25 September 2008

Drugs, Politicians, and the Rest of Us

Ever since Bill Clinton uttered those famous words that amounted to a confession to having indulged on only one occasion to the smoking of marijuana but not inhaling, people have undoubtedly been paying more attention to the youthful pasts of our politicians.

It seems that this has not escaped the Australian political scene. The new leader of the Federal Liberal Party, Malcolm Turnbull (photo Glen McCurtayne), has confessed to having indulged himself. He did not go so far as to say that unlike some others he in fact inhaled but that was clearly the gist on the confession.

Unfortunately, he went on to imply that it was a youthful indiscretion and that the drug is harmful and it was a mistake to smoke it. He was right in suggesting that many people have smoked it and many continue to do so.

He is not the first Australian politician to admit a youthful past that involved smoking a bit of wacky weed. It is fun to imagine Wayne Swan, Peter Garrett, and Tony Abbott, among others, to be sitting around passing the joint or bong around with their mates. It all seems so normal, they seem almost real and not just politicians in nice suits.

If the drug is damaging then the onus would apparently be on the government to ban all damaging drugs or at the very least restrict their access to the scientific labs of the world. In this sense the government should be moving swiftly to list tobacco and alcohol as restricted drugs and / or substances. If it does not then it makes a mockery of the prohibition on marijuana.

Marijuana needs to be legalized so that it can be better managed. The revenue boost from taxes would also be a benefit. The government could then divert a proportion of the marijuana revenue stream to scientific and medical research. Then we could get definitive answers to questions on whether there is any real medical benefit from smoking marijuana for those with long-term illness and suffering chronic pain.

I look forward to the day when a politician steps up to the plate and says something like this, "Yeah, I smoked marijuana in my youth! It really did not do anything for me, there was none of the famed munchies or anything else, so I gave it away!"

Then going on to say, "Now, that said, I have friends who swear by the benefits in terms of keeping them relaxed and happy".

And then finishing with, "I really don't see the need to keep the drug illegal! I would think that better controls over the drug would reduce drug crime related to marijuana and this has to be a good thing for us as a community. The additional revenue would also allow us to direct more money to research!"

The icing on the cake would be a party leader taking this to an election as part of the party platform.

I guess it is time for me to go home and reactivate my wanna be political career. I think I could make this part of my platform!

1 comment:

site said...

Gosh, there is really much worthwhile data here!