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Cannabis decriminalisation will save money

Cannabis decriminalisation will save money & not effect use rates

National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) president Chris Fowlie said today that decriminalising cannabis will save the taxpayer at least $56 million per year, without effecting use rates.

"Official figures recently obtained by NORML show the Government spends $56 million of taxpayer's money every year enforcing cannabis laws, for no discernable benefit.

"This compares to South Australia, which has replaced arrests with tickets, and now makes a net profit of around A$1 million per year. The revenue from the tickets has more than paid for the enforcement regime."

"The South Australians also reported a decrease in cannabis use relative to other states that retained prohibition."

More than half of New Zealanders aged 15-45 admit to breaking the law, including almost 80 per cent of 21-year-olds.

Decriminalisation had been recommended by commissions of inquiry in the USA, Canada and Australia. The New Zealand health select committee said in it's 2003 report on the legal status of cannabis that there was "no evidence that it would increase use, in fact evidence suggests it would make no difference."

"Those who support prohibition need to explain why the taxpayer should continue to fork out $56 million dollars every year," said Mr Fowlie.

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