Australia’s Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull was featured on a recent Facebook Live video dismissing the idea of legalizing marijuana.
Speaking from inside a pub with a beer in his hands, the prime minister explained that “Whatever people thought 30, 40 years ago about marijuana – it is not a harmless drug. … It is a very strong and dangerous drug.”
Few things piss me off more than cigarette smokers and beer drinkers lecturing me on the safety of my marijuana use. The interviewer even brings up the fact that alcohol is a dangerous drug that we’re allowing everyone in that room to consume with nary a care, only to hear Turnbull essentially wave off any discussion of that point to reiterate that “it is not something we want people to engage in, we want people to do, and I think it should remain illegal.”
Maddeningly, the prime minister even acknowledges that he believes he and most Australians should remain criminals, admitting that “I’ve tried it in the past, I’m sure you have, most people have.”
Why should the prime minister be so opposed to cannabis, when he himself has personal experience with it and should know better? Because that was the old marijuana, not the super-potent ultra-skunkity-skunk of today! “The use of it causes a lot of mental illness,” he explained, “a lot of problems.”
Well, if mental illness risks are the justification for treating drug users as criminals, it’s time to slap the cuffs on the prime minister for the drug he’s consuming on camera.
According to the state government of Victoria, Australia, “Around 37% of people who report problems with alcohol also have a co-occurring anxiety and/or mood disorder. The risk of having a mental illness is around four times higher for people who drink alcohol heavily.”
Over in the UK, their Mental Health Foundation states, “Mental health problems not only result from drinking too much alcohol, they can also cause people to drink too much.”
And here in the States, our National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism says, “Heavy drinking associated with alcoholism can coexist with, contribute to, or result from several different psychiatric syndromes.”
Under Turnbull, marijuana is going to remain illegal and its users remain criminals. Meanwhile, 8-out-of-10 Aussies aged 18 and older will drink alcohol this year, according to the World Health Organization. Their figures also show that Aussies consumed 12.2 liters of alcohol per capita in 2010, the highest rate of drinking in any English-speaking country (19th worldwide).
Here in America, we consume 9.2 liters per capita (49th worldwide) and only 7-out-of-10 Yanks aged 18 and older will drink alcohol this year. And according to a couple of studies reported in Forbes, “counties located in medical marijuana states showed almost a 15 percent reduction in monthly alcohol sales” and “in legal adult use cannabis states, the number binge drinking sessions per month (for states legal through 2016) was -9% below the national average.”
So, keep enjoying that Evil Eye Red IPA, Mr. Turnbull. You do you. I judge no man on the substances he consumes. But don’t you dare try to lecture me about the harmfulness of cannabis while you consume the drug contributing to 30 percent of Australia’s traffic deaths, 70,000 assaults (24,000 of them domestic violence), and $36 billion in annual social costs.