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Youth statistics bolster decriminalisation cause

NZ’s worst youth statistics bolster decriminalisation cause

Disproportionate criminalisation of NZ youth is being linked to NZ’s international high ranking in youth suicide, juvenile crime and teen pregnancy (amongst other things) by Christchurch social policy reform activists, the Mild Greens.

New figures from the OECD show NZ is continuing to lead the field in unhealthy youth development.

“NZ kids are the most unnecessarily criminalised in the OECD too”, say the Mild Greens “thanks to our country’s pathetically negative, divisive cannabis laws - and highest cannabis arrest rate”.

Nothing guarantees a despondent or alienated future outlook more than a criminal record for marijuana, says the Mild Greens. And nothing guarantees rejection of Christian values more than repression in the name of Christ.

Mild Greens say the Labour government has played politically safe and has sided with the out-of-touch “family values” of bigoted fundamentalists (United Future), rather than acknowledge the inappropriateness of existing policy on cannabis and its use – as recommended in 1998 by Parliament’s health select committee, and again in 1999.

What really annoys the Mild Greens is that the likely cause of NZ’s youth disaster has been officially identified:

The health select committee Inquiry into the Mental Health Effects of Cannabis in 1998 found that the existing controls on cannabis were ineffective, and that “double standards surrounding cannabis [alcohol and tobacco] were an impediment to effective anti-drug education”.

Government has entire departments working on youth problems with coordinated services, strategies and interventions, but all apparently blind to criminalisation (and its identified hypocrisy) being the principle toxic factor.

Politically correct New Zealand recognises bullying is inappropriate and violence is reprehensible, but turns a blind eye to the abuse, vilification, home invasion and imprisonment of pot consumers and enthusiasts – who are statistically one in six of the surveyed population.

Why is judicious, sensible, crime-minimising cannabis policy off the agenda?? – well, because decriminalisation would send the wrong message….

Prime Minister Helen Clark has recently acknowledged (radio NZ insight programme – 26 Jan) that the legal status does not significantly restrict usage levels. Yet her government continues to INEQUITABLY criminalise at the expense of health promotion and rule of law. The prohibition serves only to drive an infrastructure of concealment, disrespect, and peer pressure busting to break the rules.

Netherlands, with one fifth NZ’s rate of youth suicide and much reduced teen drug and alcohol misuse, pregnancy, etc, respects its youth population with a non-criminalised, deglamourised and infinitely more civilised culture that acknowledges adults right to choose whether or not to consume the herb.

“What is Holland doing so right that NZ is doing so terribly wrong?” ask the Mild Greens.

As two years passes since NZ’s Health Select Committee closed submissions on its ongoing Inquiry into Cannabis-Related Health Promotion, and Consequently the Legal Status, one has to wonder how committee members can sleep at night without having resolved the issue.

Haven’t they noticed that they hold the key to the future wellbeing of New Zealand?

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