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Cannabis Reform Pushed At Smokefree NZ Hearing

Cannabis Reform Pushed At Smokefree NZ Parliament Hearing

"Integrated policy required", say Mild Greens - ChCh Rydges Hotel 7:30pm 10/04/02
MPs from the Health Select Committee will be 'talking tobacco' with submitters in Christchurch today, on the Smokefree Environment's Enhanced Protection Bill, but the most noteworthy advice is expected from marijuana law reformers demanding equitable standards for commonly smoked substances

Christchurch's Mild Greens are concerned about cannabis/tobacco double standards in NZ. Members hope to discuss this evening with MPs about the inclusion of Herbal Smoking Products in the Act

Herbal smoking products are included as proposed in committee chair's and Labour Government MP (Judy Keall) supplementary order paper on the Smokefree bill, and the Mild Greens see this as the most positive, and potent, aspect of the health reform initiative

The key to beneficial Smokefree implementation, say the Mild Greens, is in a basic principle governing drug policy development: -equitable "upholding of individual rights where these do not unreasonably impinge on others" (official NZ Drug Policy since 1995)

We need some respect and courtesy given to the customary use of substances in NZ. But users should be courteous in return, say the mild Greens. "NO one likes smoke in your face"

"Is smoking a cigarette drug abuse", ask the mild greens. Where do we draw the line???
The Mild greens are adamant that you can't legitimately criminalise the use of Herbal Smoking Products, particularly New Zealand's cultural choice marijuana. According the 1999 national drug survey, NZ has roughly the same percentage of smokers as tokers in the community. The issue is harm minimisation. Existing policy is harm maximisation

The Mild Greens will tell the MPs that they are not doing their job properly, by delaying their report on the legal status of cannabis - following extensive public hearings and consultation on the matter in 2001

The degree of deregulation of cannabis when compared to the degree of regulation of tobacco represents "disintegrated" health messages and drug education. In a civilised society both substances would be comparably regulated - using SmokeFree is a logical area for this development, said Policy Analyst Kevin O'Connell.
The Mild Greens say that the operation of this disproportionate double standard is the major problem facing Public Health professionals in NZ. The Mild Greens have advised the Canterbury District Health Board to engage this problem and assist with disabling the systemic source of harm

We need removal of systemic impediments to best practice drug and health policy

"Allow conscientious use of herbal smoking products, and give NZ culture a level playing field, say the Mild Greens. Kiwi communities need "designated areas" for harm reduction in the use of smoked herbal products like tobacco and cannabis.
If M.P.s add up the arguments according to logic and best practice NZ is looking at a consolidated drug Harm minimisation bill, integrating the Smokefree, Sale of Liquor, and Drug Misuse and Prevention Acts

We have much to gain by putting in place a policy that squarely addresses the problems that drug use abuse causes in our country

"Legalise", say the Mild Greens. Do it Now. Let it Grow Ire Jah man…

Ends

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