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Who are the fruit cakes in all this?

If fruit cake caused serious mental health issues in in young people and especially boys there would be a call to have it banned.

If skateboarding were to cause mental health issues to adolescent boys and some girls, it surely would be side-lined by authorities.

If travel on an international flight was to cause a set of boys, about 10% of adolescent boys and fewer girls then there would be calls to recommend that flying was a serious health issue.

Why then do seemingly intelligent and reasonable adults wish to rush to cause levels of harm to a percentage of adolescent boys and girls by voting to make cannabis legal. Scientists are agreeing that should an adolescent be exposed to cannabis before the age of 15 they risk having a serious psychotic episode around the age of 18 years – well, 10% of those who indulge in smoking dope will.

That might seem a smallish risk but the tough side of these findings is that it cannot be predicted who among those who partake will fall victim to serious psychosis until they are melting down, irrational and about to cause pain and hardship not only to themselves but also to their families.

Believe the science on this. The highly respected Dunedin longitudinal research on development has seen this exact phenomenon in their youthful subjects. And it is not just New Zealand: “Cannabis is strongly associated with psychotic symptoms and psychotic disorders such as schizophrenia” concludes a major researcher in Ireland (NZ Herald, 3 August 2020). Furthermore, early heavy use dulls the brain with irreversible brain damage. So go ahead and vote for the legalisation of cannabis but do so in the knowledge that if sourcing it and using it becomes a habit for young people, they will enter into a game of cannabis Russian Roulette and 10% will lose with disastrous results for themselves and their families.

Published inEducation


  1. Grace Rodgers Grace Rodgers

    It is extremely offensive to refer to those suffering from mental health issues at fruit cakes. I suffer from psychosis and it is frankly disgusting and ableist to have you a). assuming you know everything on this topic and b). have you use prejudiced, derogatory language. You should be ashamed of yourself.

    • Stuart Middleton Stuart Middleton

      Yes, fruit cakes is a derogatory name but how you read it to apply to those with psychosis is beyond me. I was squarely aiming it at the group that is supporting the referendum and ignoring the certainties that access will be easier for young people – 10% of those exposed to cannabis under the age of 15 who risk psychotic episodes. I would not wish that on anyone. the science and evidence is overwhelming.

  2. Rosey Mabin Rosey Mabin

    Morena Stuart, I have just read your Fruit Cake comment re cannabis and couldn’t agree more. Thank you SO much for writing this. Our BOT is quite vocal in their opposition to the proposed legalisation and will be delighted to read this.
    I wonder if you would allow me to publish it in our Sept newsletter, please? I would obviously acknowledge you as the author (and happily end you a copy of the newsletter).

    Thanks (in advacne),

    Rosey Mabin
    Inglewood High School

    • Stuart Middleton Stuart Middleton

      Of course I will be pleased for you to publish it and would love to see the newsletter.

      It is heartening is that there are others pleased to take a position in opposition to those who have never face a family issue in which a fine young man, a world champion in archery a=t the age of 16 battled his psychotic demons for 18 years before he could rejoin the real world that we live in.

      You have a very sensible BOT.


  3. Sandie Chamberlain Sandie Chamberlain

    Teenagers already have access to unsafe cannabis products. Legalising it will at least mean we can openly discuss the issue with teenagers. currently we are limited by the fact that it’s an illegal activity. And remember, the new laws will STILl make it illegal for teenagers to consume cannabis.

  4. Hi Stuart
    the consumption of cannabis as a plant-based extract, and the effects thereof, is a public health and education issue. The de-criminalisation of cannabis will remove it from the crazy, right-wing ‘war on drugs’ politics that has caused much more harm than any so-called drug itself. You claim that some 10% of adolescents will be badly affected by exposure to cannabis, so what about some 12% of 2-14 year old children classed as obese in NZ? Make junk food and soft drinks illegal? If everything that can make you sick is to be outlawed, you’d soon be a fruitarian, which may not be a bad thing.

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