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Three Green MPs to front cannabis debate

Three Green MPs to front cannabis debate

The Green Party has launched a renewed campaign for cannabis law reform just ahead of the release of the Health Select Committee report on cannabis.

Green Drug Law Reform spokesperson Nandor Tanczos, Health spokesperson Sue Kedgley and Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons will lead the campaign.

The Green Party will be launching a number of initiatives over the next few months, including a new leaflet to explain the Green position, a comprehensive internet presence on the popular www.greens.org.nz site, and a series of public meetings and debates.

"Some parties have relied on a flood of personal attacks and misinformation to try and shut down the debate," said Nandor. "That won't work.

"We need to control cannabis in an effective way. When you look at the evidence it is clear that the current prohibition does not reduce cannabis abuse, does not limit underage use, and by criminalizing moderate adult users it creates significant problems of its own."

Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons agrees: "For example, there are many people suffering from MS and the side-effects of chemotherapy for whom the medicinal use of cannabis would be of great benefit."

Acknowledging the huge amount of public and media interest on the contents of the health select committee report, the Greens are hoping that its release will stimulate a long overdue, informed and rational debate about cannabis use and regulation.

Nandor encouraged people to read the report when it's released and then base the ensuing debate on the facts, as has happened in Canada and Britain, rather than spin.

"Like most New Zealanders, we want to see a reduction in cannabis abuse and we believe that our policy is the best way to achieve this," said Nandor. "Some other parties continue to favour a prohibition policy that has seen the use of cannabis in New Zealand accelerate, instead of supporting more effective strategies. They admit the law isn't working but refuse to allow change."

"We need to treat personal use of cannabis by adults as a health issue, not a crime," added Sue Kedgley.

"Until we have an informed debate about real solutions, free of misinformation, this issue will not go away," said Nandor.

Nandor will be debating the issue with Welltrust's Pauline Gardiner on the Kapiti Coast tonight at 5pm. The venue is Kapiti Uniting Parish, 27 Raumati Road, Raumati Beach.

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