The recent incident where a female learner from Siyaphambili High School in Orange Farm, Johannesburg, ended up in the ICU after accidentally purchasing and ingesting Cannabis (dagga) muffins at school, poses a grave warning to what South Africans can expect if the decriminalisation or legalisation of Cannabis is allowed, says Doctors For Life International (DFL) in a media statement.
DFL who together with seven government departments, are defendants in the trial in the Gauteng High Court in Pretoria in which the so-called dagga coupe Julian Stobbs and Myrtle Clarke (together with one other) are challenging dagga laws, released the statement on the eve of the start of the third week of the case today.
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They warn the government that any slackening of legislation on the prohibition of dagga “may open a floodgate that may be difficult, if not impossible to close again”.
The media release continues: “Statistics from Colorado and Washington State departments for 2016, where Cannabis has been legalised demonstrate that:
- In Colorado hospitalisation related to Cannabis has increased over 70% since legalisation, at an average rate of over 30% per year.
- Colorado State now ranks number one in Cannabis use in the USA.
- Regular Cannabis use has gone up among 18 to 20 year olds in Washington State since legalisation.
- Washington State has more Cannabis businesses than Starbucks or McDonalds.
- Colorado has more Cannabis businesses than McDonalds and Starbucks combined.
- According to the Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman, criminals are still selling on the black market. There is plenty of cartel activity in Colorado and illegal activity has not decreased at all.
- The US Postal Service is seizing ever-larger amounts of black-market Colorado Cannabis bound for other states where Cannabis is illegal.
- The percentage of people who missed work during the past 30 days, “because (they) just didn’t want to be there”, were 7.4% of the overall population, 7.9% of alcohol users and 15% of Cannabis users.
- The percentage of Washington traffic fatalities where the driver tested positive for recent Cannabis use decreased from 13. 4% in 2011to 10.8% in 2013 and then increased to 22.1% in 2014 when Cannabis was decriminalised.
“In spite of the above statistics Colorado’s Cannabis lobby has been hard at work stacking the deck since legalisation passed in 2012, including:
“Blocking the legislation of illegal pesticides in Cannabis production to deter their use and promote Cannabis production.
- Suing over restrictions on Cannabis advertising targeting children.
- Proposing legislation to move regulatory authority from the Department of Revenue and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment, to a special committee packed with Cannabis industry representatives.
- Making it more difficult for local initiatives restricting Cannabis businesses to be represented on the ballot, by raising the threshold for signature collection from 5% to 15% of the voting electorate.
- Sponsoring an initiative in Colorado’s capital city (Denver) to allow Cannabis smoking in restaurants and cafés.
“We therefore urge the government not to open a door which would allow a floodgate that once opened will not be stopped again.”