Med-Pot a hard Pill to swallow
Candor Trust Press Release
Med-Pot a hard Pill to swallow
The Greens' announcement they shall delay debating Metiria Tureis' Bill in Parliament until 2007, to allow the Community time to consider issues is welcomed by Candor Trust.
The Road Safety Advocacy group lately warned Ministry of Health that weighing the merits of the Medical Marijuana Bill, is putting the horse before the cart. Given Police may only drug test stoned drivers here by consent.
Almost half of deceased New Zealand drivers tested as part of an ongoing Police study had used cannabis. 'The Kiwi situation is one of marijuana mayhem, it's one of the most tragic' says Rachael Ford, (CT Spokesperson).
With a young Mum, recently killed in a truck collision just after dropping her child to school in Tasman, being just one example of a regular kind of event nowadays.
'Recent smokers are up to 7x more likely to crash after even sole use, add some alcohol or another risk drug to the equation and risk shoots well above the legal alcohol limit, to about 100x normal'.
Studies are revealing the interaction between pot and driving is more complex than previously realised, as an inert Government is aware. 'Our abyssmal toll statistics are fueled by lack of dope related risk education', says Ms Ford.
'The Med Pot Bill as written, is no grand plan for better population health. It conflicts with Governments' injury prevention goals - in failing to address road safety implications'.
A Bill that also seeks looser controls on Marijuana was balloted in Nevada this month. One backed by Billionaire Peter Lewis, once busted in NZ for possession. It enables 21 year olds to have an ounce, in a State in which Med-pot is already licit.
The Nevada Bill doubles penalties for driving impaired causing injury or death to a maximum of 40 years. As Americans understand better than Kiwis how pot affects driving. Appeals against such convictions have been taken to Supreme Court, and lost on the scientific evidence.
Deterrents for those confident they can drive stoned, along with meaningful enforcement of relevant laws are non existent 'Down Under', Candor claim. The average time served behind bars if any for killing while drug intoxicated (careless driving being the usual charge), is in the realm of one month to around a year.
Candor's main concerns about the Med-Pot Plan
Issues of inconsistent dosing and quality control as it's smokable pot not pharmac approved tablets proposed as medication. Impacts upon driver's skills and duration of effect may be too unpredictable.
Some dope is worse for driving depending on strain and how it's processed. If users take other psychoactive pain medicines or use alcohol, ill impacts upon driving skills would be greatly compounded.
Dope is allowed in the Bill as a treatment for Mental Health Consumers despite that Cannabis is renowned for worsening conditions like psychotic illnesses. Which can severely impact driving ability.
Land Transport NZ lacks a suitable structure to ensure even current users of risky drugs, who abuse them don't pose a risk on the road. Overly heavy use by self medicating drivers is unstoppable. Which matters because crash risk is 'dose dependent'.
Candor acknowledge that Medical Marijuana could be a more road user friendly pain medication than options like methadone. Due to the shorter half life, and no comparable risk of sudden death from an overdose while at the wheel. A problem that led to a Kiwi Trucky running off road not long ago.
'But our Members naturally look askance at a Bill that recommends growing your own (not pills), asks Police to deal out, and practically asks them to water the seeds. It almost seems tongue in cheek', says Ms Ford.
'The risk of teens getting their hands on weed isn't positive for road safety. Pills are easier counted than leafy stuff, so we'd like to see detonating lock box use made mandatory'.
Candor believes that smoking in transit or driving while stoned on prescription pot must become offences likely to be prosecuted, if Drs are to go doping.