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Cannabis-Using MP - Integrity Of Law in Question

PRESS RELEASE

14 December 1999

Gael Donoghue
Health Spokesperson


CANNABIS-USING MP BRINGS INTEGRITY OF LAW INTO QUESTION

Gael Donoghue, Christian Heritage Health Spokesperson says, "Continuing revelations of using cannabis, and a determination to continue to do so, by Nandor Tanczos now Green MP brings the integrity of the law into question.

"The law is the law in this country and we ALL have to abide by it, whether farmers, housewives, lawyers, or Members of Parliament," she said.

"It is illegal to smoke and possess cannabis in New Zealand, with offenders liable to two years imprisonment. Here we have a new MP stubbornly determined, privately and publicly stating (Paul Holmes Programme TV1, 13 December 1999), that he intends to continue to do so for 'recreational and religious use' as though this therefore makes it OK!

"What a great role model for the young people of this country! Mr Tanczos may want to change the legislation, and sadly is now in a position to influence that possibility, but in the meantime the reality is he, like the rest of us, has to obey the law or suffer the consequences," she said.

"The police reaction to all this is disappointing. A Police spokesperson is reported as saying Tanczos' comments do not constitute 'sufficient evidence' of an offence.

"The irony of all this is evidenced in the latest statistics released the same day from a Land Transport Safety Authority Marijuana Study. Researchers found that when combined with alcohol, cannabis and cars are a lethal mix - more than one in five drivers killed on the roads in a two year period had been smoking marijuana in the hours before they crashed.

"Added to this are all the scientifically proven detrimental effects of cannabis already documented, including the long term storage in fat cells in the body (causing people to crash cars because they 'smoked a few hours ago' and thought therefore they were OK when driving), and the long term psychological effects.

"Who needs yet another drug like this made legal in New Zealand?" asks Mrs Donoghue. With the recent passing of legislation making access to more alcohol easier by younger people, to contemplate legalising cannabis as well flies in the face of all these statistics, not to mention common sense.

"Is it any wonder then, that when a new Member of Parliament takes the stance he has, and with the knowledge we have about cannabis and Nandor Tanczos' publicly declared use, that the integrity of his ability to perform the serious work of representing the people of New Zealand in our Parliament is brought into question? The rather pathetic response from the police in the matter no doubt will cause similar questioning from the public," concluded Mrs Donoghue.

Contact: Mrs Gael Donoghue on (06) 347 6000 or (025) 514 980
Party Leader Graham Capill (021) 661 766

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