Julian: I'm from the National Organisation for Reform of Marijuana Laws. The issue's been quite contentious down here this year but we're very thankful for [MP] Pete Hodgson.. he's made efforts to bring medical marijuana to some patients in the form of Sativex. My question is " If Labour wins the election are the cannabis laws likely to be relaxed further?"
Helen Clark: The fact that cannabis has been an illegal drug doesn't mean that if it has advantage for medical conditions -and certainly some advocate it for treatment of glaucoma - that it can't be considered for that.
We have had select committee reports look at this issue and there is a whole range of points of view: Should there be partial prohibition, should there be partial decriminalisation?
I think its time we had a more rational debate about these issues but its difficult to have a rational debate. In my view the greatest killers in our country are actually tobacco and alcohol and its effects on the road.
Image by Thomas Hawk via FlickrBut the rub is given the harm of those perfectly legal drugs at the moment - and tobacco is one where used as intended it does kill a significant number of people who use it - theres obviously considerable reluctance to actually legalise others.
But I think we need to have a continuing and rational debate about what the best form of the law is and look at what is happening in other western countries where theres a wider range of approaches
Of course, aside from the abuse of due process, lack of cognition that this is about 'prohibition, not medpot, that there is a Law Commision review - the question not asked by media is "Who is going to sign up to a coalition agreement where thou shalt not speak about cannabis 'in this term of governance' else forego the treasury cheque book" ? /Blair
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Consider this PRESS item from 2000
"Duck shoving" is what Health Minister Annette King calls it. They are too scared to talk about it, she says. She has smoked dope, in her younger years. "I admitted it. Some people would not be honest. There's no point in saying no, anyway, when people knowing you years ago would say: 'She's a liar'."
New Zealand is almost certainly heading into a review of laws governing cannabis, with Ms King at the helm. Temporarily, the review is on hold, blocked by the Greens. It will take the three Government parties to find common ground as to which select committee should deal with the issue before any review gets under way. Whichever way it goes, the chance is that within two years, people caught smoking weed could be given fines in the same way that speeding tickets Image by Simon Lieschke via Flickrare issued. Anti dope-smoking billboards and TV adverts would go hand in hand, along with more direct peer pressure-type programmes aimed in particular at Maoris. "I'm pretty sure there won't be a recommendation for legalising," Ms King says. The picture is less clear on how MPs will decide in a free vote in Parliament on part decriminalisation. "I know no-one in Labour who wants to legalise. "Some people want to look at a partial decriminalisation. There's no party position on legalising." (lies: it was a remit from the floor of the Labour Party in 1998/Blair) Ms King at first says she is uncertain how she will vote, but then expands on her thoughts. "You can't have prohibition. The law is broken every minute of the day. "We have to look at harm minimisation from a health perspective, and containment from a policing perspective." [more]