I just listened to a Radio NZ interview (stream) with the head of the NZ Drug foundation.. on calls for cannabis law review/reform. The following issues were discussed :
1) It is apparent to many, that prohibition is not achieving its stated outcomes : stopping manufacture, supply & use of Cannabis & other ‘Drugs’
2) There is clear evidence, that cannabis does have therapeutic/medicinal value (even though ‘officially’ it does not). There is an option currently available, under NZ law : Sativex (oral spray, extract) BUT it is not widely available or covered by the pharmaceutical discounts program. Also it contains THC, which is not recommended for some conditions, that the drug has potential to treat : M-S, Epilepsy, Cancer & HIV side-effects etc.
3) It is a politically ‘sensitive issue’ & many MPs are hesitant to give support, fearing a back-lash from voters… even though a recent TV poll showed 84% support for ‘Decrim. of cannabis’
4) There is still an unresolved debate about, what to replace prohibition with : Legalisation, Decriminalisation, Regulation etc. BUT as there are several countries, USA states etc. now moving to law reform models, there are options to consider.
5) There is mounting evidence that cannabis IS less harmful than Alcohol & Synthetic alternatives.
6) Under the current regime; cannabis is widely available to anyone with cash & access (‘tinny house’). Under a regulated regime, there would be strict controls, education & treatment options. In countries that are regulating cannabis : Holland, Portugal, Uruguay & states in USA, they are having more control over use. Many ‘problems’ around cannabis are with young people using it, while their brain is still developing & over doing it. EDUCATION is the thing that is really needed, not Prohibition.
The NZ Drug Foundation support treating Cannabis as a HEALTH issue, NOT a Criminal one.. I agree !
It was good to hear another voice calling for law reform..