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Norml increases push for cannabis law reform

National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, New Zealand Inc.

NORML's Annual Conference increases push for cannabis law reform

Cannabis law reform activists from around New Zealand gathered in Wellington and congratulated the Government for continuing to advance the reform process. Delegates also called upon the Government to remove obstacles to patient's safe access to medicinal cannabis, and to develop a regulated system of legally-approved cannabis.

The 2003 Annual Conference of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) was held at Tapu Te Renga marae in Island Bay on Saturday 25 and Sunday 26 October.

Guest speakers included Dr David Hadorn of the Drug Policy Forum, Greg Soar of patient's advocacy group Green Cross, Richard Beasley from Wellington's Medical Research Institute, Stephen Berry, deputy leader of the Libertarianz Party, and NORML's most well-known member Green MP Nandor Tanczos.

NORML's president Chris Fowlie reminded the conference that the Government's agreement with United Future not to introduce legislation to end cannabis prohibition should be taken as a compliment.

"It is only because we have been such effective campaigners and come so close to changing the law that Peter Dunne has forced his Victorian values upon us all."

The well-attended conference was a signal to the Government that the movement to end cannabis prohibition would not go away.

Delegates were heartened by the Health select committee's recent report on their inquiry into the legal status of cannabis, which backed NORML's submission about the harms caused by cannabis prohibition, and called for the Justice and Electoral committee to urgently complete the process.

Resolutions passed by the Conference:

Remit 1:

"That the NORML Conference welcomes the progress made on the cannabis issue over recent years, including:

1. completion of two reports by the Health Select Committee confirming the failures and injustices of cannabis prohibition laws;

2. the increasing tolerance by the NZ Police at J-Day and other protest activities;

3. the falling arrest rates for cannabis offences over the past three years, apparently a result of Police use of their discretionary powers;

and calls on the Justice and Electoral Committee of Parliament to advance the reform process expeditiously through inclusive public consultation."

Remit 2:

"That the NORML Conference supports patient's safe access to medicinal cannabis and calls on the government to recognise the overwhelming public support for medicinal cannabis to be made legally available; and urges the Minister of Health to take urgent action to remove obstacles to safe legal access."

Remit 3:

"That the NORML Board of Directors approach the government with the objective of developing a regulated system of safe and approved cannabis supply in order to most effectively reduce the availability of cannabis to minors, and to separate the markets for cannabis and other drugs."

NORML Board of Directors 2003-4:

The newly elected members of the NORML New Zealand executive are: Chris Fowlie (president & spokesperson, Auckland), Phil Saxby (secretary, Wellington), Adrian Picot (treasurer, Auckland), Stephen McIntyre (South Island coordinator & spokesperson, Christchurch), Mark Smith (Napier), Max Coyle (Wellington), Julian Crawford (Dunedin), Brandon Hutchison (Christchurch) and Duncan Eddy (Tauranga).

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