Cannabis Inquiry: About Time!
AUCKLAND - The National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) is relieved the long-awaited cannabis inquiry is about to start, and has called for a marijuana amnesty until the report is completed.
Parliament’s Health Committee announced today that it would begin oral hearings from next week, after setting a strict February 7 deadline for written submissions.
“While this is pleasing to New Zealand’s half a million regular cannabis smokers, the question must be asked why it has taken so long, and why the Committee enforced a strict deadline for written submissions only to do nothing for almost four months,” said NORML’s spokesperson Chris Fowlie.
“Every day that passes, another twenty New Zealanders are criminalised for cannabis. Over 133,000 New Zealanders have been criminalised under cannabis prohibition since 1975, and over ten thousand since Labour came to power.”
“The current oppressive regime silences those most effected while hysterical prohibitionists steal the headlines. The Government should declare an amnesty for cannabis users so that people can speak out without fear of imprisonment. There should be no more arrests for cannabis use until the inquiry has issued its report.”
Every major international investigation into cannabis policy has recommended policies other than the current blanket prohibition. Canadian MPs voted unanimously last week to review their cannabis laws. Canadian Health Minister Allan Rock recently spoke out in favor of reform, stating that he would "participate with enthusiasm" in the upcoming hearings and that it was "appropriate" to examine decriminalising marijuana.
“We only hope that our MPs treat cannabis with the same clear-headed attitude, and do not bring biased views to this important inquiry,” said Chris Fowlie.
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