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Civil Liberties group praised for cannabis insight

Press Release: Saturday, 12 August, 2000 - MILD GREENS

Civil Liberties group praised for cannabis insight - Mild Greens

Drug law reformers have commended the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties on raising the level of public debate on cannabis - and coming out firmly in favour of “legal regulation”.

Mild Greens Kevin O’Connell and Blair Anderson are hopeful that the ACCL’s analysis may set a new benchmark for discussion on cannabis policy, currently under government review. The reformers are particularly pleased that the Council for Civil Liberties have attacked the politically expedient but heavily flawed and discriminatory model of “partial decriminalisation”.

“The state is indeed wrong to think it can legitimately punish people for activities which do not cause a physical harm to others”.

The ACCL report highlights several unintended consequences of violating basic freedoms including the fact that the prohibitionist approach to marijauana “damaged police relations in the community” and “nurtured anti-social behaviour’.

Anomalies of prohibition highlighted in the 1998 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Mental Health Effects of Cannabis, are reinforced in the ACCL report:

“Public health agencies who might control cannabis abuse have little credibility as they are associated with the hypocrisy of government which profits from other, more dangerous, drugs.”

Significantly, the Council’s analysis puts drug-prevention groups in the firing line:

“The criminialisation of otherwise law abiding people has been promoted by the very agencies whose power increases as a result of the social chaos that has ensued.”

The Mild Greens say that the reform advocacy of the civil liberties council is timely, given that prohibitionists have been clamouring to control public dialogue on the law review. The ACCL’s four page analysis puts to shame the “community safety” weasle words of forty-four prohibitionist Mayors of New Zealand cities and towns.

Civic leaders, who have apparently taken a lead from the Education Accord, in ‘standing firmly against any liberalisation of cannabis laws’, appear to be unacceptably blind to the real issues motivating the law review, including the view of many experts that prohibition itself causes greater use, particularly amongst youth.

“It is an indictment on our so-called free democracy that the onus is on reformers to justify change, when a massively intrusive law has never been legitimately justified, assessed or mandated despite obvious and costly failure”, say the Mild Greens. “If we are genuinely looking for the way to break the cycle of harm and violence afflicting communities, then we need to consider very closely the intolerance inflicted via existing cannabis policy on the population groups most at risk.”

“Cheers to the Auckland Council for Civil Liberties for their well-balanced report - isn’t it time we saw such wisdom acknowledged by the most progressive New Zealand Government in 30 years?”

Society must stop treating adults like children while expecting children to behave like adults, say the Mild Greens.

Kevin O’Connell, Blair Anderson: (03) 389 4065 http://www.alcp.org.nz ( ACCL report: see http://www.newsroom.co.nz/Story.asp?S=26031 )

-------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------

The Mild Greens are a pro-active “renegade” faction of the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party. -------------------------------------------------------------------------- --------------------

cc Hon Parekura Horomia, Minister of Maori Affairs. cc Mahara Okeroa, M.P, Te Tai Tonga (Southern Maori) cc Hon Helen Clark, Prime Minister cc Hon Laila Harre, Minister of Youth Affairs cc Hon Annette King, Minister of Health cc Nandor Tanczos, M.P.


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