Dagga, a bitter pill to swallow
Even though the prohibition of dagga has become such a day to day thing that we take its enforcement for granted, it is not free of cost or consequence.
Much blood has been spilt and many lives lost in the never ending black market battle over the insatiable dagga market. Nothing, not even the promise of an overcrowded jail cell or having one’s front door kicked down at any time by the cops, has slowed down demand for it. Our society has tried with failure for a century to beat dagga into extinction and yet its use is higher than ever. Please excuse the pun.
This brings us to a very bitter pill for some to swallow, the realization and acceptance that no matter what our personal opinions on the matter; dagga is here to stay irrespective of how deep in denial one’s beliefs may be about this. There is no longer room for face spiting idealism as is hacks away our nose in an attempt to curb dagga use via guns and handcuffs.
Every single one of us contributes to this counterproductive prohibition policy daily. Every Rand earned or spent is taxed and a portion of this is directed away from our many pressing social issues so that we may continue to focus one of the greatest displays of hypocrisy and arrogance that mankind has ever shown. We all pay this price, except drug dealers of course. Their conscience and profits are tax free.
There are no disillusions. Dagga use does not hold zero consequences. Decades of being the most researched planted on the planet has brought us to a few conclusions though. Those at risk of being mentally harmed by its use are a miniscule amount of the population whom are already on their genetically predisposed road to mental illness. Youngsters still growing through their developing years may experience adverse effects. Yet these effects do not exceed those of the existing legal options which they also undeniably experiment with already, but “yes” let’s keep it off limits to them and punish those adults who disregard such a law accordingly. The potential harms of dagga use to adults, even in its crudest form (a joint), are significantly lower than that of legal intoxicants and don’t even remotely compare to the legal harms of its use.
The naked truth is that the greatest harms caused by dagga are through its prohibition. At no point have we ever seen a politician or leader quantify the success of prohibiting dagga. We have not heard them say “Hey, look here. We’ve spent umpteen billion on this policy and saved x amount of lives”. Instead all we hear is “Hey, look here. We’ve spent umpteen billion on this policy and ruined thousands if not millions of lives” as they then proceed with much back tapping and smug smiling to celebrate their “success” with a stiff Bells or a warm shower after some casual unprotected sex.
It is time to start counting the costs. Prohibition of dagga without a doubt does far more harm than good and our hands are covered in the blood and broken futures of millions in an effort to protect a very very very few from a relatively safe and non-lethal social habit. Dagga is not going anywhere, no matter how hard prohibition repeatedly tries and fails to stamp out it use at your and my expense.
No regard is shown in this policy for the long debunked gateway and addictiveness theories or the proven minimal health risk to adult users. The self righteous amongst us will cry out in disgust at the thought of legalizing dagga for adults, as they take to arms and proceed to use the youth as a moral shield for their subjective and oppressive beliefs while simultaneously denying that their misguided efforts are exposing youngsters to hard drugs and diverting valuable resources away from actual dire social issues that also pertain to the youth who they so vehemently claim to be protecting. In order to substantiate their firm beliefs they will compare relaxing at home with a brownie or joint to acts of murder, rape, domestic violence and theft… their views doing little more than echo amongst each other in the empty space left by the absence of substance and moral fiber.
It is time to swallow the bitter pill of acceptance, exit denial and find a way forward that is based on evidence, harm reduction, consistency and a spoonful of common sense to help the medicine go down.
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