Hon Speaker, in response to recent polls and suggestions that the legalisation and regulation of the sale of "dagga" could reduce the negative impact on the criminal drug trade, the ACDP has raised concerns that the serious problems facing our country due to the abuse of alcohol and illegal drugs will not be seriously dealt with if reduced to a matter of whether or not "dagga" should be legalised.
The tragic impact on individuals, families and communities experienced and witnessed daily will not stop until this government gets serious about crushing the drug trade from every angle. Making illegal drugs legal will only exacerbate the problem. Cannabis advocators allege benefits of marijuana use with little or no scientific basis. "Dagga" contains chemicals that affect the brain, heart and lungs, thereby slowing down the central nervous system. It stays in the body for weeks, stored in fat. It is addictive, causes decreased motivation, resulting in poor achievement, can adversely affect fertility and causes negative social behaviours at home and at school.
In addition, smoking any substance causes the smoker to inhale cancer- causing substances. It is for this reason that no medicine is administered by smoking it. The legal status of marijuana was downgraded in Britain in 2005 to a less dangerous Class C drug. In 2008, the legal status of marijuana was re-upgraded again to a more dangerous Class B drug. Holland is backtracking after having legalised cannabis for some years. Once legalised the government was unable to separate the criminal in the drug trade from the legal cannabis trade.
To say that the legalisation and regulation of the sale of dagga could reduce the negative impact of the criminal drug trade in our country is in our opinion irresponsible and the ACDP calls on government to do all it can. Thank you. [Time expired.]