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Stop The Abuse Say ALCP

ALCP members commend the Green Party's marijuana reform advocacy this week, saying that objectors from populist political parties support an abusive and counter-productive law which must be repealed.

Bullying of drug users destroys community respect and amplifies harms, say policy analysts.

NZ1 and Christian Heritage spokespersons Ron Mark and Gael Donahue attacked Nandor Tanzcos yesterday for "promoting mind-altering drugs". However they are misconstruing the sentiment, and are foolish not to give Nandor a fair and full hearing.

All parties support harm minimisation, but the only way to have credible education about the health effects of substances is by removing the double standards, secrecy and oppression, and introducing an age of consent, say the Cannabis Party analysts. This will stop division, denial, alienation and anger in the community.

"The current coercive regime has the unintended effect of increasing demand for drugs", said Blair Anderson and Kevin O'Connell from Christchurch this morning.

The $300,000 a day spent on enforcing marijuana prohibition in NZ is especially deserving of scrutiny and open analysis, because it appears to be an investment in promoting large-scale criminal activity, while glamorising drugs amongst the younger generations.

Evidence suggests that the criminal status is a major barrier to youth health promotion - "Whether the drinking age is 18 or 20, this problem remains".

In reply to Gael Donahue who claimed that marijuana was a gateway to degradation, ALCP analysts referenced Professor David Pennington of the Premier's Drugs Advisory Council (Victoria, Australia) who has argued that heroin prevalence in that country is driven by marijuana prohibition, while Swiss opiate trials and de facto legalisation of marijuana have been recorded as an unqualified success.

The PDAC made 70 unanimous recommendations in March 1996 including the "home grow" model advocated by the Greens for marijuana.

It is inequitable to criminalise and stigmatise users, say the ALCP - and it is folly to sustain a policy in chronic disrepute. It is time for the Labour-led Government to intervene, rationalise the debate and end the drug-user abuse.

The Cannabis Party analysts added that the criminal status bred suspicion and intolerance. Initiatives, such as the multi-million dollar mental illness "anti-stigma" campaign, were destined to fail while repressive drug policy maintained an outcast mentality and provoked adverse mental health outcomes (c.f. "Raurimu").

Last week the Mild Greens criticised the Green party's Justice spokesman for not getting his teeth into the issue "but we're now sorry we doubted him". ALCP members applaud Nandor and the Greens for their courage under fire.

Blair Anderson, who is standing for the Christchurch City Council, said that local citizens are increasingly aware of the debate and looking forward to Mr Tanzcos's Campus Tour.

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