TWO of Tamworth’s leading figures in the fight against drugs have condemned calls to legalise marijuana as “negligent and irresponsible”.
Oxley Local Area Command acting Superintendent Jeff Budd and councillor, businessman and anti-drugs campaigner Warren Woodley are united in their opposition.
Debate over the merits of marijuana prohibition has raged in the days since the US state of Colorado courted controversy by legalising the drug for recreational use. The move has given added impetus to long-running campaigns by pro-pot groups, such as the HEMP Party, for the drug to be stripped of its criminal status.
But Acting Superintendent Budd is unequivocal in his belief that marijuana not only has serious health impacts, but is a major factor behind many crimes.
“The evidence of the damage that is caused by cannabis use is clear: it destroys lives through increasing psychosis and stupefying habitual users,” he said.
“Ask any police officer or ambulance officer, the people at the coalface of society’s problems, and they will confirm the damage cannabis causes.
“It is also a major contributor to property crime as offenders steal property through break-and-enter offences or stealing to purchase cannabis and other drugs.
“We know from recent data that one in six drivers tested in NSW for drug use while driving returned
positive results; that is a frightening statistic. That any organisation or body would consider a social experiment with drug use on a comunity is negligent and irresponsible.”
Mr Woodley has been preaching about the dangers of cannabis use for more than 25 years, both here and abroad.
He said he regarded the gamble Colorado was taking, especially with the lives of its young citizens, as “criminal” and “disgusting”.
“It destroys people’s brains. The government can’t allow young people to ruin their lives just to save money,” he said.