The HEMP Party has challenged the leaders of the major political parties to explain why cannabis use has actually increased under strict prohibition.“It’s time for the major parties to start facing the unpalatable possibility that cannabis illegality may have actually had the reverse effect of what was intended.
“It would appear that recreational cannabis was very obscure prior to the ‘reefer madness’ campaigns. Cannabis is now the third most popular recreational drug despite its illegality (not including tea and coffee!).
“Research also suggests that prohibiting the use and trade of cannabis may actually play a role in the increase in hard drug use by exposing people to the black market.
“Studies in Amsterdam, where cafes openly replace the cannabis black market, showed that cannabis users were using less hard drugs. The study compared this to the US, where hard drug use is more common despite the stricter drug laws on cannabis (www.newscientist.com).
“Youth use cannabis partly as an expression of rebellion against society. Many experts now refer to the ‘forbidden fruit’ syndrome. The fact that cannabis is illegal heightens the thrill of using it for teenagers.
“The reality is that with over 50% of Australian’s having tried cannabis, the illicit cannabis trade is the most successful network market in the country. The black market is in our streets, homes, police stations and playgrounds.
“What these lofty major party politicians don’t want to see is that regulating the cannabis trade will help remove the black market by putting the trade behind the shop counter.
“In Nimbin, we observed the benefits first-hand of an unofficial trial on cannabis cafes. It observably reduced the black market street dealing.
“However, the police raids dismantled what was the beginnings of a working model of cannabis regulation. Now street crime in Nimbin is once again very active.
“Over 90% of shop owners (40 out of 42 businesses surveyed) said they saw an improvement in the Nimbin street scene through the development of the café model.
“Nimbin’s drug dealing scene is just an overt example of what’s happening all over Australia.
The black market is in most suburbs, continuing to expose youth to hard drugs.
“We think it’s inevitable that a regulated trade of cannabis will be introduced because more people are realizing that illegality has actually made things much worse.
“It’s time for political leaders to catch-up to what everyday Australian’s already know is happening on the cannabis front”.
For scientific based articles on cannabis: www.newscientist.com.au
Michael BalderstoneHEMP Senate candidate NSW