As a libertarian I strongly believe in people making their own decisions as to how they live their lives. Some people are risk-takers seeking, in the case of say self-employment, a higher than standard income and the dignity they feel in being their own master. Others seek the security of employment at the price of a lesser material living standard.
Some opt for physically risky sports such as mountaineering or boxing; others golf and tennis.
Some over-indulge with alcohol, others shun it altogether because of its potential adverse health effects.
I judge none of them, each to their own being my motto.
So given all of that, why will I be voting against making cannabis legal in the coming referendum?
The cold hard fact is that regular cannabis use has serious proven detrimental health effects.
The term “recreational users” I accept for folk who have an occasional joint and for whom the effect, as with a glass or two of wine, is presumably therapeutic.
My problem with this is it’s not an “each to their own situation,” rather with many (30% of all users according to a study) cannabis quickly becomes an addiction, particularly with younger folks, thus the cost of the subsequent mental and physiological health problems inevitably falls on taxpayers.
To all of that a critic will say to be consistent I should call for a ban on alcohol. Alcohol is a regular part of most of our lives, only with a key difference. 30% of alcohol imbibers do not end up in a permanently damaged state at a cost to everyone else.
An American alliance including community organisations, health professionals, educators, police and addiction counsellors formed to educate voters on diverse issues confronting society, have published excellent research on cannabis usage.
Google them at Sam.org/who-are-we. They’re an impressive line-up.
Then Google SAM-NZ which will lead on to many sources of pertinent evidence on cannabis.
Currently more than 50% of New Zealanders are unable to survive without dependency on their fellow men via government welfare.
There’s a variety of individual reasons, some acceptable in a brothers’ keepers sense but far too many others are categorisable as addictive parasitism.
Why would we want to encourage a new crop of dependency no-hopers?
So as a libertarian I will vote against to protect my own liberty from financial assaults by wilful self-destructible types. Furthermore, I’ll wager this referendum will fail, just as the euthanasia one will succeed.