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Cannabis issue exposes National deceit

[ALCP] PRESS RELEASE to all media 21/11/1999

Cannabis issue exposes National deceit

"The former Health Minister has been misappropriating evidence on the harms and costs of prohibition policy, since well before the last election", said Cannabis Party policy analyst, Kevin O'Connell, in Christchurch today. Prime Minister Jenny Shipley is now facing almost certain punishment in the polls for failing to put the brakes on her "expensive and somewhat less than honest" policy of cannabis criminalisation.

According to reports released under the Official Information Act, Mrs Shipley is responsible for the 1996 removal of a highly recommended cost-benefit investigation of cannabis enforcement from the National Policy on Tobacco, Alcohol and other Drugs. [Cabinet Social Policy Committee minutes, 13 May 1996, SPC (96) 50].

Around the same time the Secretary General of INTERPOL, Ray Kendall, estimated that in terms of optimising drug policies, "The dollar you spend on demand reduction is seven times more cost-effective than the dollar you spend on law enforcement".

"Evidence clearly shows prohibition costs hundreds of millions, and delivers benefits only to those who are being paid to make others into criminals", said Mr O'Connell. "National won't review the cost-effectiveness, because this would halt the syphoning off of literally billions through a grossly inequitable War on Drug users."

On Thursday, Justice minister Ryall was castigated for attempting to manufacture evidence on the mental health effects of cannabis, while debating the issue with Jeanette Fitzsimmons of the Green Party on Kim Hill's Radio NZ show.

Parliament's health committee found the harms attributed to cannabis appear to have been overstated, and has twice recommended reviewing the appropriateness of existing policy on cannabis and its use, and reconsideration of the legal status.

"Criminalisation creates a threatening environment, prejudical to the mental health of everyone", said Mr O'Connell. "Make no mistake New Zealand, Prime Minister Shipley is well aware of this, but has pretended not to notice."

Public submissions during the formulation of the National Drug Policy in 1995 advised decriminalisation and targeted education programmes, as the most recommended cannabis harm prevention interventions. The ALCP are adamant that regulating cannabis & hemp commerce will end the oppression of innocent pot smokers, enable effective anti-drug education, initiate a process of genuine research & development, and revolutionize NZ's flagging economy.

"With dishonest Cabinet Ministers no longer driving NZ into anti-dope hysteria and economic exploitation, we will get the justice, health, education and horticulture sectors working again for the benefit of all", say the Legalise Cannabis Party.

In anticipation of liberation, New Zealanders are beginning to realise that the Legalise Cannabis philosophy is easily our most potent vehicle for positive social, economic and ecological reform.

==========================30========================

K.P. O'Connell, #3 list & Waimakariri candidate, ph (03) 389 4065 wk (03) 366 8288

Blair Anderson mailto:blair@technologist.com Electorate Strategist, Christchurch Branch, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

Media Center - phone ++64 3 389-4065 http://www.alcp.org.nz


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