So independent MP Ann Bressington has managed to introduce legislation in SA banning the sale of bongs, hookahs and crack pipes. The government has passed the legislation, even though nearly 90% of the population disagrees with it.
Ann Bressington has one big bone to pick. Her daughter died of a heroin overdose.
Now, I don't want to minimise her pain. The death of a child is something I have never faced, and cannot imagine. But I have had friends die of drug overdoses, and it's a tragic waste.
However I fail to see how banning bongs, pipes and hookahs will help anyone.
Firstly, the only time I have used hookahs is to smoke tobacco (usually that beautifully fruity tobacco you smoke with people from the Middle East). I don't know anyone who uses a hookah for anything other than tobacco. We like the idea of smoking pot through them - but it rarely happens.
Crack pipes? How common is crack in SA? I've only seen crack pipes used to smoke pot. When I've seen people use ice it's been through a needle or up their nose.
And bongs are only used to smoke pot.
Why is this woman picking on pot users? No one in the world has ever died of a pot overdose.
The usual rationale is that pot is a 'gateway drug'.
I call bullshit.
I know people who got into hard drugs without ever smoking pot. But I do not know one single person who has tried pot and gone on to use other drugs who hasn't first tried either tobacco or alcohol. Tobacco and alcohol are the gateway drugs. Why is the government wasting time banning drug paraphernalia instead of trying to stop the 22,000 deaths a year caused by tobacco and alcohol?
Ann Bressington believes that 'harm minimisation' is a bad strategy. Does that mean that harm maximisation is a good one?
If you ban the sale of bongs and pipes, people make them from plastic bottles and bits of garden hose. The carcinogens from these that you inhale along with your pot are 1000 times more damaging than the pot is. Banning drug paraphernalia doesn't stop people using drugs - it just increases the harm incurred.
Why not just say to all the heroin users in the state, "here's one needle. Share it amongst all of you. Sharpen it if it becomes too blunt. We're not going to give you single use needles and we're not going to provide sharps bins because harm minimisation is a bad strategy."
Makes sense, does it?
Ann Bressington, I'm sorry your daughter died. But you are a fucking moron.