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Cannabis Party Opens Campaign

28 June 2002

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party election campaign opens this Sunday 30 June in Christchurch at a meeting to be addressed by Party Leader, Michael Appleby. Mr Appleby is a Wellington lawyer and law lecturer.

The venue is the Media Club at 191 Armagh St (next to Centennial Pool) Appleby address timed for 7:15pm. All are invited. Light refreshments available.

Most of the party's candidates will be present at the launch. A full list of candidates is attached.

Mr Appleby said the party had set itself two goals: bringing cannabis into the election campaign, and setting an agenda of reform for the next government. The first goal had been achieved.

"Cannabis policy is a feature of campaigns by the Greens, Progressive Coalition, and Alliance parties, and cannabis prohibition is now a key election issue," said Mr Appleby.

"There are 300,000 current cannabis users out there, and they know the government has stalled on its Select Committee inquiry. Nothing has been done with the hundreds of submissions," said Mr Appleby. "There are law reformers within Labour, National, Act and the Greens, and we congratulate MPs like Brian Neeson for his integrity on this issue. But nothing has really been achieved in the last three years."

The Party said it was time for action.

"New Zealand will be making a choice this election on cannabis. New Zealand voters will be electing the Parliament which will have to deal with the Health Select Committee inquiry into the legal status of cannabis," said Mr Appleby.

Mr Appleby said he would reply in detail at the party's campaign launch to the anti-reform stance of another party leader, Jim Anderton.

"It is a shame that two of the smallest parties in Parliament - Progressive Coalition and Peter Dunne's United Future - have closed their minds to the evidence at the Select Committee," said Mr Appleby. "They seem to be trading on public anxiety rather than looking at the ugly reality of prohibition."

* New Zealand has one of the highest arrest rates in the world for cannabis. Figures presented to Parliament in 2000 were 4550 people arrested just for cannabis possession.

* Prohibition hits some users and not others. Maori users are paying the cost of prohibition at a rate four times higher than other cannabis users. This law is unfair and racist in its effects.

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

* Prohibition always creates violence and helps fund organised crime - and cannabis prohibition is no exception.

* It needlessly criminalises 1000s of young people each year at great cost, achieving nothing other than to produce a large group of angry, alienated youth.

"Mr Anderton and Mr Dunne need reminding that a definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting a different outcome," said Mr Appleby.

"The softly softly approach of other jurisdictions, for example Holland, has been far more effective in reducing drug misuse and associated harms," Mr Appleby said.

Party Leader: Michael Appleby, ph 025- 40-33-63
Deputy Leader: Mike Britnell, ph (03) 981 0675
Email: secretary@alcp.org.nz

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party list for 2002 General Election

1) Michael Appleby - Party Leader - Wellington Central
2) Michael Britnell - Deputy Leader - Wigram
3) Irinka Britnell - secretary - Ilam
4) Dave Moore - President -Ohariu-Belmont
5) Christine Mitchell - Aoraki
6) Jeanette Saxby - West-Coast Tasman
7) Paul Mc Mullen - Dunedin North
8) Judith Daniels - Northland
9) Judy Matangi - List
10) Paula Lambert - list
11) Sugra Moreley - list
12) Peter Green - List

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