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Taxes Minus Subsidizing Divided by THC = Health in Australia

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It’s been a prevalent part of our medical system since the beginning, taunting us through genetics or environmental aspects.

It’s that silent killer/executioner that has touched at least someone you know, possibly a family member. Cancer is gaining constant developments non-the-less. BUT I am not dribbling on about the big ‘C’. Mental health ticks all these boxes and then some, yet the funding in Australia has gone from average to abysmal very quickly. Currently a scheme is in place that allows for the funding of services necessary for the health and security of suffering Australian citizens. After June 30th 2015 everything abates abruptly but luckily, as a nation, we are already trying to address this issue and have been since December 2014.

There have been seventy mental health groups, including Mental Health Australia, Headspace, and the Black Dog Institute, that have written an open letter to Prime Minister Tony Abbott and Health Minister Sussan Ley. The letter reads, “We have not received any definitive advice regarding the future of (mental health) programs”. (By medical reporter, Sophie Scott, 24/3/2015)

The News Papers in Australia have been singing this information as boisterously as possible, while being drowned out by pointless factious headlines about celebrities getting too drunk or Federal scare tactics from (so called) respected politicians about the next election. The Liberal Party (our Republican Party) introducing and selling the notion of the funding cuts avoiding the potential riff raff associated with their self-impending fate.

Mental Health Australia chief executive Frank Quinlan states, “Nobody argues about the need for these programs but at the moment we just can’t seem to find anybody to own the future of that problem. We really can’t wait any longer – by the time we get to the May budget, things are going to be a lot worse than they are already”. (December 8 2014, Dan Harris, Health and Indigenous Affairs Correspondent).

With the government that currently occupies my countries political chambers, bathing in the anxiety of others while implementing they’re polar opposite idea of Robin Hood, giving to the rich while stealing from the poor, the future looks bleak. To put it in more economic terms, the Government are subsidizing big businesses needs and taxing personal commodities (increasing education, medical and food costs) which invariably increases the chance of mental health with no set agenda of advancements or vicissitudes.

How does this all intertwine with cannabis you may be asking yourself?

Recently the Australian people have stood up in the fight for free medical choice and are now helping to end the prohibition of marijuana altogether. Some may argue that cannabis causes mental issues, but this science is based on primitive experiments embodied by company’s/governments predetermining the results. However self medication is extremely predominate among low socioeconomic areas and this demographic correlates with the highest numbers that have mental health issues. Proving once again that ‘correlation doesn’t not always equal the cause’, and that you cant fight addicition with guns or a legal system.

Australia is hidden away on the top of the world (or bottom) depending on which way you hold the map. The world’s largest Island and smallest continent all in one; and like all islands, being surrounded by the alluring ocean has helped to develop a laid-back existence, with a strong sense of mateship. Whether as a country we like to admit it or not, we smoke a lot of weed and enjoy doing so. The Bureau of Statistics states for the last 6 years Australia was in the top 10 countries that consumed the most cannabis per capita. The truth is in the hash pudding. This demonstrates the need to promote a safe profitable industry, one that is already present, also one that criminals and traffickers don’t rule over. Even our Leader Tony Abbott, whose party invoked the anti Robin Hood budget of 2014, had these remarks “I have no problem with the medical use of cannabis, just as I have no problem with the medical use of opiates…I was under the impression that the personal use of cannabis was no longer an offence in NSW…If a drug is needed for a valid medicinal purpose though and is being administered safely there should be no question of its legality. And if a drug that is proven to be safe abroad is needed here it should be available”.

He has finally got it, the concept that American states have discovered to be true and the reasons behind Uruguay decriminalising drugs as a whole. Marijuana is not the enemy; the terminally ill patients of all ages should not be conflicted by being targets of revenue raising offences. Instead of stepping further into the past with our ideologies of what a free and prosperous society involves, we need to look across the ditch to our cousins in America and Europe. As Mr Abbott goes on to state in the same interview “My basic contention is that something that has been found to be safe in a reliable jurisdiction shouldn’t need to be tested again here.”

Mental health funding has no right to be treated as a second-class problem; it is the forefront of our economic sociology and imminent maturing as a nation. With the absence of imperative resources, all readily available, it makes it difficult to obtain a sense of respect for the ones involved in the cuts. Going back to the facts may help the Government: Colorado created $50 million from taxes in the first year alone! A state with the population of just over five million residences accumulated a tax return capable of increasing the standards of Education in the area as promised. There you are Australia, we have a problem that needs solving, a fund cut that needs to be eradicated and a stigma behind cannabis and mental health that needs to be annulled.

With Australia’s populace of Twenty Three Million copious marijuana consumers, 9th in the world per capita (ahead of the ostentatious Jamaica) displays the simplicity behind an act capitalising the harvesting and marketing the substance described by scientist to be 114 times less dangerous/deadly to your body then alcohol and cigarettes. (By Ellie Zolfagharifard, 05:45 EST, 25 February 2015, daily mail.co.uk)

Without getting my teeth stuck into the problems instigated by alcohol use and its detrimental effect on society, we still have the right as adults to decided on a wine, beer, scotch or vodka understanding the possible risks involved and legalities. These rights must extend to THC related products. As the Prime minister of Uruguay stated in 2013 during an interview with a Vice Documentary’s journalist “We do not encourage the use of marijuana on the contrary, for us every addicition is a calamity but even worse then use of cannabis is the drug trafficking and the crimes related. That’s why the government decided to grow it and tax it, establishing a quota for consumers.” Pepe Mujica is a brilliant official and politician.

If the rest of the world can’t learn from these painstakingly obvious notions of decriminalising cannabis creating a positive affect on society; a bigger issue being solved with a simple commodity grown in abundance. A product, almost perfectly inelastic not being taxed and regulated is bad for business and the company losing possible profits controls our health, education and mental state systems. If this generation of politicians cant act on the problem, it will be up to our era to succeed where all else failed!

Based in Wollongong, Australia, Liam Armstrong is a Writer with a degree in Commerce.

Liam will be a regular writer for Cannabusiness, discussing the latest news in his native country..

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