The New Zealand Drug Foundation hopes to reignite the debate over legalising cannabis and has the backing of other (selected) health sector experts.
Foundation head Ross Bell says politicians had to take cannabis out of the too-hard basket and revisit the discussion.
"no decision about us, without us".
Health Sector Advocate (not consulted) and MildGreen, Blair Anderson said today that contempory society has become 'distrustful of politico-speak surrounding drugs' and suggests that the way to move the debate forward is to foster unfettered participatory democracy and bring the stakeholders, inparticular the youth demograph onside. Anderson envisages that a MildGreen 'Social Ecology' approach can and will enable local governance 'libertarian municipalities' to respond to local needs.
It begins here...
"Rules 'proscribed' by central governance will strive to mediocrotity, decend to infantile detail and fail to address communities of interest. A transistion to libertarian self governance (and responsibility) is a one way street, New Zealand will never be the same... we better do 'this good' and move on", he said in Christchurch today.
Anderson's recent Mayoral tilt, charted the course commencing with "Time to Talk" drug policy. The challenge to Mayor Bob Parker is, can he deliver on his promise?
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Half of New Zealanders had tried cannabis, he said, and one in eight used it regularly, but Parliament had not touched the issue since the 2000 Health Commission Inquiry and subsequent debate was stifled by the Government-United Future coalition in 2003.
"Misinformation and hysteria do not help a society deal effectively with cannabis," Bell said. "And the stigmas around use and fear of prosecution often stop the cannabis-dependent from seeking help."
Politicians were happy to debate party pills and methamphetamine, because the public was on their side, he said. Although cannabis was not seen as a vote winner, questions surrounding its social harm remained, he said.
"These include health effects, whether there is any valid medical use, its links with mental illness, supporting schools dealing with student cannabis (use), driving under the influence and the pros and cons of decriminalisation."
With party pills being made illegal at the end of the year it was time the cannabis debate started, he said. (BZP prevelence or harms as nominal as they have been, wouldnt have been a significant problem at all if Anderton's drug policy hadnt failed in the first place. For a country that can even consider 'legal regulation of pot' the banning of BZP now looks increasingly insane./Blair)
Alcohol and Drug Association chief executive Kate Kearney agreed it was time the debate was relaunched. The association had tracked increasing calls to the Alcohol and Drug Helpline over the last year. The calls had mainly come from men in the 19 to 25 age group.
Professor David Fergusson, who leads the long-running University of Otago's Christchurch Health and Development Study, said the 2003 debate had been politically thwarted. "Secondly, evidence as to the adverse effects of cannabis has increased in the last few years." (as has evidence of the failure of prohibition/Blair)
New Zealand needed to develop a grey position of tolerance which included the criminalisation of the sale, supply or purchase of cannabis, he said. But the possession of cannabis by responsible recreational users should be legal. (and just where do responsible recreational users obtian said cannabis... 'twit' comes to mind!, the right to posess is a barren right without the right to grow, store, process, trade and exchange /Blair)
Fergusson, whose long-term study has followed 1265 people since 1977, said cannabis was imbedded in New Zealand society. "Now New Zealand has to learn to live with it."
The Drug Foundation has dedicated the November issue of its quarterly magazine, Matters of Substance, to cannabis. A Let's Talk About Pot section has also been added to the foundation's website.