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World Wired For NZ Cannabis Youth Debate

The world will be tuned in next week as New Zealand’s Youth Parliament debates “that the personal use of marijuana be decriminalised”. Observers are hopeful that the one hundred and twenty youth M.P.s will do justice to the smoldering issue, so long avoided by “real” politicians.

A “mock bill” prepared by Youth Affairs officials would be the subject of intense evidential scrutiny - probably on the afternoon of Tuesday, 29th August.

The Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party’s webmaster, Blair Anderson, said that the party would be taking a live relay of Parliament’s national A.M. broadcast and feeding it into RealAudio. Anyone around the world, on-line with a computer soundcard, would be welcome to appreciate the youth insight, by following the link at http://www.alcp.org.nz.

Mr Anderson said that his team are also preparing a simple setup using FireTalk shareware, for participation in an interactive and moderated discussion, pre and post debate - “much like talk-back radio”. All interested groups and individuals - particularly schools - are encouraged to take part.

The ALCP believed that the youth debate would inevitably send a very clear message to government.

New Zealand’s Labour-led coalition is conducting a review of the legal status, in line with recommendations from a major 1998 inquiry into the Mental Health Effects of Cannabis. However with little action after 10 months in office, it appeared that it was ironically being left for the kids to discuss drugs with the grown-ups.

Cannabis Party deputy, Jeanette Saxby, said that the key to harm minimisation was restoring respect for adults right to decide: “While use of cannabis has become an accepted norm in sectors of New Zealand, the ALCP does not promote the use of marijuana, it discourages through effective education the use by those under eighteen”.

Concern has been expressed that youth M.P’s selected by prohibitionist National Party members may be expected to tow the conservative party line. National has previously resolved to block vote against any liberalisation of cannabis law, in spite of the fact that the vote demands freedom of conscience.

It appears National may have seriously misread the public sentiment however, despite having been punished at the ballot box. The marijuana issue arguably decided the 1999 general election outcome. A survey released earlier this week (UMR - Dominion) showed that a significant majority of New Zealanders (60%) were now in favour of taking the crime out of cannabis.

According to ALCP web workers, emerging internet technologies could make all the difference in resolving the cannabis issue, because mainstream media was rapidly losing control of the dialogue.

FireTalk was successfully trialed recently with New Zealand participation during prime time in the major United States alternative policy forums that paralleled the Gore/Bush Presidential nominations. The Shadow Conventions held in Philadelphia and Los Angeles, drew unprecedented media attention to the ethically and scientifically bankrupt War on Drugs.

further information and updates: http://www.alcp.org.nz/youth/index.htm

Blair Anderson, Kevin O’Connell ph 389 4065 - a mild green initiative

Blair Anderson mailto:blair@technologist.com

"Blairs Brain on Cannabis" http://www.alcp.org.nz/candidates/blair Christchurch Branch, Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party

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

It is time within drug policy, to set aside moral cowardice, and adopt harm minimisation; it is the stuff of social capital.


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