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Cannabis use climbed under National


28 July 2000

Cannabis use climbed under National

Green MP Nandor Tanczos said he was astounded at Nick Smith ridiculing the Health Minister over her plans to reduce cannabis use when under the National Government cannabis use increased by nearly 10 per cent.

Figures from the Alcohol and Public Health Research Unit at the Auckland School of Medicine show that in 1990 43 per cent of people admitted to having used cannabis. By 1998 that group had become a majority at 52 per cent.

"Nick Smith should pull his head in," said Mr Tanczos. "His call to stop a review of cannabis laws is simply an attempt to hide the clear failure of his own Government in this area.

"It is really interesting that while in Government National paid only lip service to climbing rates of cannabis use and now, when a new Government wants to look at more sensible solutions, National laugh and refuse to participate," said Mr Tanczos.

"In anyone's language that is plain hypocrisy."

Mr Tanczos said nobody disputed the failure of the current system and said new approaches internationally had proven far more effective than prohibition.

In the Netherlands where they do not arrest people for cannabis, but educate them properly instead, only 15.6 per cent of people admit to having ever used cannabis and only 4.5 per cent in the last year. This compares to the respective figures of 52 per cent and 16 per cent in New Zealand.

"Nick Smith and some other members of the National Party - certainly not all of them - need to acquaint themselves with the facts before riding off on a crusade."

Nandor Tanczos MP: 025 246 5235


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