Canvassing for Opinion - aka "Blairs Brain on Cannabis"

IMHO prohibition sentiment requires inherent addiction to status quo, an incapacity to visualise beyond the here and now and a desperate desire to know others might feel the same... Reform is not revolutionary, rather it is evolutionary. Having survived banging your head against a brick wall the evolutionist relishes having stopped. / Blair

Monday, May 23, 2005

Pros and cons of cannabis debated

Pros and cons of cannabis debated (Dunedin)

Warnings of the evils of cannabis mixed with appeals for a little less hysteria at a forum on cannabis at the University of Otago yesterday.

Speakers from the Green Party, United Future, Destiny New Zealand, the Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party, International Socialists Organisation and the Dunedin School of Medicine tossed around the relative merits of prohibition and legalisation.

Prof Robin Taylor, of the Otago Medical School, steered clear of the moral and political issues to make a plug for inhaling fresh air.

Smoking cannabis, like smoking tobacco, had serious long-term health effects that were born not only by the individual but by society, the respiratory physician said.

Green MP and one-time Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party member Metiria Turei and United Future MP Gordon Copeland represented the poles of the debate in Parliament.

Ms Turei said it should be legal for people over the age of 18.

Mr Copeland said cannabis took a particular toll on young people, sapping their motivation, which was why no change to cannabis law was a condition of their support for the Labour Government.

The Destiny Church movement's two representatives on the panel, Dunedin pastor Gary Davis and Destiny New Zealand policy director David Jesze, were the only panellists to admit to having smoked marijuana - though both opposed legalisation.

Mr Jesze said decriminalisation was not in the interests of future generations, he said.

Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party spokesman Paul McMullan said it was an issue of personal rights.

The increase in the use of cannabis had not been accompanied by the predicted negative health impacts, he said.

International Socialists spokesman Dr Brian Roper said prohibition had never worked and should be rolled back, but to solve the problem it was necessary to understand why people took drugs.

Many did so to make themselves feel better as they struggled to get by on inadequate incomes in a society that made them feel alienated and disempowered.,1478,3280718a3845,00.html

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