Mike Yardley: Cannabis referendum cynical ploy to get people voting

Author
Mike Yardley,
Section
Opinion,
Publish Date
Tuesday, 7 May 2019, 4:46PM
The Government is risking a Middle New Zealand revolt, Mike writes. (Photo / NZ Herald)

You may well ask why we are having a referendum question on weed hurled our way on election day next year. The answer is simple.  Its timing is a cynical ploy by Labour and the Greens to mobilise the young - the bums, the drifters and the wayward - to get off the couch and actually vote. The referendum is being used a bait, as cat-nip, to woo the disengaged to the ballot box to win their party vote too.

There are many pros and cons to legalising cannabis. I accept that. But the bottom line for me is this. Would legalisation improve the health, well-being and productivity of New Zealand? No it would not.

How could it? So why legalise it? Why surrender? Why roll over?

Why would we want to throw even more fuel on the fire of our mental health crisis, particularly among our young. Why add to the scrapheap of wasted lives? I have seen its insidious effects in far too many people I care about. Stolen potential. Broken lives.

But theres a broader theme unfolding here, that spells danger for the government. And they could cook their own goose. Soft on crime, soft on welfare, soft on drugs, soft on dysfunction. That is the narrative that may well define the next election.

A scrum of US states have legalised dope, chiefly because they were financially stuffed and needed a new tax revenue stream. And then last year, the lefties in Canada legalised dope. Over the weekend, some telling new official data was released about the impacts in Canada.  Year on year, cannabis use by under-24 year olds has rocketed by 27%. The number of Canadians using dope for the first-time has doubled. 15% of users admitted to driving within two hours of getting high, while 13% of users also admitted to using dope prior to or during work.

But the bottom line is usage is well up in Canada, and the black market continues competing with the legal market.  Is this really the future we want?

And before you say, this doesn’t affect me, don’t forget, drug-impaired driving is already a bigger killer than drink-driving on New Zealand roads, with bugger all enforcement.

Is the government playing with political fire with this reef-erendum?  Time will tell. But middle New Zealand could bring down the whole house.

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