Pubdate: Mon, 26 Jul 2004
Source: Daily News, The (South Africa)
Copyright: 2004 The Daily News.
Author: Mary De Haas


I was surprised to read of a new medical study in America linking the
use of cannabis to mental illness, given that successive studies in
England and America, from the late 19th century onwards, had shown
that cannabis (especially relative to alcohol) was essentially harmless.

However, I now learn that even the weed has not escaped genetic
modification - which could, of course, explain the reported effects on
the experimental subjects.

The use and abuse of alcohol and drugs has been extensively studied,
cross-culturally, by anthropologists, and it is common knowledge that
drug prohibition has nothing to do with health and everything to do
with politics and economics.

Legislation criminalising cannabis use is a prime example, since the
main ingredient of the plant (allegedly linked to psychosis) forms the
basis for an extremely lucrative drug which is used to treat
HIV/-Aids, cancer and a variety of other serious illnesses.

It sells for more than R100 a tablet; so it is well beyond the reach
of those who are most in need of it - impoverished HIV/Aids infected

That they should be criminalised for growing and in-gesting it for
free, while pharmaceutical companies are growing it legally, is
absolutely iniquitous.

Since what is effectively cannabis is obviously a preferred treatment
for those First World people who can afford it, I fail to understand
why the government has not decriminalised it - and why the Treatment
Action Cam-paign has not channelled its considerable energy in that

Mary De Haas

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