If your friends were jumping into a fire would you do it as well? 

Many of us may remember being asked this question by our parents when we were younger, usually after having blindly followed our friends into some mischievous act or another. This simple anecdote is very suitable when considering the argument for legalization stated above.

Why should we as a nation blindly follow the lead of other countries who have relaxed or removed laws against dagga? Why should we be dictated to by others? Why should we “fall in line” with international trends? Why should South Africa not act independently and with wisdom and caution, with its own best interests taken into consideration, as opposed to making rash decisions based on nothing more than the fact that “everyone else is doing it?”

In many nations the negative results of new, more relaxed drug laws are already beginning to rear their head only shortly after legalisation has been implemented.

Several near fatal incidents have been reported where children ingested dagga laced sweets or chocolates which are now legal in certain states in the U.S.A. 

A report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area entitled “The Legalization of Marijuana in Colorado: The Impact,” paints a clear picture of the impact of legalized dagga in Colorado, U.S.A:

1. The majority of DUI drug arrests involve marijuana and 25 to 40 percent were marijuana alone.

2. In 2012, 10.47 percent of Colorado youth ages 12 to 17 were considered current marijuana users compared to 7.55 percent nationally. Colorado ranked fourth in the nation, and was 39 percent higher than the national average.

3. Drug-related student suspensions/expulsions increased 32 percent from school years 2008-09 through 2012-13, the vast majority were for marijuana violations.

4. In 2012, 26.81 percent of college age students were considered current marijuana users compared to 18.89 percent nationally, which ranks Colorado third in the nation and 42 percent above the national average.

5. In 2013, 48.4 percent of Denver adult arrestees tested positive for marijuana, which is a 16 percent increase from 2008.

6. From 2011 through 2013 there was a 57 percent increase in marijuana-related emergency room visits.

7. Hospitalizations related to marijuana has increased 82 percent since 2008.

In the Netherlands “coffee shops” are being shut down after efforts to control or regulate dagga failed, as well as due to the proximity of these cafés to schools. 1 Legalization only served to attract the criminal element and “drug tourists,” and along with them a variety of other drugs and vices. 

With such clear evidence of the catastrophic results of poor judgment, why would we as South Africans wish to follow “international trends?” Why would any country wish to bring about their own demise by creating a nation of drug addicts?
The damage caused through the legalization of dagga in other countries is not hard to spot, despite the smoke screens that are thrown up by pro-legalization lobbyists to cover up these blunders. Yet we still seem to be considering the legalization of this drug despite all the warning signs.

Why fear a “third world war” or a nuclear holocaust when we are staring a dagga holocaust in the face, and seem intent on bringing about our own destruction through the legalization of this drug.

It seems that “international trends” are the very thing that we as South Africans should avoid at any cost, before we end up in the same sinking ship with all of those nations who have already made the mistake of legalizing dagga.