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In Australia "the Victorian government, is introducing laws in December to allow families access to medicinal cannabis in exceptional circumstances. "

You have to be genuinely, deeply sick in Australia to be allowed to puff a joint. It's like living in the 1950's. So strange that Australia follows the world so quickly towards becoming more conservative and is so incredibly slow to become less conservative, even when our cultural leader, the U.S.A. is headed that way.


Sweden is regularly prosecuting and convicting elderly people who buy or grow, and use, to ease their pains and medical conditions. No consideration is taken for the very sick, or their stories about how it allows them to live a decent life.

Then again, with politicians like these: http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/07/sweden-justice-...

Yeah, she is clearly not intelligent like most ruling politicians in Sweden right now.

Like Bill Hicks said: "Why is marijuana against the law? It grows naturally on our planet, serves a thousand different functions, all of them positive. To make marijuana against the law is like saying that God made a mistake."[1]

I'm not huge in to this 'God' person, so replace 'God' with whatever is in fashion this week, the point stands.

It's wrong. Wrong wrong wrong. Harm reduction, we do it with alcohol. That's the solution. Make it a good drug, like caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine. By 'good' I mean 'taxed'.

1. https://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Bill_Hicks

As much as I am in favour of legalising and controlling drugs (as opposed to the current system) that is a horrible argument that Bill Hicks uses - opiates are legal however I firmly remain of the opinion that allowing recreational opiate use would be a terrible thing

I disagree with your phrasing but probably not with what you are meaning to say.

Substance abuse should not be illegal. Substance abuse is not a crime. Addiction is a mental health issue and addicts need to be treated as mentally unwell, not as criminals.

Ultimately some substances should be controlled (rather than simply banned) but it's important not to criminalize their (ab)use.

Even heroine is not worse than alcohol if one accounts for the total cost for society. For example, under alcohol one is much more likely to harm or kill another person than under opiats. So continuing to profit from sales of alcohol while making opiat use criminal is hypocrisy.

You may be roughly in the ballpark with what you are saying but you are in my opinion misconstruing the biggest part of this, and where my opinion stems from:

The damage caused per life affected is so unbelievably massive. Alcohol affects millions of lives to some small degree. Heroin affects a small number of lives to an unimaginable degree.

The WHO has a statistic on DALYs lost to etoh vs opiates and no doubt etoh causes a lot of early death and disability. However it is also the only restricted substance on the list that has a positive contribution to DALYs as well (through the beneficial effects of alcohol).

Apologies for not bringing up the source as I am on mobile and I last saw this slide in Med school

We can control and regulate the use of these things. In Australia a licence is required to operate a still, and excise is payable on distilled beverages[1]. We could have similar legislation in place for marijuana and opium and ephedra and mushrooms where you are allowed to possess not more than some specific quantity or not allowed to posses certain extracts / concentrations.

Speaking from personal experience it is conceivable that some people could responsibly use opium (and its derivatives) recreationally.

I mean, a person can go to a liquor store and buy more than enough alcohol to kill themselves and their football team, but we allow that because we recognise most people consume in moderation / act responsibly.

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alcohol_laws_of_Australia

I disagree about people being able to manage opiates responsibly.

Yes I have read the rolling stone or NYT articles describing people who hold down regular jobs and hit heroin once a day, and have done that for years. But what a fucked up life. You think they're doing that for fun?

Read my above comment regarding the methadone program. Look into the root of the problem. Opiates cannot be responsibly managed by the masses (OK, there's a reasonable argument to be made that either can alcohol).

I personally know 2 people who got sucked down the drain with opiates, and i am a white upper middle class Australian - these two guys were as well; one was a medical school buddy who has recently blown his license because of it despite being one of the most intelligent guys in my grade, the other was a guy I went to school with, the same thing, a pure genius, and he is dead.

Now every drug you take has a certain chance of causing addiction. Some people taste alcohol once and loose control. Some people get addicted to smoking. and some people will try heroin once and decide it's not for them, and get on with their lives. But do you know who are the ones who won't be able to stop? And when the consequences of getting addicted are literally flushing your entire life down the toilet, how can we as a society condone a section of ourselves to play this lottery?

Why would recreational opiate use be a terrible thing?

Would the world not be a better place if recreational crystal methamphetamine users had the option of legal recreational opiates (of known strength) instead?

I have worked in addiction services.

The fact of opiate abuse and addiction is that people almost never kick it.

The rate of methadone program increase in Australia is 5% a year at present. But heroin usage plateaued years ago.

Some small percentage of this increase is crossover from prescription opiates to methadone.

The increase comes entirely from new addicts who completely destroy their lives getting to the point where they decide to get in the program, and then never get off it.

You show me more than 5 examples of people who have successfully recovered from methadone and rebuilt successful lives in the whole of Sydney and I will eat my hat

It's decriminalised in SA, but they always change the bloody number of plants that are considered a commercial quantity. I don't think anyone gives a shit anyway, everyone here in Adelaide is puffing away anyway.

California started off that way, and now you can get your marijuana rec online. Medical marijuana is always the first step to more widespread acceptance.

Would you say it's a... gateway drug?


Although it's not legal in Vic, unless you're caught with a substantial amount or dealing then it's not really an issue for casual smokers. Enforcement is generally pretty lax.

Right, unless you happen to be a casual smoker who has the wrong color skin, or hurts a police officer's feelings, or criticizes a government official, etc.

The first one is definitely an issue, because then discriminatory bias governs what happens to the people caught in that gray area. That sucks, hard.

But for the other two? If you're smoking pot illegally and decide to be a jerk to the police... I'm not entirely sure I'd be sympathetic. They don't have to arrest you, but you don't have to be mean to them.

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