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New Cannabis Study Shows The Law Is Racist

30 April 2002

Green Party Drug Law Reform spokesperson Nandor Tanczos today said a new study from the Christchurch School of Medicine showed clearly that the current cannabis laws in New Zealand are applied in a racist manner and are a total failure at reducing use.

The study's conclusion read: 'the results of this study reinforce concerns about laws relating to the use and possession of cannabis. The findings show that the law was administered in an inefficient way, the application of the law was biased and the law was ineffective in reducing cannabis use.'

The Health and Development study was produced by Professor David Fergusson and examined data gathered over 21 years. A copy has been sent to the Health Select Committee investigating whether or not to change cannabis laws.

"This is a very important finding based on a rigorous longitudinal study. It looks at the relationships between cannabis use and the policing of cannabis laws and says categorically that the law is racist, ineffective and has no impact on cannabis use," said Nandor.

"Professor Fergusson is widely recognised as producing some of the best research in the country on cannabis use. His latest finding is very informative. It says that whether or not you like people using cannabis is irrelevant to whether or not we should change the law, because the law does not work."

The report notes that:

* regardless of cannabis use and previous police record Maori are more likely to be arrested and convicted for cannabis offences than non Maori; * arrest and conviction does not change cannabis use behaviour and is no deterrent; * the law is inefficient, with only five per cent of cannabis users ever being arrested.

"This is exactly why I have been committed to cannabis law reform for more than a decade," said Nandor.

"As the report notes 'it is doubtful that laws that exhibit this degree of inefficiency, bias and lack of efficacy can survive in the longer term'.

"I am just hopeful that all members of parliament read this report. The arguments in favour of cannabis prohibition just don't stack up.


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