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Cannabis debate puts heat on parliament

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party,

9 November 2007

Cannabis debate puts heat on parliament

Bravo to the NZ Drug Foundation for re-igniting discussion about the cannabis legal status. A rational public debate on the pros and cons of decriminalisation options for New Zealand's number one illicit drug is long overdue. To promote real evidence will be far more useful than the silly 'media hysteria' approach which has happened to date. But it's really about nailing the evidence and coming to a conclusion.

The Party totally agrees with the sentiment that this is the most important issue that politicians have studiously avoided.

"MPs have been gutless about cannabis-related policy and the negative effects of the existing prohibition regime", said ALCP president, Kevin O’Connell. "Meanwhile the public have been abused and ill-served, and all New Zealanders are paying for the nation's black market economy, high criminality rate, and the continual 'need' for more police and prisons."

Prohibition is a rip-off and protects no-one. There is overwhelming evidence that criminalisation has not worked either as a deterrent or in limiting supply, use or popularity of the herb. Prohibition most adversely impacts on two groups frequently targeted by police: our young (Maori in particular), and the sick.

While the public hear a lot about the supposed harms of cannabis use, the fact remains that the costs and social harms of prohibition have not been acknowledged by the powers-that-be. This suppression of discussion represents a new low in Parliament's disservice to New Zealand, allowing a bogus law to inflict its damage under a cone of silence.

It is worth noting that both the new Drug Driving and Criminal Proceeds (Recovery) Bills will cast horribly wide revenue-generating nets while simultaneously adding to the social costs of prohibition.

"Parliament is so wrong to be building legislation on top of a fundamentally flawed and counter-productive prohibition foundation."

The ALCP would like to see NGOs and ministries such as health, justice, social development, and customs also participating in resolving 'the most appropriate legal status for cannabis.' The pained silence to date, and total inaction on cannabis law recommendations from the Health Committee to the Justice Select Committee - as well as the 'blind eye' of Government's Expert Advisory Committee on Drugs (EACD) - seems tantamount to having been orchestrated.

Let's all take a 'credibility check' and lift our game in an effort to get past the fear-mongers and wowsers.

The ALCP have a policy solution; introduction of the highly recommended adult control 'home grow' model - see http://www.alcp.org.nz/policy.html

ENDS

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