Promotion is not aim of ALCP
first published: Christchurch Star 25/8/99
Promotion is not aim of ALCP
G. Mintrom, (28/7/99) asks how the "pro-cannabis brigade" propose to grow, harvest, distribute, warehouse, sell & advertise marijauna - and who will profit.
Firstly, it isn't a pro-pot movement, but an anti-prohibition one. Around 20% of the population use marijauna, obtained fairly easily. With the law fallen into disrepute, creating outlaws sends a dangerous and unsustainable message.
Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party (ALCP) policy is about respecting liberty and managing risks cost-effectively. We actually oppose promotion of the drug.
The ALCP would evolve ALAC into a tobacco, alcohol & cannabis advisory council for systematic reform. The authority would develop infrastructure, regulations and education to minimise harms and costs to the community.
Given that liberalisation overseas has not increased uptake or use, there is no reasonable argument for not allowing NZ adults the right to grow their own - and this is our crucial "legalisation adjustment". If deemed necessary, individual cultivators may have to be licenced.
The same principles as apply with the domestic liquor cabinet would apply with whatever was springing up in the glasshouse, except by taking hypocrisy out of the picture, the health messages and rules have some show of being respected. Parliament appears to have recognised this in the "drinking age" reforms.
While non-drug hemp crops would be immediately viable, as they have recently become in Canada, any trade in the drug would be further down the line. It is reasonable to expect that growing, warehousing, distribution and sale would be equitable, discrete, secure, registered and policed. In Holland the cafes are serviced with produce grown indoors.
Presumably excise tax would keep prices artificially high, limiting use and providing a generous health fund. The public would be protected against excessive use and supply to minors, by enforcing the Alcoholism and Drug Addiction Act and the cannabis version of the Sale of Liquor Act.
On balance, the crime and costs currently stemming from prohibition will be replaced by credible anti-drug education, access to treatment, medicine, much needed industry and commerce, and mutual respect in the community.
Our depressed rural sector and environment stand to significantly benefit from reintroducing the hemp resource. Harvesting technology was patented in 1936 - the hemp decorticator.
With reform, the ALCP confidently expects a rapid and ongoing "trickle around" effect of economic gain. All credit to the Star for fostering debate. The important thing is that we talk about and investigate solutions.
dated: 16 August 1999
Kevin O'Connell, policy analyst, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, c/- 50 Wainoni Rd, Christchurch, ph: (643) 389 4065 http://www.alcp.org.nz