Dear Editor

With the downgrading of medical marijuana by the Therapeutic Goods Administration last year out of the category reserved for dangerous drugs, I felt a deep concern for our youth. More so when the tendering opened up to allow private business to grow the cannabis crops.

The drugs we have most problems within Australia, those causing most harm and deaths in the community, are all legal. Alcohol, cigarettes and prescription drugs. Prescription drug addiction is a hidden disaster with Australia only running behind the US internationally in terms of addiction rates.

When money can be made from the private sale of any form of drugs, it is the clean taxpayer who ends up picking up the tab for the grossly increased health spending to take care of those caught up in the horror of addiction. All the while fantastic profits are being pocketed by the companies selling these drugs to growing numbers of users. In 2016, $6.7 billion was made selling legal cannabis in the USA. It is a booming industry.

To see the end result of “medical” cannabis in the community, look no further than Los Angeles in California, the first US state to legalise the medicinal cannabis in 1996.

People openly smoke on the streets – joints and bongs. Healthy looking people and young people clearly not in the late stages of cancer or another serious illness. Walk down popular tourist spot, Hollywood Blvd, and one is assaulted by the smell of weed. So much so, it is completely offensive to the non-user and requires covering the mouth and nose to prevent inhalation of second-hand smoke.

People riding bikes and skateboards, puffing away. A guy stands there with a sign offering a temporary medical license for tourists to get a prescription and then get high. Totally healthy tourists stop and engage in a transaction. Within a 3-block radius, 4 billboards promote marijuana and how to find it.

Marijuana is not a harmless drug and to the young growing brain, it clearly takes a toll both mentally and physically. The weed of 2017 is not the same as when baby boomers were growing up. It is potent, much stronger and ample research exists of its negative effects. Our politicians need to go and actually look at how it has played out in the US, walk the streets, talk to those dealing with rising addiction with their youth and not just listen to the well-paid lobbyists who ply the halls of Parliament hoping to cash in on a government concerned about the needs of a small percentage of medical patients in need.

For more information on the marijuana visit: http://www.drugfreeworld.org/drugfacts/marijuana.html or write to me at monique@drugfreeambassadorsaustralia.org.au for free booklets.

Yours sincerely

Monique Wright
Drug-Free Ambassadors Australia
Mob: 041 357 2946

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