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NZ Cannabis Inquiry submissions due by 7 Feb 2001

http://www.norml.org.nz/norml/Action/Inquiry/index.htm

Dear Friends, supporters and colleagues,

Submissions to the New Zealand Health Committee's inquiry into the legal status of cannabis close on the 7th of February. Please take a few minutes today to send your submission if you have not done so already.

Below is a sample submission that you can copy into a new email, edit as you see fit, add your contact details (these can remain confidential if you ask) and email it to sc-health@parliament.govt.nz

Submissions can also be posted free to: Health Committee, Parliament, Wellington or faxed to +64 4 499-0486

Please also forward this email to everyone you know who supports rational and evidence-based cannabis policy. Do it now!

Anyone can make a submission, and you will not be targeted by law enforcement officers for exercising your democratic right to advocate law reform. The time is now to get up, stand up for your rights! Send your submission now, and please forward this email to others. Thanks!

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SUBMISSION TO THE HEALTH COMMITTEE INQUIRY INTO CANNABIS

Public health and health promotion strategies to minimise the use and harm associated with cannabis should be based on harm reduction. Cannabis policy should discourage abuse, and the best way to do this is with honest, credible and factual drug education. Only in a climate where cannabis is viewed from a public health perspective instead of a criminal justice perspective can prevention efforts by effective.

Hundreds of thousands of New Zealanders choose to use marijuana, and very few abuse it. Arresting these otherwise law-abiding citizens serves no legitimate purpose, extends government into inappropriate areas of our lives, and causes enormous harm to the lives, careers and families of the thousands of marijuana smokers arrested every year.

Far more harm is caused by marijuana prohibition than by the use of marijuana itself. We need more compassionate drug policies that help people rather than punish them. Other countries that have moved away from cannabis prohibition have not experienced any significant rises in cannabis use, and have achieved dramatic savings in law enforcement as well as improving the effectiveness of drug education and treatment services.

I call for the immediate removal of all penalties for the use, possession and cultivation of cannabis by adults for personal use, and the non-profit transfer of small amounts. Criminal records for non-violent cannabis offences should be wiped. A commercial market for marijuana will always exist, and it is better to regulate and control that market than to hand it over to organised crime. I support the introduction of Dutch-style cannabis cafes. Regulating the sale of cannabis would most effectively control access by minors, and minimise harms to cannabis users, and to society.

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