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PM Avoiding Cannabis?

Press Release, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
25 July 2005

PM Avoiding Cannabis?

Although Helen Clark described cannabis prohibition in New Zealand as "poor public policy" (Great Marijuana Debate 1994), last week she confirmed that cannabis law reform would be a conscience vote in any future Parliament, saying "members of the public rarely raise the issue with me".

In downplaying the perennially vexatious issue of cannabis she is suggesting everything is fine in the garden and therefore there is no reason to be concerned about current law.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party says community leaders and MPs shut their eyes to the injustice and alienation caused by cannabis prohibition. It seems that they and other commentators think the 20% of Kiwis who are 'current cannabis users' (according to official surveys) don't count because they don't complain strongly enough.

Is this healthy for the people of New Zealand?

Aotearoa Legalise say cannabis is an issue which silently divides the nation. Current policy has created a massive green market and promoted disrespect for authority, while encouraging the highest worldwide youth uptake of the herb. As a political party we understand that the voice of public protest is largely silent because people fear the stigma of "criminal' if they advocate liberalising the law.

Reformers say the vote should be based on facts such as the social and economic costs of existing policy. Aotearoa Legalise wants cannabis policy, as well as the nation's leadership on the issue, to be put to the test in this election campaign.

"The review begun in 2000 by Labour and the Greens must be resumed, and it must consider seriously the human rights implications of intimidatory policy, ie. cannabis prohibition".

ENDS

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