Cannabis myths

4 myths about legal cannabis supporters

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There’s a strange stigma surrounding supporters of cannabis legalisation – usually it’s the one that discards their beliefs as stoner ramblings. In this article, we wanted to undo some fear-mongering by debunking four myths about Australians who support the legalisation of cannabis. 

Myth #1 – All cannabis supporters are stoners

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone who supports the legalisation of cannabis has a taste for the stuff. The Institute of Health and Welfare’s (AIHW) 2019 drug survey asked 22,274 Aussies aged 14+ whether cannabis should be legalised. Over 41% of those people said ‘yes’, but only 11.6% of them had used cannabis in the past twelve months

We see the same pattern with medical cannabis. The AIHW’s 2016 drug survey found that 76% of Australians support medical cannabis. Three years later, the 2019 survey found that only 2.7% of the general population use cannabis for medical purposes. 

When we forget anti-stoner propaganda for a second and really think about this, two things become clear. 

  1. You don’t have to use a substance to believe other people should be free to enjoy it – at least if you’re a rational person
  2. Australia’s cannabis supporters care more about the institutional issues surrounding cannabis prohibition than they do about getting the green light to get high

Myth #2 – Cannabis supporters are doing Big Pharma’s bidding

Fear around “Big Pharma” is at an all-time high, with New Zealand’s Say No To Dope campaign capitalising on this fear with the slogan “Same corporates. Same objectives. Same addiction. New product.” 

But is this accurate?

It’s true that many large pharmaceutical companies are investing in medical cannabis (because it’s a new medicine and they sell, uh, medicine), but it’s not true to say that cannabis supporters are doing Big Pharma’s bidding. 

Global pharmaceutical company’s Purdue, Pfizer, Abbott Laboratories, Alkermes and Janssen Pharmaceutical (a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary) have all famously funded anti-cannabis groups, including anti-pot powerhouse Project SAM. Pharmaceutical company Insys Therapeutics was so bold they became Arizona’s anti-legalization campaign’s largest donor, donating over $US500,000.

In Australia, the leader of the HEMP party Michael Balderstone believes Big Pharma wants to keep cannabis criminalised to prevent losing market share.

Besides, research has long confirmed that medical cannabis is an effective substitute for big pharma’s favourite drug: opioids. With 3.1 million Australians using opioids in 2016-17, why would big pharma risk replace such a lucrative drug with a little leaf?

Myth #3 – Only young people care about cannabis 

Like most myths, this one is grounded in a (tiny) bit of truth. When the AIHW studied Australians who used cannabis in the past twelve months, the majority (57%) of users were aged 20 to 39. However, 18.2% of cannabis users are aged 50 and older. That’s nearly 1 in 5 cannabis users. 

Data from New Zealand also tells us that many older people support cannabis legalisation, even if they don’t publicly campaign for it. In a post-referendum survey from New Zealand, it was reported that 29.92% of Kiwi’s aged 65+ and 42.13% of 50 – 64 year-olds voted “yes”. That’s not a majority, but it’s also not an insignificant number. 

Remember – many of Australia’s cannabis raiders are still alive today, and it’s unlikely they’ve lost interest in their dream drug. 

Myth #4 – Cannabis supporters want to make cannabis use widespread

Anti-cannabis advocates have long claimed that cannabis supporters want everyone to use cannabis. This is far from accurate. 

Take our Canadian cousins as an example. The recreational use of cannabis was legalised in 2018, but data from the Canadian government shows the country did not descend into reefer madness – despite widespread support for the drug. 

While the number of Canadians who had tried cannabis increased by 2%, the number of daily cannabis users did not change, staying at 1.8 million people (6% of the population). 

Contrary to popular belief, people support cannabis because of the economic, environmental and societal benefits of legalisation, not because they want to turn Australia into New-dubie-land. 

At the end of the day, scaremongering about cannabis supporters is a cheap ploy that seeks to dismiss pro-cannabis arguments without having to directly debunk them. No matter your stance on cannabis, debate can’t hurt you: but fear-mongering will. 

Stay informed with the latest cannabis news in Australia.

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4 Comments

  1. I agree, most of the information regarding cannabis is a myth, propaganda…. bullshit, and it’s all about money!

    The alcohol industry is fearful of their industry being affected, big pharma about their profits, the government about their tax revenue.

    The reality is cannabis is a medicinal herb that is virtually non toxic. No deaths to my knowledge. Something that can’t be said about alcohol and big pharma’s products, maybe they should be worried?

    It shall be grown by the masses, by seed, with love.

    It won’t make you fearless like alcohol, probably the opposite, it will magnify your fears. But it will also amplify other emotions such as love , empathy, etc.

    Big pharma, big anything needs to be taken out of the cannabis equation, there is no need for strict regulation on cannabis. Transparency, research, clinical trials, wold be nice to see more of.

    So much anecdotal evidence supporting cannabis being a safe medicine for various types of cancer, are we really looking for a cure, I wonder?

    For 15 years Dr Cristina Sanchez, who discovered that cannabis destroyed cancerous cells, could only perform pre clinical trials. The powers that be would not condone clinical trials on people, this is the “bullshit” part.

    Remove the $ from cannabis, allow personal growth, cannabis does not need TGA regulation! it’s not a dangerous drug, it’s a safe medicinal herb. NO deaths, NO regulation.

    Playing rugby or a contact sport is far more detrimental to ones health that cannabis.

    It’s just really stupid, evil.

    • CORRECTION: I agree with Steve below that the Government won’t be happy losing some of it’s alcohol revenue, but I think this wiil be off-set to a great extent by the new Marijuana Revenue Tax for manufacture & sales of the product.

  2. BABY-BOOMERS UNITE!

    Like the majority of people who want legalisation I agree totally with everything written in these posts However, we need to get this info. out to the masses. How we do this, I don’t know? How did the “same sex marriage” forum eventually “win” We need to emphasise the Cannabis V Alcohol V Tobacco debate. I gave up alcohol 5 years ago after drinking heavily for 45 years (I am now 71) I have nothing at all against alcohol drinkers, as a matter of fact I am the only non-drinker in my family & friends ( I now drink 0% alcohol & wine) Growing up as a baby boomer, in my case in the music industry, I smoked dope for a couple of years, as did a lot of my friends & there are no doubt other boomers out there who did & now feel the same way I do. I’m pretty sure it had no profound effect on me (the last time I looked I didn’t have 2 heads!) We need to educate people that the legality of cannabis will markedly lower the incidence of crime , including murder, muggings, glassings, drug dealing, cartels & & other associated offences. Of course the likes of Dan Murphys & BWS will be up in arms but they might have to foresake their huge profits until they manage to get a Cannabis Sales Licence (maybe rebrand as Dannabis Murphys)

    Of course a great benefit will be increased tax revenue which can be used for Health Generally (incl.of course the savings on liver & lung surgery & associated diseases) : Education & the War against the Manufacture & Dealing of Hard Drugs. The other benefits are manifold & too many to mention here.

    LEGALISE CANNABIS FOR A HAPPIER, SAFER, FRIENDLIER WORLD

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Stay informed with the latest cannabis news in Australia.

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