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Hamiltonians pass motion to decriminalise cannabis

15 December 2000

Hamiltonians pass motion to decriminalise cannabis

A public meeting in Hamilton last night voted unanimously to support the decriminalisation of cannabis for adults.

Over 50 people attended the meeting and speakers included Peter Murphy from the New Zealand Association of Rationalists and Humanists, Dr David Gilgen from Huntly and Nandor Tanczos, Green Party MP.

National Party MP Tony Steel was unable to attend. Invitations were distributed widely, including to the principals of every High School and Intermediate in Hamilton and workers at different drug rehabilitation agencies.

Following the speakers, questions from the floor were invited. A lively and vigorous debate ensued. A number of common themes emerged and at the end of the night consensus emerged around some key points.

Unanimous recommendations from the meeting were that:

* People should not be criminalised for personal use of cannabis;

* New Zealand needs to develop a Best Policy - this would require a policy review and ongoing evaluation;

* There should be better funding and more emphasis placed on education about the harms of cannabis, particularly relating to mental health, and;

* More research needs to conducted on the physiological and social effects of cannabis use.

Mr Tanczos said he was pleased but not surprised with the outcome of the meeting.

"In Northland a public meeting I held came to similar conclusions," he said. "When people are presented with all the facts and are invited to debate the issues commonsense usually wins the day."


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