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Marijuana Laws Unjust, Inhumane And Ineffectual

17 June 2002

Prohibition Does Not Protect Our Young People, Says Party

New Zealand voters will be making a choice this election on cannabis. They will be electing a Parliament that will have to deal with the Health Select Committee inquiry into the legal status of cannabis.

Will voters support the parties of Prohibition? Will they support candidates who would maintain a policy which has failed here in NZ just as it has failed everywhere else? Or will voters insist that candidates listen to the evidence given to the Select Committee and vote to change our unjust, inhumane and ineffectual cannabis laws?

Cannabis (like alcohol) has been with us for several thousand years and cannot be prohibited with success. Worse, the effort to prohibit cannabis immediately creates an illegal market with all the criminal problems associated with black markets.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party believes all New Zealand voters must make a choice this election. A choice between continuing the old failed policies of prohibition, arrest and confiscation, or bringing cannabis under a legal regime of tolerated availability to adults.

The alternatives are stark. In the Phillipines this month, the death penalty has been imposed for possession of a modest amount of cannabis. In the USA, George Bush's federal officials are trying to stop the medical use of cannabis (even though eight American States* have approved medical marijuana by big majorities in referendums.)

New Zealanders must vote to end this expensive failure now! Other countries are showing the way - first with tolerance, and the legal acceptance. Important changes to cannabis law have recently been made in Canada, Belgium and Portugal, with reforms also likely in Britain. Holland has de facto regulated the supply of cannabis via its coffee shops and has a very low level of teenage cannabis use. Law reform is needed in New Zealand and it works!

Young people are our future. We all want to protect them. But does prohibition protect them or does it create bigger problems than any temporary intoxication ever could?

Young people are often told lies about cannabis by the prohibitionists, which can only undermine all drug education.

We want young people to learn how to manage their own lives responsibly. Prohibition makes cannabis a forbidden fruit, and tries to take away the choice that young people need to make about their future. But the availability of cannabis despite prohibition means that young New Zealanders inevitably must make that choice.

Its time for all New Zealanders to choose. Its time for a vote for cannabis law reform. Make your vote count for a better New Zealand.


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