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Mild Green Election Year Cannabis Policy

27 March 2002

Mild Green Election Year "Single Issue" Cannabis Policy

New Zealander's will be fully decriminalised and cannabis/hemp officially legal by Order In Council before the 2002 General Election, if the Mild Greens succeed in their "single issue" election year public health law and order policy agenda.

The Mild greens favour a priority position on cannabis and believe that it should be a legalised commodity, subject to the same public health rights and rules as existing legal and prescription drugs.

Kicking off the 2002 campaign with a first shot on cannabis reform, party assistant Blair Anderson is positive that the House can legalise cannabis this year and not shake the apple cart for the "sure course" Labour/Green clean-up coalition.

"If MP's show some courage while in the course of fulfilling their parliamentary obligations, it could mean doubling of margins all round", say the Mild Greens.

Cannabis "harm minimisation" administration and policy in New Zealand is as leaky as a sieve. There is no evidence whatsoever that criminalisation is an effective - let alone equitable intervention. "We are still waiting for Zero Tolerance advocates to demonstrate on evidence", said Mr Anderson.

Moreover, the disappearance and likely murder of dealer Philip Cowan should be ringing the alarm bells in any Public Health quality assessment, the glaring policy fraud of cannabis criminalisation remaining on the statutes of New Zealand as if paralysed by the terror of the great unknown.

MP's are scared to debate cannabis it seems - even as it sits at the top of their Public Health and Health Promotion agenda with an inquiry report languishing in draft before the Health Select Committee.

As if stupefied, MP's sadly are yet to register cannabis on official law and order scales, even though it stands out as a major indicator of prohibition related harm, and degraded rule of law.

We used to have standards in New Zealand, say the Mild Greens… "Lets bring them back, please."

Existing policy creates crime, violence, mistrust and public health alienation. It offers the single greatest cause of criminality and "deviancy amplification", the affliction of the youth/hoon elements.

No Royal Commission into the causes of crime is needed to evidence that the only sentence for cannabis should be "Get out of Jail Free".

The massive number of New Zealanders living outside the law day in day out because of the ++$2billion cannabis economy should represent an area of high concern, if the government is sincere about social equity and cultural rights.

The unofficial but huge market in marijuana in NZ belies telling statistics of how use is common with estimated one in five surveyed NZ directly involved and most people - even the police - largely turning a blind eye to the so-called criminal offence.

The official survey in 1999 showed that 52% of surveyed New Zealanders have tried cannabis. Their collective discriminatory status is affront to ethical belief and respectful community values, say the Mild Greens - "criminalisation is a compound human rights violation - and Labour and the Greens are remiss in acknowledging the angst in the community over the cannabis issue."

Just about everyone one in NZ who is not stupid knows that Zero Tolerance doesn't work, and criminalisation is an injustice particularly for Maori, Males and Unemployed.

All New Zealanders have been at increasing chronic risk from toxic public health administration and policing. "this is no way to conduct a health intervention" said Mr Anderson.

Current policy - and therefore law - is technically and substantively "illegitimate" - say the Mild Greens.

On the other hand, possession and cultivation of cannabis is, according Mild Green policy - Good and Wholesome. "It is the responsibility of all New Zealanders to give licence to the responsible stewardship of legal cannabis/hemp and its culture."

"Grow it now" say the Mild Greens. "Just because a plant grows doesn't mean you have to smoke it".

Thus far formal election channels for cannabis law reform are not looking too good - with an "exponentially stalled" Inquiry into the Public Health and Health promotion strategies requiring adjudication on the legal status.

Witness the Health Select Committee sitting strangely silent 4 months following the final of many public hearings - and rumours and concerns from many MPs that the committees agenda has been secretly specified as "no delivery pre-election".

Policy adviser Kevin O'Connell says the credibility of Helen Clark, Prime Ministers and flagship ministers Goff(Justice) and King(Health) rides precariously on cannabis - and particularly there was a moral responsibility of health committee chair Judy Keall.

"They're treating Kiwi voters like fools pretending they haven't noticed the inquiry is hanging unresolved", said Mr O'Connell. "the 46th parliament is 4/5th gone… but with eight months to go, that’s a lot of time to fend off critique of delay of the report which is at the top of parliaments social agenda."

Did the public vote for Chicken MPs in 1999? The house has to start delivering on the cannabis debate.

Many would claim the "legislative implication" of fully decriminalised pot or "hemp normalisation" will vanish again in a puff of smoke as more important issues come up in the course of the election campaign.

However the Mild Greens remind voters and MPs of how non-delivery on cannabis decimated the credibility of the National Party campaign in 1999, and saw the meteoric rise in the polls of the Green party, a contingent whose support subsequently appears somewhat less decisive.

How can we have free and fair elections in NZ when half of us are tarred as criminals???

So come on MP's give us peace and public tranquillity or stand as health, law and order hypocrites..



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