Cannabis users need more empathy but leading rehab groups warn against legalisation

Drug rehab groups, pyschiatrists and government agency issue warning on cannabis legalisation

Drug rehab groups oppose cannabis legalisation
Drug rehab groups oppose cannabis legalisation

Legalising cannabis sends out the message the drug is not harmful and makes it more difficult for people dependent on it to stop, four leading organisations have warned.

Caritas, a church offshoot that offers drug rehabilitation programmes, Fondazzjoni Oasi, a rehab facility in Gozo, government agency Sedqa and the Association of Psychiatry warned of the dangers to health caused by cannabis.

They were reacting to renewed pressure for cannabis use to be legalised after police arrested a couple who were smoking a joint in a hotel room over the weekend.

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The organisations agreed that more sensibility had to be shown towards cannabis users and they should not be sent to prison.

However, they said legalisation would “normalise” cannabis and insisted that the black market for marijuana would adapt to offer more powerful substances or at a cheaper price.

The organisations called for greater powers to the Commissioner for Justice that was introduced in 2014 to deal with first-time drug users.

They also called for more discretionary powers to the judiciary in deciding what constituted trafficking in the case of drug addicts.

But they also called for greater discipline and enforcement on entertainment establishments and more incentives for families to involve their children in sports and extracurricular activities.

The groups urged for a proper evaluation of the impact legalisation of cannabis could have on society’s wellbeing.

“While we recognise that not everyone who uses cannabis becomes dependent on it, and nobody should be arrested for simple possession, as a society we have to properly evaluate that which better ensures society’s wellbeing and prioritise the health of our children and adolescents, families and the common good,” the organisations said.