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Trustees Say Minister Is On Wrong Tack

The New Zealand School Trustees Association says it is concerned that despite widespread concern from educational groups, Youth Affairs Minister Laila Harre is still talking about softening cannabis laws.

President Chris France says the NZSTA like other education sector groups opposes decriminalising cannabis use because of the impact on young people.

“As an organisation whose focus is on students, we think lawmakers should take great care in considering such a major change. While occasional use by adults may not be an issue, research has shown that cannabis damages young bodies and young minds – there is no other more compelling reason to keep the law the way it is.”

He says that drug use in schools is an increasing problem and decriminalising cannabis use would send the very wrong message to young people.

“Schools already need more help to deal with the problem – they need resources and support to develop holistic programmes which will counter substance abuse.”

Chris France says if there is going to be a change in the law, there will be a cost especially on young people and on schools.

“NZSTA would be interested to know how the government intends to assist schools impact – how it intends to fund schools so they can deal with the consequences.”

He says NZSTA is currently preparing to release a book which aims to provide practical help to boards dealing with substance abuse.

“Let us be clear, we already have a problem in our schools, let’s not make it worse.”

Ends

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