Gordon Campbell | Parliament TV | Parliament Today | News Video | Crime | Employers | Housing | Immigration | Legal | Local Govt. | Maori | Welfare | Unions | Youth | Search

 

It's high time we talked about pot


It's high time we talked about pot

The New Zealand Drug Foundation
1 November 2007

Bud, chronic, dak, dope, ganja, grass, maryjane, reefer and skunk. We all know the slang terms for cannabis. Half of us have tried it, and one-in-eight uses it regularly.

But is cannabis a glorified gateway to harder drugs and suicide, or some sort of herbal cure-all, benignly bestowed by Mother Nature? Should we be selling it from Courtenay Place cafes, or cracking down harder on cannabis smokers and growers?

The New Zealand Drug Foundation wants to start a national conversation about cannabis. Executive Director Ross Bell says, it's high time we took cannabis out of the 'too-hard basket' and started talking about it sensibly and honestly.

"Cannabis is New Zealand’s favourite illicit drug, but it receives scant attention from politicians, policy makers or the media. When it is discussed, evidence is often discarded in favour of myth, misinformation and polarised posturing."

Mr Bell says a number of issues have come to light recently that are of significant importance considering the drug's widespread use. These include the health effects of smoking cannabis, whether there's any valid medicinal use, its links with mental illness, use of the drug by school students, driving under the influence, and the pros and cons of decriminalisation.

He says politicians are happy to spend a lot of time on party pills and P because they know they have the public on side. They don't want to talk about cannabis, because it's not seen as a vote winning issue.

"Parliament hasn't touched cannabis since the Health Commission Inquiry in 2000, which did make a number of recommendations. However, debate was stifled by the 2003 coalition agreement between the Government and United Future, which effectively froze the legal status of cannabis.

"But while politicians ignore the pot problem, its associated social harms continue. We need Government to take the lead in formulating good, well-researched policy discussion based on best evidence. We need the addiction treatment, public health and drug policy sectors to get vocal and inject their knowledge into the debate as well.

"Misinformation and hysteria don't help a society deal effectively with cannabis use, and stigmas around use and fear of prosecution often prohibit cannabis-dependent people from seeking much needed help."

The New Zealand Drug Foundation has kicked off the discussion by dedicating the November issue of its quarterly magazine, Matters of Substance, to the cannabis debate. Leading drug policy researchers, advocates and commentators have provided contributions about cannabis law and policy.

A special "Let's talk about pot" section has also been added to the Drug Foundation website: http://www.drugfoundation.org.nz/.

ends


© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Erebus Memorial In Parnell

Social media can be a wonderful tool for bringing people together in a common cause. It can also be a seedbed and spreader of mis-information on a community-wide scale. To which category do the protests against the siting of an Erebus memorial (to the 257 New Zealanders who died in that tragedy) in a secluded corner of a Parnell park happen to belong? IMO, it is clearly the latter, and the reasons for thinking so are explained below... More>>

 

Agriculture: Government To Phase Out Live Exports By Sea

The Government has announced that the export of livestock by sea will cease following a transition period of up to two years, said Agriculture Minister Damien O’Connor. “At the heart of our decision is upholding New Zealand’s reputation for high ... More>>

ALSO:

Norman Gemmell: New Zealand’s New Housing Policy Is Really Just A New Tax Package — And It’s A Shambles

Norman Gemmell , Te Herenga Waka — Victoria University of Wellington Economists like to talk about “optimal policy instruments” — essentially, policies that achieve their objectives more effectively or efficiently than the alternatives, and ... More>>

Climate Change: Emissions Report Shows Urgent Action Needed

Every part of Government will need to take urgent action to bring down emissions, the Minister for Climate Change, James Shaw said today in response to the recent rise in New Zealand’s greenhouse emissions. The latest annual inventory of New ... More>>

ALSO:


Claire Breen: ACC’s Policy Of Not Covering Birth Injuries Is One More Sign The System Is Overdue For Reform

Claire Breen , University of Waikato Recent media coverage of women not being able to get treatment for birth injuries highlights yet another example of gender bias in healthcare in New Zealand. More>>

Police: Police Accept Findings Of IPCA Report Into Photographs Taken At Checkpoint

Police accept the findings of a report by the Independent Police Conduct Authority (IPCA) relating to photographs taken at a checkpoint in Northland. On November 16, 2019, Police set up a checkpoint down the road from a fight night event in Ruakaka ... More>>

ALSO:

Health: Drug-Testing Law To Be Made Permanent

Interim legislation that is already proving to keep people safer from drugs will be made permanent, Health Minister Andrew Little says. More>>

 
 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

InfoPages News Channels