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Partial Decriminalisation "Unacceptable"

Partial Decriminalisation "Unacceptable" - Marijuana Party Youth Spokesman

ALCP Youth Affairs Spokesman Duncan Eddy believes the rejection of the partial decriminalsiation of cannabis by the Youth Parliament "was a protest against instant fines as an unacceptable alternative to the unacceptable status quo."

Tuesday's result shows the inherent irrationality of partial decriminalisation - “a phony harm minimisation bill”, according to ALCP members.

This law reform option fails to lift cannabis use above ground, therefore failing to remove the wedge that illegality places between cannabis users, their families, and society. Evidence suggests cannabis abuse is a symptom of underlying problems", Mr. Eddy said.

Areti Metua-Mate, youth rep. for Green M.P. Sue Kedgely said during the debate that “partial decriminalisation is not good enough. Prohibition is the problem and this bill fails to address it."

The Cannabis (Partial Decriminalisation for Personal Use) Bill would have replaced the criminality from possession of less than 5 grams of cannabis with a $100 instant fine. However this only applied to adults in their own home - and police would still retain their highly unwelcome “personal intrusion” rights under the Misuse of Drugs Act.

The use of cannabis in public, cultivation and trade of cannabis would still remain as criminal offences.

"This so-called solution is inappropriate and unacceptable" said Mr. Eddy. "Partial decriminalisation still prevents the community from adequately understanding and responding to youth problems. As long as penalties are attached to the herb, troubled kids are not going to speak up about their cannabis use".

In a typical youth response, Heath Walters, Youth M.P. for Jenny Shipley, said "the bill itself was seriously flawed and did not represent real change.”

Mr. Walters described the bill as "horrible" on Kim Hill’s Radio NZ show this morning - however he voted "yes" because he felt had to support a step in the right direction. The youth M.P. also revealed that the youth Law and Order select committee was privy to far more information on the law reform debate than the House in general, hence that committee’s recommendation to abstain from the vote.

Christopher Bishop, youth MP for Muriel Newman, argued "instant fines isn't the solution, we need a system that will control the cannabis market such as a regulation model."

Mr. Eddy applauded the wisdom of the youth M.P.s in demanding a realistic solution to the problems of prohibition. "Now it is up to Government to learn from the flaws in the youth process, and give New Zealand a fair and realistic cannabis review."

Duncan Eddy ALCP Youth Spokesman. 025 719 139


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