Royal Physician and used it for various ailments. It was freely available to everybody for medicinal purposes, and was not abused.

Indeed, it is reported that Henry Ford’s first car body was made from hemp (no rusting) and ran on hemp oil. The oil barons and steel manufacturers became involved, and cannabis was demonised and became illegal.

For those concerned about re-legalising cannabis, history shows us that prohibition does not work — as witnessed with alcohol and Al Capone. Until alcohol was promoted on television via advertisements and programmes, it was not abused after it was re-legalised.

Many studies show that lonely, disenfranchised people are prone to addictions, be it food, alcohol, gambling. Addictions can therefore be solved by us becoming an inclusive society, and not denigrating, criminalising and jailing those with addictions.

We believe that we have a right to grow a few plants in our vegetable garden so that we may juice the leaves. Preventative measures are surely better than trying to heal diseases after they have developed, particularly with our ever-increasing population and the health budget not keeping up with population increases.

Should anybody wish to discuss this very important health issue, we may be contacted on: www.facebook.com/nzlegalise. We have printed copies of the petition which we are happy to send out for signatures, and an online petition is available at the above Facebook page.

Beverley Aldridge

President, Grey Power Otamatea Inc