Duncan Garner: The cannabis referendum worries me as a father

Opinion 14/02/2019

By Duncan Garner, host of The AM Show

This referendum on cannabis increasingly worries me.

I talk as father - a dad. I am a dad worried about the message we are sending to our kids.

I don't hold the cool, hip, trendy view that's 'hey man let's all go smoke ganja and it'll fix our drug issues, it'll smash the gangs and see an end to meth and other hard drugs'.

Bulldust. Who says? And how do they know?

So why dangle something in front of them that we know is a huge risk?

When people say that to you call them out - what rubbish.

Here's the worry. The momentum will be with those who wish to decriminalise or legalise.

So let me remind you of this. New Zealand has the highest youth suicide rate in the western world. It's shocking. Young Kiwis are more lonely, isolated, sad and depressed than they have ever been.

Now a US study of 23,000 young people found smoking cannabis as a teenager increases the risk of depression and that black hole even further.

Photo: Getty.

It's a stark warning - this debate is smacking us in the face. Why do something like make cannabis legal when we already know we have a problem?

Nothing is more precious than life itself.

As a dad, and one who spends copious time with my eight-year-old boy, I can see how vulnerable, and delicate their lives are. There are life's many choices and dangerous temptations swirling around them. So why dangle something in front of them that we know is a huge risk?

And why do it when we simply don't have to?

Duncan Garner is host of The AM Show, weekdays on Magic Talk, Three, and Newshub.