Cannabis reform ‘normalises’ the drug, rehab groups and psychiatrists warn

Caritas, the Oasi Foundation and the Association of Psychiatrists say they are ‘seriously concerned about proposed cannabis reform • Reform gives stronger voice to pro-legalisation lobby

Drug rehab groups say government proposals for a liberalised cannabis market can harm society
Drug rehab groups say government proposals for a liberalised cannabis market can harm society

Cannabis use will be “normalised” under the proposed government reform and this creates problems for society, drug rehab groups and the Association of Psychiatrists warn.

Caritas, the Oasi Foundation and the psychiatrists’ group said they were “seriously concerned” over the reforms proposed in the White Paper for the Responsible Use of Cannabis.

The groups said the proposed legislation appears to be giving a stronger voice to those who want to use cannabis liberally.
“The proposed law is a reflection of the lost battle against the cannabis culture and gives little protection to those who can suffer serious consequences from cannabis use – individuals and families that are dependent on cannabis and other drugs; adoloscents and those at risk of devekoping mental health problems,” the groups said.

They warned that society will have to face the consequences of this shift in emphasis on cannabis.

“This is harmful to the brains of adolescents since we know that this substance causes serious problems in a developing mind,” the organisations said.

The relaxation of laws allowing 7g of possession for personal use, will make it harder for people dependent on the drug to find the necessary help currently offered through the Drug Offenders Tribunal and rehab board.

“In a contemporary culture where people entertain themselves with the use of alcohol and the mixing of substances, one cannot but think whether the proposed law will lead to greater use of cannabis and other substances,” the groups said.

They added that if the proposals become law, a substantial investment in treatment will be required.

The groups also questioned how enforcement will be carried out to ensure that cannabis is not used in front of children at home.

The organisations said they agreed that cannabis users should not be sent to prison and have their criminal record linked to such arrests expunged.

The proposed reform will legalise the possession of 7g of cannabis for personal use, allow an individual to grow four plants at home and will eventually introduce a system of controlled sale of cannabis.

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