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Youth MPs Say: "We're Not Ready For Cannabis"

Cannabis decriminalisation proponent Nandor Tanczos says young people should wait until they are over 18 before deciding whether to smoke cannabis – the youth said that wont be necessary, by voting against decriminalisation at the Youth Parliament today.

The youth house voted down the decriminalisation of cannabis bill 69-47 with three abstentions this afternoon.

“I’m so happy, because I was against it,” said Napier representative Kate Southward. She said New Zealand wasn’t ready for decriminalisation.

It was the last of three days of Youth Parliament, which saw 16 to 18-year-olds from around New Zealand stand in for their MPs.

The Youth MPs formed select committees, debated legislation and answered questions in the house, learning about parliamentary process by immersion.

The Youth MPs espoused a spread of radical, conservative and moderate views, fairly accurately mirroring their elder equivalents.

Some of the issues debated in the house included: honest alcohol and drug education in schools, freely available condoms for young people, New Zealand music quotas for radio, and environmental issues.

As expected, youth issues were to the fore.

Ms Southward spoke on the brain drain, saying high taxes the ailing New Zealand dollar were driving young people away. “Students can only see themselves with a bright future overseas,” she said.

Natalie Williams spoke out against a yellow sticker scheme for drivers under 25 in Christchurch, labeling it discriminatory and a breach of human rights.

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