miseducation ?

I read a media release on ‘cannabis harm prevention’ from a NZ university, masters graduate.. BUT having read through this, I think it’s about ‘miseducation’ (IMHO) rather than addressing; FACTS. She reportedly spent time interviewing Police in Aotearoa/NZ & overseas, in jurisdictions that now allow legal regulation of the drug & her findings, that sprung from it. The ‘problem’ being they are mostly giving their view, from the Prohibition & LAW ENFORCEMENT perspective. I read these comments:

‘Government, police and health agencies need clear guidelines for public campaigns on preventing harm from cannabis use, according to new research from Massey University.’

‘(name removed), who graduated this week with a Master of International Security, investigated the social harms from cannabis (aka marijuana, pot, weed, grass, dope) by interviewing police in countries where the drug is legally available. Her findings come amid public debate about possible law change in New Zealand.’

‘Her study aimed to find out what preventive measures are effective in countries where cannabis is legalised, to help inform and prepare New Zealand Police of likely outcomes if cannabis is legalised here. She found that cannabis causes social harm regardless of its legal status, including as a factor in criminal and gang activity, in road accidents and in the mental health of younger users from disadvantaged backgrounds.’

then this:
“Cannabis harm still occurs in non-prosecutorial jurisdictions… therefore, cannabis harm is an on-going social problem regardless of the drug’s legal status, and it will also be an on-going police problem,” she says.

‘Front line police officers she interviewed in the Netherlands and states of Colorado and Oregon in the United States, where recreational cannabis use is not an offence, provided insights on how their communities responded with cannabis legally available.’

‘They said that contrary to expectations, legalising the drug did not eliminate crime related to selling it, or gangs from continuing to profit from its sale.’

‘All of her interviewees had cannabis law reform presented as a positive change for police, yet – as one officer said, “we just have not seen all the wonderful promises that were made to us.”

‘Others observed cannabis was a gateway to harder drugs, and one officer expressed concern that the legal cannabis industry was attempting to target children to create a future market.’

then these statements; ‘Front-line police officers she interviewed noted the following issues:

· the enduring role organised crime plays in profiting from cannabis

· inconsistent police policies are exploited, resulting in erosion of perceived police effectiveness

· driving while cannabis-impaired is a largely unmitigated risk, which may be a significant factor in vehicle crashes

· cannabis regularly misused by youth causes learning difficulties and leads to poor social outcomes

· it is important, and sometimes difficult, to get harm-prevention messaging right’

followed by these comments on ‘youth drug use’;
‘The area of most concern is youth consumption of cannabis, says (the graduate), because it is strongly associated with mental and social harms. However, she points out that it can be tricky to evaluate the direct harm of cannabis for youth because it is difficult to separate from other types of risky behaviours.’

‘She notes that the most substantive discussion of general drug use and harm is the New Zealand Law Commission review of the Misuse of Drugs Act 1975. “The report finds a relationship between drug use early in life and criminality, as well as general poor achievements as an adult. Drug use is associated with social and economic disadvantage, and cannabis use may equally cause, and reinforce, socioeconomic disadvantage.”

‘Her research recommends that if New Zealand considers a law change, “it should be accompanied by considerable social support mechanisms focussing on the reduction of health, social and criminal harms caused by disordered cannabis use.”

* to my way of thinking, all these views are from the perspective of the current prohibition approach. If they actually put all the focus onto; Education, health care & harm reduction.. outside of the ‘prohibition industry’ (Police, courts etc.) & then focussed on only prosecuting ‘black-market dealers’ who sell to youth, as opposed to adults, with freedom of choice, they may find things work out differently. The main point being, they talk about ‘decriminalisation’ (as a magic bullet, for change) but it still insists on frontline police, dealing to ‘offenders’. It does almost nothing to address the ‘supply chain’ which still remains a criminal activity. IF they are genuine about drug reform then its time to ‘look outside the current square’ for ideas on how to address it !

btw; she even mentions the ‘gateway theory’.. which has often been discredited. It is usually seen that it is not the DRUG that leads most users onto ‘Hard Drugs’ BUT the ‘black-market dealers’ offering these other drugs to their customers.. eg “sorry I can’t get weed today, but I can get; Meth or LSD or Heroin etc”

There’s another saying, about mushrooms (NZ drug policy) ‘Keep them in the dark & feed them lots of B-S’

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