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Get serious about reducing crime, says ALCP

Get serious about reducing crime, says Cannabis Party

Legalising cannabis would cut crime of all sorts says the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. It believes politicians like National Party leader Dr Don Brash ought to be weighing up the benefits of law reform when discussing law and order and ‘tough on crime’ initiatives.

The Party is the only registered political party contesting this Saturday’s Te Tai Hauauru by-election.

"Legalising the non-crime of cannabis is the key to restoring law and order in New Zealand," says its leader, Michael Appleby.

The Party says there is ample evidence that R18 regulation will not significantly increase harmful use of cannabis in New Zealand, and instead will deliver massive crime-reduction and health promotion positives for the community. These include:

1/ police diverted to real crime;

2/ black market activity hugely undercut;

3/ an important gateway into criminality closed;

4/ restoration of a credible rule of law;

5/ hard drug supply infrastructure separated from huge soft drug market;

6/ users no longer alienated from health and justice services;

7/ reduction in police corruption, and increase in public co-operation;

Michael Appleby said it was encouraging to see the Green Party had linked its cannabis reform policy to the Law and Order (Tough on Crime) debate raised earlier this week by Dr Brash.

"It is disappointing however that the news media were ignoring the part of drug law reform in reducing crime. This issue is attracting huge interest in the by-election, even if the main news media haven't noticed", he said.

Electorate candidate Dun Mihaka said that Maori in Te Tai Hauauru were very open to the notion of removing cannabis from the criminal realm.

"Tangata whenua deeply resent the prison building mentality of the government" said Mr Mihaka.

"The herb is everywhere and as popular as ever despite its ridiculous illegality - People want regulated availability, and an end to prejudice and 'preferential services for Maori' at the hands of police and courts.”

Parliament's Health Select Committee inquiry into cannabis which concluded last year could find only find one advantage of Prohibition, and that was that it complied with the United Nations Single Convention (p57). It listed the many apparent disadvantages, (including apparent racist police targeting of Maori), and agreed that Parliament should continue to investigate the most appropriate legal status of cannabis.

But unfortunately, thanks to the politics of appearing 'tough on drugs', taking any effective, just action has yet again been delayed.

“We hope to have discussions with Dr Brash on these matters soon”, said Mr Appleby.

The Party is confident that voters in the large Maori electorate of Te Tai Hauauru will deliver the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party's strongest ever poll result this Saturday. The electorate, under an earlier name, has already given the ALCP its highest percentage vote to date (4.63 % in 1996).

Michael Appleby: 0274 403 363 Dun Mihaka: 021 030 2059

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