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Safer Christchurch - A MildGreen Initiative?

Media Release - Another MildGreen Initiative

*SAFER Christchurch - A MildGreen Initiative? *

Christchurch City, yesterday awarded by the World Health Organisation (WHO) for its safe city initiatives at this weeks international talk fest "SAFER Communities" is also being contributed to by longtime city resident health and safety campaigner Blair Anderson today in Victoria Square.

The former city Mayoral aspirant has been an outspoken advocate for informed dialog around public policy bringing to the city's attention the highly successful program 'SAFER' with its focus on reducing alcohol related harms.

"Does use of Cannabis contribute to morbidity, sexual assaults, domestic violence, violent crime? Obviously no, but the same cannot be said for Alcohol." says the proponent for Safer Alternatives For Enjoyable Recreation [SAFER] "Clearly cannabis is less harmful to the user and society than alcohol, the prohibiting of adults from making the rational, safer choice is bad public policy."

Anderson draws the attention of media during this election to the 'unquestioned' six year moratorium on discussing cannabis policy despite enormous international and domestic progress by civil society at the highest level. "This is history in the making" says the proponent for law reform, "both at the UNGASS and NZ's Law Commission review."

The MildGreen 'Class-D' drug classification was first proposed at teh Misuse of Drugs Ammendment #4 Select Committee review is seen as world leading policy applauded by visiting experts and NZ drug czar, Hon Jim Anderton, but how many know it came from the home of law reform and international drug policy harm reduction - Christchurch.

Recently Professor of Law (Otago) Kevin Dawkins declared Class-D the innovation required to provide a legislative frame work for drug control. (see NZ Law Journal)

"The stymied discussion has seen our communities struggle with deficient drug policy, seen an escalation in hard drug prohibition related harms and a continuing, if expedient, political clamour for draconian sentencing absent any robust test of what is broken." says Anderson.

"When have you heard political leadership or candidates tested on drug war efficacy" by journalists or commentators?, "Yet we are the only western democracy held to ransom by a mere 1% of the MMP vote that access to the treasury cheque book is governed by a clause that thou shalt not talk about cannabis for two electoral terms."

Christchurch's sister city, Seattle described in a letter to Denver Colorado authorities that the SAFER initiative there had been declared successful and cheap. Even opponents of the pro-marijuana initiative in Seattle, City Attorney Tom Carr, said his fears that usage would spike dramatically haven't materialised, noting that the "treat cannabis as the lowest possible priority" directive to police had seen minor drug offences plummet to a mere 59 for all of Seattle.

We should not be surprised that our Mayor, Bob Parker has patently refused to even discuss the initiative despite all-out ratepayer funded response to the alcohol problem in the city.

In these uncertain economic times all alternatives deserve to be 'on the table' says the communitarian social ecologist.

The curious are welcome to come and see and discuss the implications of this crime reducing health inspired city wide policy initiative at a lunch time forum on the steps in front of the Cathedral at Noon today and later outside the City of Christchurch Convention Centre - the venue hosting the SAFER CITIES milliondollar "talk about everything but" boondoggle.

The MildGreen Initiative recently sponsored the tour by" Law Enforcement Against Prohibition" proponent and retired British Columbia Provincial Law Court Judge Jerry Paradis.


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