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Media soft on cannabis prohibitionists

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party
Media Release
13 September 2005

Media soft on cannabis prohibitionists

Media have shut the public out of the cannabis debate by refusing to acknowledge and explore the broad case for reform that the Legalise movement promotes. Craven politicians have stepped into the breach.

Voters in this election see potential coalition partners, Peter Dunne, Jim Anderton, and now Winston Peters et al convincing themselves and spreading disinformation, while never having to answer questions about the absolute ineffectiveness, injustice, dishonesty and damage of their policy.

These pseudo-statesmen completely ignore the spreading criminalisation of New Zealand and its chronic effect. And all too often, so does the mainstream media.

United Future's feeble bottom-line achievement that blocked debate in this term of Parliament has been trumpeted by the party, yet their cannabis policy remains an unworkable and extremely expensive crock. Struggling New Zealand First is now clutching at the same desperate populist straw with no legalisation and any softening of drug laws in their most recent full page election ads. But there is no evidence base to their policy. They are a joke.

Instead of marginalising reformers as a lunatic fringe, New Zealand media collectively needs to be putting the screws on the prohibitionists. They should be asking Dunne, Anderton and Winston Peters how truly effective this failed policy they are pushing really is. How large is their black market, how much contempt do teenagers have for their hypocrisy, and what are the real costs to our taxpayers and communities of the many who are convicted and jailed?

The voice for cannabis law reform has been dismissed as an insignificant and naughty 2% or less, when in fact 20% of us are current outlaws, according to the official cannabis use surveys. Indeed, over half the surveyed population have broken this law.

Giving half the country a criminal record may lessen the emigration crisis, but it does little to minimise harm, maintain law and order, and keep cannabis on the top shelf away from the kids.

Paradoxically, prohibition encourages teenage use through a "forbidden fruit" mentality. Youth consumption rates in the Netherlands are a fraction of New Zealand's and, unlike our tinny houses, their coffee shops are R18.


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