Family First warns against cannabis reform after damning Colorado report
NewsHub 13 September 2018
Family First Comment: Don’t do it, New Zealand!
“The report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area found that cannabis-related fatalities, hospitalisations, use, and illegal market activity have increased in the US state since the drug was legalised in 2014.”
Cannabis-related traffic deaths have increased since legalisation in Colorado, a new report claims – but an advocate for medical cannabis in New Zealand says alcohol is far worse.
The report by the Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area found that cannabis-related fatalities, hospitalisations, use, and illegal market activity have increased in the US state since the drug was legalised in 2014.
Since recreational cannabis was legalised in Colorado, cannabis-related deaths have increased 151 percent, the report claims, while cannabis-related traffic deaths involving drivers who tested positive more than doubled from 55 in 2013 to 138 in 2017.
Family First New Zealand says the information should send a “clear warning to New Zealand to resist any weakening of drug laws,” adding that “liberalising” cannabis laws and “empowering” it is the “wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people”.
But Medical Cannabis Awareness New Zealand (MCANZ) author Shane Le Brun says the report has left out crucial information about alcohol consumption in Colorado since cannabis was legalised, telling Newshub cannabis is a much safer substance.
“They’re talking about all these things being on the increase, but at the same time, knowing that alcohol is far more harmful than cannabis, they have ignored this,” he said.
“The big problem with cannabis is that it swims around in your blood for weeks,” he said. “Even when you’re not impaired, you can still test positive for it long after you’ve used it, and that’s why the amount of drivers who test positive show up higher.”
New Zealanders could be voting in a bumper referendum on cannabis by the end of next year, alongside a vote on euthanasia. The Green Party was promised a referendum on legalising the personal use of cannabis at or by the 2020 election as part of their coalition agreement with Labour.
With the new information from Colorado, Family First New Zealand National Director Bob McCoskrie says it would be a bad idea for New Zealand to legalise cannabis, saying a “new industry of lobbyists and special interests will put profits over evidence-based policy protecting public health and safety.”
He said regulation is failing in the nine US states that have legalised cannabis, and use among young people is increasing, alongside an increase in the number of car crashes involving cannabis.
“New Zealanders only need to look to Colorado as good evidence for saying no to any referendum which attempts to legalise weed,” he said.
READ MORE: https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2018/09/family-first-warns-against-cannabis-reform-after-damning-colorado-report.html