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

Sunday, April 29, 2012

End Cannabis Prohibition - NZ online petition

Prohibition is a failure. Here’s why we need a new approach for all drugs, starting with cannabis!

(sign petition to Prime Minister John Key here)

President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle...
President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama pose for a photo during a reception at the Metropolitan Museum in New York with John Key, and his wife, Mrs. Bronagh Key. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

New  Zealand has the world’s highest cannabis arrest rate, yet more people  choose to use cannabis now than ever before: NZ Police arrest cannabis  users at a rate 50% higher than even the United States. Every year about  15,000 people are arrested on about 25,000 cannabis charges. 85% of  these are for small personal offenses. However, in the past decade  alone, those who admit tohaving used cannabis rose from 43% to 52% of  New Zealand adults – up over 20%. “Current users” also dramatically rose  from 13% to 16%. People are also using more, at a younger age, and are  reporting an increased availability and dropping prices. (Source:  Auckland University Alcohol & Public Health Research Unit 1999)

Prohibition  removes control over cannabis and creates a lucrative black market:  sales continue, but in an uncontrolled way without age restrictions,  marketing or quality controls, or taxation being paid. Regulating  cannabis could mean an age limit and other controls similar to that for  alcohol.

Prohibition encourages use by glamorising cannabis use  and creating a rebellious and daring image. Uncontrolled sales and  pyramid selling mean it is even easier for teenagers to buy marijuana  than it is to buy alcohol.

Prohibition undermines effective  drug education: Open and honest communication is impossible in an  environmentof guilt and persecution. We need effective education about  drugs so that people can evaluate any risks and make responsible and  informed choices.

Prohibition itself sends the wrong message –  that society is hypocritical, and is more concerned with moral  judgements than evidence and fact. Supporting prohibition shows our  society is unable to make rational decisions based on scientific  evidence and reasoned analysis.

Prohibition diverts police  attention away from real crime: The police claim to be under-resourced  but still place a high priority on busting pot smokers. There is a  cannabis arrest every 30 minutes on average, while most crimes that have  victims remain unsolved.

Prohibition creates crime and  violence: While marijuana itself does not cause crime, violence and  intimidation regulate the cannabis black market, and are used to enforce  ‘contractual obligations’ or scare off competitors. Cannabis is now  worth so much money thatpeople get killed over it.

Prohibition  leads to hard drugs: cannabis itself does not lead to the use of hard  drugs, but having dealers who sell pot and heroin often does. We need to  separate the markets for marijuana and for hard drugs, by regulating  marijuana sales through coffee-shops. The rate of using heroin in the  Netherlands has dropped every year since they legalise cannabis sales,  and now only 0.3% have tried heroin, compared to 1.3% of New  Zealanders.

Prohibition erodes respect for the police and our  entire legal system: Those who do get caught resent a legal system that  punishes them for behaviour that does not affect other people, and the  police are further alienated for defending an unpopular, unjust and  unworkable law.

Prohibition destroys our civil rights and the  notion of a free society: Prohibition affects everyone – it violates our  freedom to choose, our right to self-determination, and the principles  of justice, privacy,property and liberty. Laws should exist to protect  these rights, not destroy them.

Prohibition denies  seriously-ill patients access to medical marijuana, an effective and  safe medicine: Marijuana prohibition applies to everyone, including the  sick and dying. Marijuana has been shown to be an effective and safe  medicine for many conditions including cancer, AIDS ‘wasting syndrome’,  glaucoma, chronic pain, rheumatoid arthritis and a variety of spastic  conditions including multiple sclerosis, paraplegia, quadriplegia and  epilepsy. Marijuana should be made immediately available for  prescription by health professionals.

Prohibition denies New  Zealand the economic and ecological benefits of hemp:Hemp is the  non-psychoactive strain of the cannabis plant, grown by farmers  throughout the world for industrial purposes, but banned in New Zealand  under prohibition. Hemp has over 25,000 commercial uses, including  textiles, paper, cosmetics, paints, fuel,foodstuffs, insulation, and  even biodegradable plastics. It produces a much higher yield than wood  or cotton, and requires virtually no pesticides or fertilisers. Hemp has  the potential to create thousands of jobs and revitalise our rural  sector, but prohibition prevents the cultivation of hemp.

It’s  time to stop arresting marijuana users: Hundreds of thousands of New  Zealanders use marijuana, and very few abuse it. Arresting these  otherwise law-abiding citizens serves no legitimate purpose, extends  government into inappropriate areas of our lives, and causes enormous  harm to the lives, careers and families of the thousands of marijuana  smokers arrested every year. Far more harm is caused by marijuana  prohibition than by the use of marijuana itself.

Other policies  are more effective: Overseas jurisdictions that have moved away from  cannabis prohibition – e.g South Australia, several states in the US,  and much of Europe – have not experienced anysignificant rises in  cannabis use, and have achieved dramatic savings in law enforcement as  well as improving the effectiveness of drug education and treatment  services. The Netherlands effectively legalised cannabis in 1976, and  use has since dropped relative to other countries. In 1999 only 15% of  Dutch adults had tried cannabis (compared to 52% in NZ) and 5% were  current users (13% in NZ).
http://www.avaaz.org/en/petition/cannabis/?tta
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