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Otago cannabis study confirms age limit needed

9 April 2005

Otago cannabis study confirms age limit needed: Nandor

A new study that warns that some people are genetically predisposed to later psychosis if they use cannabis at a young age reinforces the need for an age limit on the drug, which is impossible under the current legal regime, says Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

The research, an extension of Otago University's 30-year 'Dunedin Multidisciplinary Health and Development Study', found some 15 percent of those with the relevant gene develop cannabis-related psychosis, but only if they use it as teens.

"We welcome this new research, because decisions need to be made on evidence and any new information on the actual effects of cannabis, alcohol and other drugs is useful for informing the debate on their legal status," said Nandor.

"The findings have led the researchers to recommend that people 'delay onset of use until at least young adulthood', which is exactly what I have been saying for years.

"The Greens have been saying consistently that heavy use of cannabis, particularly by young people, can have harmful consequences for their mental health, but that for the majority of people it is not an issue.

"The best way to stop young people using cannabis, alcohol or anything else is to have a clear age limit that is seriously policed. As long as cannabis is sold by gangs through tinny houses, there is no way to stop teenagers getting access to it. If it is only available to adults through licensed premises, as some people propose, or via being privately grown for personal use, as Green Party policy advocates, you will limit the supply to young people," said Nandor.


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