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Cannabis R18 consistency for election

6 October 2008
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party media release

Cannabis R18 consistency for election

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party have secured the shortest slogan in political history on this year's ballot paper - 'R18' (see http://www.elections.org.nz/maori/parties/registered-political-parties.html). This eye-catching option will sit with the equally eye-catching cannabis leaf as part of ALCP's listing on election day this November 8.

The Party expect the inclusion of the age limit will clarify their moderate regulatory stance on legalisation which is a responsible and equitable choice for New Zealand. It includes cottage industry, Dutch style cafes, adult-control home grow, and medicinal cannabis provision.

Party president and Auckland Central candidate Kevin O'Connell, who instigated the ALCP logo update, hopes the inclusion of R18 will also open up debate about an appropriate and consistent legal age for alcohol, tobacco and cannabis.

"The double standards have been dragging on. The powers-that-be still pretend that keeping cannabis illegal sends a strong message. However the only message being sent to young people under prohibition is one of extreme hypocrisy."

Partliament's Health select committee reported unanimously in 1998 that "the double standards surrounding cannabis are an impediment to effective anti drug education." It also found that prohibition of cannabis appeared to be completely ineffective in deterring cannabis use and uptake. This was verified by a follow-up inquiry (2000-2003) which still failed to deliver an improved health promotion status for cannabis.

ALCP believes this highlights a fatal flaw in health promotion. It accounts for poor outcomes also with alcohol and tobacco, and other areas where young NZers are too often not listening, and is something that needs to change.

Notably, the 1986 Ottawa Charter on health promotion states that effective measures require 'identification of obstacles to health promotion in non-health sectors'. "There is a clear indication here that the Justice sector has completely failed to deter cannabis use," says Mr O'Connell. "Health promotion professionals need to start adhering to the UN Charter which underpins their work."

Figures from official drug surveys put use of cannabis prevalence in NZ at a conservative 373,310 consumers, and 80% of youth experimenting with the herb. The Cannabis party points out that if one in twenty voters ticks the ALCP R18 leaf, a very poor piece of legislation - which is creating nothing but disrespect and dysfunction in NZ - will be expeditiously removed from statutes.


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