The dangers of dagga?
This morning I stumbled across an article in the Health24 section of News24, titled The dangers of doping. This article not only left a bad taste in my mouth, it terrified me that a 21st century online news source such as News24 could have such a limited and archaic view on cannabis/dagga/marijuana.
The article touched briefly on the recent doping charges of a local sportsman, but somehow seemed to miss the largest danger of doping.
The usual anti-dagga rhetoric was consistent throughout the article; such as “dagga shrinks the brain”, “quitting dagga is as hard as cigarettes”, “depressed teens vulnerable to dagga”, “dope deadly after heart attack”, “dagga not effective painkiller”. All of these points reflect how out of touch dagga prohibition laws and News24 are with reality.
The truth is glaringly obvious and has become even more so over the decades. The Internet and Social Media have been a catalyst for the truth regarding the failings dagga prohibition and I would have expected News24, given its dependency on these media formats and the access its readers have to these media, to publish a balanced article.... rather than parrot a view that would find itself nicely at home in the 1970’s. The myths surrounding the dangers of dagga use have long been dispelled and the cat is well and truly out of the bag. I am not going to waste my time repeating the obvious or reinventing a wheel that smarter people than me have already perfected, have a look at this article for some enlightenment into the myths surrounding dagga use.
What I’d like to discuss here is the poor sportsman who has dedicated most of his life to perfecting his craft and is now staring down the barrel of having his life destroyed not by the dagga he is alleged to have used, but by the disciplinary and potential criminal charges he now faces in the name of an obviously flawed policy of prohibiting the ingesting of a plant that could in no way be viewed as a performance enhancing drug for anything else than perhaps a hotdog eating contest.
Even if we take every single false accusation made about the dangers of using dagga, accusations that are propped up by little more than speculative studies that have found little footing in nearly 100 hundred years of attempting to finally find a demon in the weed, the claimed potential harms of dagga use pale in comparison to the dangers of many legal substances such as tobacco, alcohol, carbonated soda’s, processed foods, etc, etc, etc. Ironically, the national team for which this sportsman played is sponsored by company which brews a substance which is responsible for millions of deaths a year.... alcohol. While there is not a single recorded case of dagga ever killing a single person.
It was truly disappointing to visit my favourite news source this morning and see that logic and subjective reporting has been discarded for propaganda and fear mongering.
The greatest dangers of dagga use are that because of its prohibition; users will be exposed to other drugs by dealers when scoring some grass, children will continue to be soft targets for dealers as they own the dagga market, the black market will still cash in huge profits from dagga sales, thousands of non-violent dagga users will be imprisoned at huge expense to the South African taxpayers and a misconception will continue to be created in young minds when they find out firsthand that dagga is not the devil weed dictated by the authorities, leaving them to make the same assumption of all drugs... even the ones that are actually dangerous. All of this because of a clearly illogical and hypocritical law.
The true crime regarding this poor sportsman is not that he ingested an “illegal” plant, but that his life may go down the drain not as a result of ingesting the plant. The true crime is that even in the face of scientific and empirical facts, the astounding hypocrisy, the unsubstantiated law and the view that in some warped way dagga is a performance enhancing drug.... this young man will become just another butterfly squashed under the wheel of dagga prohibition.
I look forward to hopefully soon seeing a dagga article from News24 that doesn’t focus on the speculative ambiguities of dagga use, but instead focuses on the facts of a failed policy of dagga prohibition and the human casualties of this senseless policy.
For more information on the dagga scene in South Africa, visit:
Culture - www.belowthelion.co.za
Activism - www.daggacouple.co.za
Activism and medical - www.norml.org.za
Politics - www.daggaparty.co.za
Hemp – www.hemporium.com
General – www.weed.co.za
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