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Give us truth, not "NZ First" says drug reformer

Press Release, to all media,

Give us truth, not "NZ First" says political drug reformer

Social ecologist and cannabis reform candidate Kevin O'Connell, who is running in Christchurch for the ALCP, warns voters to be wary of parties with candidates who pander to ignorance on populist issues like drug use.

He was responding to Brian Donnelly's denigration of Helen Clark for saying that Labour supported repeal of total prohibition of cannabis at Victoria University yesterday.

Labour's proposed initiative would be in line with the twice tabled unanimous recommendations of Parliament's Health Select Committee, which recommended:

"that Government review the appropriateness of existing policy on cannabis and its use, and reconsider the legal status of canabis." (17 Dec 1998, and 10 June 1999)

Perhaps because NZ1 have not been contributing to the Health Committee explains why their MP's are not with the program, said Mr O'Connell. "Or perhaps they see votes or favour in keeping the dishonest status quo, as evidenced by their total lack of pursuit of an honest drug policy while in Government."

Donnelly has short term memory loss or is "misrepresenting reality" if a referendum has been NZ1 policy for years, said Mr O'Connell. Winston Peters dismissed the issue as "trivial" in April 1997, even though a political party had received 35 000 votes for cannabis legalisation in the 1996 election.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party was formed because politicians are unable to be open and honest about drugs or law and order, due to political safety considerations.

It is a pity, said Mr O'Connell, a cannabis and mental health researcher, "because we are all subjected to a paranoid and dangerous community, thanks to the political hypocrisy of prohibition."

The double standard on drugs (identified as "an impediment to effective anti-drug education" by the Health Committee 1998 Inquiry) is the best advertisment for drug use amongst youth any marketer could hope for", he said.

The market for cannabis in New Zealand was conservatively estimated as $1 billion, in 1993, said the candidate. That tranlates to one hundred tonnes, despite the 923,000 police hours squandered annually chasing cannabis "crims"- prohibiton can hardly be "seen to be largely effective".

It is hoped that enough discerning voters will see the cannabis debate as a "litmus test" for politicians' intellectual honesty in the up and coming election.

Only one in twenty votes for the ALCP will ensure that a non-repressive Government is elected, and that legal marijuana for consenting adults is finally pushed through the House. "We will be the conscience in the New Parliament", said Mr O'Connell.

========ends========

Kevin: (03) 389 4065


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