Opinion: Grow up, legalise the weed!

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SO, the other day, my 11-year-old asks me: “Dad, if cigarettes are so bad for you, how come they’re legal?”

Mark Parton
Mark Parton
I didn’t have a sensible answer other than to say: “They always have been”

It got us to talking about drugs and about why alcohol is legal considering the many problems it causes… and then to marijuana. And the unanswerable question regarding the weed is this: If tobacco and alcohol are legal, why isn’t cannabis?

I’m not a smoker of anything, but in many circles, marijuana is a more socially acceptable drug than alcohol. Its use in Canberra is historic and widespread. If we’re going to get all progressive about same-sex unions and electricity generated by the wagging of dogs’ tails, why wouldn’t we just legalise the weed?

Whenever I bring this up on my radio program, the detractors immediately ring and suggest that cannabis is the first step on the slippery slope to heroin and ice. And I say, well okay, if indeed that is the case, it’s extremely readily available now and perhaps somewhat more appealing because it’s illegal. I don’t believe that its use is going to increase because it’s legal and I know a lot of weed smokers who would never have dreamt of shooting up smack.

The detractors ring and talk about the behavioural problems associated with cannabis and I say, go and walk around Civic at 2am on a Saturday and report back on the behavioural problems associated with alcohol.

And then, typically (not that calls relating to drugs follow a pre-determined format), I start talking about the money.

Colorado is the first US State to legalise the weed and in January alone, it made $2.7 million from legal sales. At a time when we’re quintupling everyone’s rates and running out of money for more full-breasted hot-air balloons, why wouldn’t we just line up and get the drug money?

No, seriously? If people are smoking the weed in every Canberra suburb anyway, if there’s a roaring trade in marijuana anyway, why not stop wasting police resources and start getting some of the money back.

We’re not talking about cocaine. We’re not talking about heroin or ice.

Of course, one of the upsides of a legalisation of marijuana would be that those who use the drug for pain relief would be free to do so without the threat of some sort of conviction hanging over their heads.

Let’s grow up like Colorado, Washington, Spain, Switzerland, Uruguay and the Netherlands and just legalise it!


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Mark Parton
Canberra Liberal MLA and former breakfast announcer on 2CC.


  1. completely logical and rational argument wrapped around realism and an understanding of youth and baby boomer culture. Australia is being left behind as the US rapidly moves to legalise cannabis. The ACT should be in front of the pack here and adopting the New Zealand regulatory model for emerging psychoactive drugs…the main one being cannabis.

  2. Re: ‘Article – ‘Grow up, legalise the weed’ by Mark Parton, CityNews (March 20-26).

    I am old enough to remember the 1960’s ‘Marlboro Man’ commercials which were used in a tobacco advertising campaign to reflect cigarette smoking with the image of a healthy, rugged and manly smoking cowboy inviting viewers to come to Marlboro Country. This harmless smoking pastime cost Eric Lawson, the third Marlboro Man to succumb to the smoking-related illness, lung cancer.

    At that time I am sure there were many who did not see the harm in the smoking of tobacco, because they knew no better. So I suggest that before condoning and encouraging the legalising of marijuana for the sake of increased revenue as Mr Parton suggests, I would ask that Mark and other supporters of’ legalising the weed’ encourage further research and investigation before letting this ‘marijuana genie out of its bottle’ onto future generations.

    • if u want to legalise pot, why not go the whole hog? coke, lsd, all amphetamines, opium, betel nut etc. it seems everybody has a favorite soma [brave new world], or is there something special about pot?

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