Another argument you will hear regularly from pro-legalization lobbyists is that dagga has never killed anyone, as opposed to other socially acceptable substances (which are legal), 'hard' drugs and even minibus taxis which kill thousands every year. What proponents of this argument seem to overlook is that the fact that while dagga may never have killed anyone directly (as far as they know), this still does not mean that it is harmless or safe for consumption. A substance that does not kill instantly can still be extremely dangerous over short and long-term periods in a multitude of other ways.
"Dagga has never killed anyone, anywhere, ever!" Perhaps it is true that nobody ever died whilst smoking a joint, but what of it? While dagga may never have killed anyone in the form of an overdose for example (although we have recently read of some very close calls involving children), there are many other ways in which it has proved fatal. Fatal car accidents where the driver was under the influence of dagga and which have resulted in the loss of life are already common on our roads. Increases in the rate of fatal motor accidents have almost doubled in the state of Colorado, USA, after the legalization of dagga in that state. In many cases, not only is the doped driver killed, but innocent people have become victims of the driver's 'right to put whatever they want to into their body'. Violent offenders in South Africa are regularly found to have been under the influence of dagga when they committed their offences, including murder. "A Chippewa Falls man whose daughter nearly died after eating a marijuana-laced chocolate bar faces three criminal charges", is a headline that appeared in the media recently. This despite supposed controls that have been put in place to control dagga since its legalization in parts of the United States.
The young girl ate a chocolate bar that was labelled "...225 mg of THC, 22.5 doses. Extremely potent. Do not eat all at once." This man's right do to whatever he wanted and to not be "nannied" nearly cost the life of his own daughter, when he left the chocolate bar labelled as "medicinal THC" lying in a bedroom drawer.
Dagga's severe effect on the mental health of users makes it drastically more dangerous than heroin in this regard. There have been cases where individuals who are smoking for the first time have entered into an irreversible psychotic state. To remain alive in a permanent state of psychosis is worse than death itself! Not to mention the pain and suffering caused to the family and relatives of such individuals who find themselves among the 'living dead' and are unable to live a normal, productive and fulfilling life because of the dagga they smoked. HIV and AIDS never killed anyone, until people began to document cases that is. It is irresponsible to mislead the public by focusing on the "zero deaths" argument and simply ignoring all the indirect deaths that have been caused by this "soft" drug.
Dagga kills. This is a fact, and it is about time that this misleading argument is laid to rest too.
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