Suggestions by the AMA today that herbal smoking mixes containing cannabinoid substances should be banned, fly in the face of last week’s findings by the Global Commission on Drug Policy, that governments should end prohibition on personal possession of drugs – especially marihuana.
Australian Sex Party President, Fiona Patten, said that the AMA call was being morally driven without any recourse to the broader effects of prohibition in the community. ”Doctors should not avoid sociology and criminology in making medical policy ”, she said.
“If the substance known as Kronic is banned today, there will be a dozen new synthetic compounds on the market within a month and governments will then have to introduce legislation to ban each one of these”, she said. “The producers of these drugs can make literally hundreds of slightly different derivatives each time the state bans one and all that will happen is that in a year’s time we will have hundreds of these drugs chemically identified and on the black market”.
Ms Patten said that it was astounding that intelligent men and women who both prescribed and dealt with the effects of drugs every day, would make such an irresponsible statement. “Surely these doctors have seen the effects of prohibition of alcohol in the US during the 1920s and surely they have been able to digest the effects of Portugal’s decriminalisation of all drugs only a few years ago. In Portugal the use of drugs has actually declined particularly in the critical age group 13-18 years as have deaths and injuries due to drug use".
“The New Zealand government regulated the sale of these drugs last year because when they banned two of them they found that within months there were 80 similar but chemically different compounds in the marketplace”, she said.
Ms Patten said that many people were preferring to smoke the herbal mixtures rather than cannabis because they were milder. “Government has had the good fortune to have these products being sold mainly from age restricted premises where minors are policed very strongly but are about to send them into the clutches of suburban drug dealers where children will have access to them. It doesn’t take a lot of intelligence to understand the process of supply and sale here”.
She said that these substances should be strictly regulated in regards to their advertising, packaging, dosage. "Governments and the AMA have to shed their desire to make moral statements through drug laws and simply do whatever is necessary to limit the use of drugs in the community and avoid feeding organised crime in the process."
“Prohibition is a complete failure with drugs and governments have to tell church and morals groups to forget the ideology in favour of public health”.