Hon Chairperson, hon members, as hon Goqwana has said here before me, scientific research is replete with bad impacts of marijuana use. We also need to take lessons from other countries where medical marijuana has been decriminalised. In Colorado more children are ending up in hospital emergency departments after accidentally consuming marijuana.
Researchers from the Rocky Mountain Poison and Drug Centre in Denver wrote that they have to deal with more cases of children younger than 17 years old coming into emergency rooms after consuming candies, soft drinks and baked goods containing tetrahydrocannabinol, the pain-relieving substance found in marijuana.
In the Netherlands many Dutch communities are struggling with how to address the increased crime and negative consequences associated with their drug policies. The growing use of marijuana has widespread social implications. After marijuana became legalised consumption nearly tripled from 15% to 44% among 18- to 20-year old Dutch youth. As a result the Netherlands has reconsidered its legalisation measures.
This proves right the American Academy of Paediatrics' belief that any change in the legal status of marijuana even if limited to adults could affect the prevalence of use among adolescents. This is echoed by the British Medical Association which voiced extreme concern that downgrading the criminal status of marijuana would mislead the public into believing that the drug is safe.
Having said all that, the UDM believes that denying South Africans to get a new lease of life because of criminalisation of marijuana is not fair. If it has been proved by at least three independent experts that the only remedy to save lives is marijuana medication, the UDM submits that it will be a noble thing to use it. We therefore suggest that marijuana medication be legalised with very stringent controls. At least three independent expert opinions about the use of marijuana medication must first be obtained.
The highest schedule control now is schedule 6, subject to correction, Mr Goqwana, we therefore suggest that a higher schedule be created for marijuana medication. We also suggest that there should be one centre of control where all purchases will be forwarded to with all particulars of the patient. Scheduled drugs go out on prescriptions only and the abusers go to one doctor to ask for a prescription and then buy the medication; then they go to another doctor to ask for the same prescription. This control centre will be used as a monitoring mechanism for such abuses. I also wish you well, hon Oriani-Ambrosini, and you, Chief Cebekhulu. I thank you.