Opunake's Principal maria Potter response seems to be the pragmatic one here.
Unfortunately MP Dunne et al are unable to get over what the evidence says, and why a statutory empowered expert review committee recommended legally regulate as Dunne still touts prohibition - as if we only redoubled our efforts it might eventually work.
What we have (now) is Helen Clark's partial prohibition. One that places possession and sale of cannabis like substances as R18. This has merit. And unless media and other commentators give balance to the merits the message the 2008 restricted substances regulations send will be lost. Not that Dunne is about to let on these regulations were brought in to protect young people.
Without doubt, these regulation do challenge our sensibilities as to why cannabis is not included under them, more especially as it was United Future who held Labour to a thou shalt not talk about cannabis in this term of parliament or we'll chop up the treasury cheque book despite there being a global revision of drug policy. Dunne went to the UN and pretended the 2008 regulations didn't exist. He attended various Ministry of Health drug policy events at Te Papa and refused to acknowledge that experts were calling the 2008 regulations world class. Indeed Professor Nutt former chair of the UK expert advisory committee (ACMD) said of these regulations "I wish I had thought of them first" and whens asked if cannabis should be in them, "absolutely" he replied in answer to questions at the Christchurch, Otago School of Medicine lectures last year. So why haven't we heard about these regulations?
Could it be because they became law the day John Key became right and honorable? Could it be because they were gazetted and got royal seal of approval smack in the middle of the 2008 election and no one noticed? Or is it because good drug policy is just plain boring....
Our current response, as correspondent Mbossa points out effectively makes these soft 'alternatives' to alcohol and cigarettes compulsory and a right of passage. With such double standards, we couldn't set up our kids for failure if we tried...
From my colleague and Education Professor Rodney Skagar (yes he visted NZ on a lecture tour on Drug Ed.) -
Although we urge young people to abstain from alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs, our national surveys show that many do not heed our warnings. To prevent adolescents who do experiment from falling into abusive patterns, we need to create fallback strategies that focus on safety. Putting safety first requires that we be careful to provide our young people with credible information and resources. We also need to teach our teenagers how to identify and handle problems with alcohol and other drugs—if and when they occur—and how to get help and support.http://www.drugpolicy.org/safetyfirst/
Join us at the Safety First Project in advocating for reality-based approaches to drug education at home and in school that foster open and honest dialogue around the risks and consequences of drug use. We also invite you to critically examine random student [sniffing, searching and] drug testing, an invasive policy that can erode relationships of trust between students and adults at school and unintentionally direct students to more dangerous behaviors.
Blair Anderson, Christchurch NZ. Educators for Sensible Drug Policy. http://www.efsdp.org/