The Government’s stupidity with regards to cannabis is hard to overstate. Its 40-year long War on Drugs, conducted against the people of New Zealand at their own expense, has destroyed tens of thousands of lives at the cost of billions. Signs are that they are soon to stop lying about cannabis – but the distrust they have caused will linger for decades.
It’s also hard to overstate the loss of trust that comes from realising that you have been lied to for many years about the effects of using cannabis. For many, this trust is impossible to replace.
At first it’s kind of surreal – if you are from a family background that has many cannabis users in it – to learn that so many diseases and negative outcomes are attributed to use of the plant.
It seems obvious that cannabis is of value to people who can’t handle alcohol, and that if they smoke instead of drink then no-one gets beaten up. This seems so obvious that it’s really astonishing that our entire public recreational culture revolves around the violent drug and not the peaceful one.
Most Kiwis have had the experience of being at school and being forced to listen to a Police officer lie to them about the supposed effects of the drug. That sort of thing is relatively easy to brush off – after all, you’d have to be stupid to trust a Police officer in the first place.
At high school you learn the basic lesson of Animal Farm, which is that the ruling class are pigs and they maintain control and order by setting the dogs onto the other animals. So most people are capable of eventually accepting that politicians and cops aren’t really the good guys and never were, and so their lying to you isn’t that big of a betrayal.
It’s harder to brush off when it’s a doctor lying to you.
An ever-growing number of Kiwis have, over recent years, come to bring their discoveries about the application of medicinal cannabis to the attention of their doctor, only to be firmly told that cannabis has no medicinal value, or even negative value.
This sort of thing is much more difficult to cope with because doctors are generally seen as impartial sources that can be relied upon without politics or money interfering. In many ways, doctors have replaced priests as the kind of person that Kiwis have come to confide in in dark times.
Unfortunately, New Zealand doctors will happily lie to their patients when they are ordered to by politicians who are taking money from pharmaceutical, alcohol or tobacco interests who want to use the law to eliminate a competitor.
This is why they stubbornly refuse to concede that cannabis has medicinal value, even thought it was legalised in California in 1996 and has recently been legalised for medicinal use in Argentina, South Africa, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and other places that New Zealand likes to think itself more developed than.
The unexpected consequence of this lying about the medicinal value of cannabis is that many patients, having become aware that their doctors are lying to them, lose all faith in those doctors, and then stop trusting them on all other matters, such as the need for vaccines and so on.
These medical hyperskeptics are disproportionately young, for the reason that it is almost entirely old people who continue to maintain the fiction that the Drug War is fought for the benefit of the New Zealand people. We know this because there is a correlation of -0.55 between median age and voting for the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party in 2014.
The problem with this is that these young adults are precisely the same demographic that does the vast majority of the breeding, and therefore comprise the vast majority of the people tasked with making decisions about the immunisation schedule of infant New Zealanders.
Here the danger is evident. These people, tasked with making important medical decisions for the sake of their children’s wellbeing, cannot have confidence in what their doctor tells them because they know that their doctor has been less than honest on the cannabis subject.
Let’s not understate how incredible it is for a doctor not to know that cannabis is medicinal. It’s just as astonishing as meeting an astronomer who didn’t know that the Earth rotated around the Sun.
If the New Zealand medical profession is serious about preventing an outbreak of a once-eliminated disease, such as the kind that has been kept from breaking out by mass immunisation, then it needs to take care to repair the damage that its credibility has suffered from 21 years of lying about cannabis.
Californians decided that there was enough evidence to make medicinal cannabis legal 21 years ago.
It’s in the public interest of every Kiwi to see to it that our ridiculous drug laws are reformed as soon as possible.