Deputy Rob Prow spoke out this week against cannabis legalisation in Guernsey, describing it as “plain wrong”.
While an admirable attempt, his arguments seem to make a stronger case for the immediate banning of alcohol, tobacco, sugar and caffeine.
He cited the NHS Your Health – Your Choices website which states that cannabis contains carcinogens that increase the risk of cancers; just like alcohol, tobacco and sugar.
He said research has shown that cannabis can be addictive if used regularly, with users building up a tolerance and requiring more to get the same effects; just like alcohol, tobacco, sugar and caffeine.
His findings claimed cannabis can damage mental health, harm a baby’s brain development and seriously affect someone’s ability to drive and operate machinery; just like alcohol, sugar and caffeine.
Deputy Prow then pointed to Portugal’s massive drug problem after legalising drugs in 2001, yet it still being illegal there to possess cannabis.
He stated that Portugal’s drug-related death rate was one of the highest in Europe. This is correct: Portugal’s death-per-million total is only being exceeded by the UK, Estonia, Sweden, Norway, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Italy, France and of course, the EU average.
Somehow it wasn’t mentioned that the country hasn’t become a drug tourist hot-spot and drug use has decreased since legalisation.
With Deputy Prow’s high-minded declarations before us, with a little bit of actual context, our options seem to be clear.
We can immediately ban all of the above products for their clearly harmful properties.
Alternatively, we could legalise cannabis and trust that consenting adults will use it safely – in moderation, not whilst pregnant, or driving – as we do with innumerable other harmful substances that make life just that bit more bearable.