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Judy Turner chokes on drug law hypocrisy


Judy Turner chokes on drug law hypocrisy.

The ALCP condemns MPs who have acted against their own considerable evidence of the failure and inequity of cannabis prohibition. Major parliamentary inquiries on Cannabis (mental health and legal status) reported in 1998 and 2003.

The newly modified Misuse of Drugs Act schedule D handles 'controlled availability' for substances that don’t warrant total prohibition. It contains Mrs. Turner’s unfortunate new clause to prevent the down-classification of a currently prohibited drug to the new ‘R18 restricted’ schedule.

The move is the latest in an ongoing saga of dumbing-down and failure of accountability in Parliament’s drug policy.

''Non-delivery of prohibition makes a mockery of Parliamentary process and evidence-based National Drug Policy, as well as the legal requirement that government health services must protect, promote and improve the public health'', said party president Kevin O’Connell.

He says evidence shows young people routinely ignore health and safety recommendations and legislation (party pills, cannabis, alcohol, tobacco, methamphetamine, safe sex, safety belts etc). ''Is this because no one likes being told what to do by hypocrites? How many times do we have to point to the conclusion of the 1998 inquiry; that double-standard-based prohibition impedes the credibility of the message?'' said Mr O’Connell.

The 2003 report had this to say about the existing 'prohibition' status:

'…the current high levels of use and the level of black market activity indicate the current prohibition regime is not effective in limiting cannabis use. Prohibition results in high conviction rates for a relatively minor offence that inhibits people’s education, travel and employment opportunities. Prohibition makes targeting education, prevention, harm minimisation and treatment measures difficult because users fear prosecution. It also facilitates the black market and potentially exposes cannabis users to harder drugs.' (p57, Inquiry into public health strategies related to cannabis and the most appropriate legal status)

Last Thursday MPs spent a dreary, repetitive four hours on the Misuse of Drugs Amendment Bill Number 3. The highlight was easily the near-choking of United Future MP Judy Turner during one of her sanctimonious and ill-informed speeches (soundbyte to be published on alcp.org.nz). Was God was trying to tell the arch-prohibitionist something?

ends

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