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Drug-Warrior Grice On Misguided Crusade- ALCP

New Zealand desperately needs age-appropriate tolerance of marijuana, and an end to “counter-productive education programmes run by people with an apparent stake-hold in prohibition”, say Cannabis Party analysts.

“Anti-dope hysteria may be considerably more dangerous than marijuana itself”, warn Blair Anderson and Kevin O’Connell.

They were responding to an item on Television One’s Sixty Minutes programme, broadcast last evening, on a youth suicide case. The report implicated marijuana in particular, and featured high-profile drug preventionist campaigner, Trevor Grice.

The criminal status creates a paranoid environment, stigmatises users and is an inappropriate health intervention, say the analysts.

The 1998 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Mental Health Effects of Cannabis referenced evidence suggesting that ill-conceived anti-drug interventions could contribute to alienation, “which could increase the likelihood of negative outcomes such as of dropping out of school and suicide” (p34). The Health select committee recommended targeted education, and interventions consistent with alcohol and tobacco - and a law review.

The then National Government responded with a work programme which featured an evaluation of the effectiveness of education programmes, yet no such evaluation has been publicly released.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party policy opposes use of marijuana by those under the age of 18. However, Party analysts are concerned that the criminal status of cannabis, while failing to prevent uptake, creates intense moral pressure especially in successful, middle-class families. Analysts claim this pressure can “interact dangerously with the psychoactive effects of the drug.”

Blair Anderson said that as a parent, he extended sympathy to the families experiencing tragedies. It was disturbing however, that certain drug educators “made no apparent attempt to distinguish effects stemming from the illicit context and culture of use, from the effects of marijuana, per se.”

“With the assistance of TVNZ, Mr Grice has just told every parent in NZ that if their kids are smoking dope, then they may be ‘beyond human help” said Mr Anderson.. “This may evoke a strong moral response from the public, but when someone is high on marijuana, maybe the last thing they need is moral persecution based on harm exaggeration.”

Ironically, drug-education groups have a stakehold in seeing the worst possible drug-related outcomes.
“Mr Grice is prevaricating his Life Education Trust, and Hanmer treatment hospital”, said Mr Anderson

According to research and policy analyst, Kevin O’Connell, “we are witnessing a vicious cycle in operation and our elected representatives have a responsibility to investigate and intervene.” The Canterbury Suicide Project informed the Health select committee that cannabis use was linked to suicide “by association, as opposed to causation” (p15). This finding implicates the social context, said Mr O’Connell, “and Mr Trevor Grice is out of order to exclusively implicate marijuana.”

It is argued by Cannabis Party analysts that the misguided drug-preventionist stance is itself the root cause of NZ’s “gold medal in youth suicide”.

ALCP members implore Government to urgently progress their commission of inquiry into the cannabis laws. “The illicit status is masking harms and creating mayhem in New Zealand. Our law makers have to stop pretending that zero-tolerance is achieving its goals at anywhere close to an acceptable cost.”

Blair Anderson is standing for Christchurch City Council in order to help enable the community to understand that cannabis is an issue which can no longer be ignored.


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