People around the world are focused on the upcoming US election, and for good reason. But in two weeks’ time we have our own election coming up, and I already know who I’m voting for! This time around, things are a little different though. Alongside the usual party vote options, there are two referendums which we can vote for. These are the End of Life Choice Act, and the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill. The End of Life Choice Act allows someone with a terminal illness to request assisted dying, while the Cannabis Bill will make cannabis legal to consume for people over 20; yeah… cannabis isn’t legal at all here. If either of these acts gets over 50% approval, then it is highly likely they will come into force. There are many people who seem to kick up a ‘moral panic’ over these proposed bills, so what are my thoughts on them?
My thoughts on the End of Life Choice Act.
I have written about euthanasia here before, so it shouldn’t be surprising that I support this bill. Here’s the thing, there are still a lot of criteria which have to be met before someone can request assisted dying. They must have a terminal illness, be experiencing suffering that cannot be eased, and they must be able to make an informed decision about it. If someone is dying anyway then I think it is cruel to extend their suffering. Vocal detractors use loaded words like ‘assisted suicide’ to describe this, which is very disingenuous. For one, someone can’t request assisted dying for mental health reasons alone. So it doesn’t allow anyone who feels like ending their life to do so… I’m pretty sure no one wants that.
My thoughts on the Cannabis Legislation and Control Bill.
First let’s talk about my thoughts on cannabis itself. I used to occasionally smoke cannabis, but I haven’t done so for a long time. It has been more than 10 years. For many, it is an enjoyable way to relax. I don’t have much interest in consuming cannabis now, even if it were made legal. From a health perspective, it is much safer overall than some widely legal drugs such as nicotine and alcohol. Having said that, cannabis does have its issues. It has negative impacts on one’s short term memory, cognitive abilities, and motivation, these may persist for a period even after one has sobered up. For some users, it may trigger panic attacks and psychosis like symptoms, which is the opposite to what you’re after! I should emphasise that it depends on how often one consumes it, and the individual themselves. I would approach it the same way that one approaches alcohol. Most people won’t have issues if they have the occasional smoke, but if you abuse it then it will abuse you. If you work in a job that requires a lot of problem solving and thinking, then it may not be the best idea to be consuming frequently.
Okay now that’s out of the way, should cannabis be made legal? Despite its risks, yes. Firstly, it can be better regulated and won’t be sold by organised criminals. Ideally this would make it safer to consume, and with better quality control. I also believe that people should be able to enjoy cannabis in their own home, should they want to. However, I also think it’s important that people are supplied honest information about cannabis, so they can make an informed decision. Scare mongering is bad, but so is promoting mistruths that weed is harmless. Finally, I will add that many people are worried that legalisation would encourage more people to consume it recklessly, particularly young people. Fair enough, except that cannabis use is incredibly prevalent in my country already. Making it illegal hasn’t deterred many people. Even if you don’t like cannabis, I think that making it legal will have better consequences overall for society, than if it wasn’t legal. Will that actually happen? I guess we will see.
Some questions for YOU.
What are your thoughts on assisted dying and cannabis legislation, and why do you feel that way? Post down in the comments, if you don’t mind.
Cover Image Source: NZ Electoral Commission.