Media Release 5 September 2017
Family First NZ says that the Vote Compass survey run by TVNZ rebuts the spurious and vested interest claims made by NORML and the Drug Foundation that NZ’ers want marijuana laws liberalised. An independent 1 NEWS Colmar Brunton poll a month ago also showed New Zealanders equally divided over the issue.
“Despite furious lobbying by pro-marijuana groups and some political parties, the general public simply isn’t buying it. Liberalising marijuana laws is the wrong path if we care about public health, public safety, and about our young people. And as has been evidenced in Oregon, Alaska and Colorado, decriminalisation is simply a stepping stone to full legalisation,” says Bob McCoskrie, National Director of Family First NZ.
“It remains highly ironic that at the same time as we tear the labelling off cigarette packets, price them out of existence, and ban them from being smoked within breathing space of any living creature, supporters of marijuana are peddling the same myths that we believed for far too long about tobacco – that marijuana is harmless.”
Past chair of the NZMA Dr Stephen Child exposes the paradox that New Zealand finds itself in right now. “How can we tout ‘Smokefree 2025’ while we discuss legalising an inhaled product with more than 100 harmful substances?”
“Drug use is both a criminal and a health issue. There is a false dichotomy that criminal sanctions apparently haven’t worked so we should ditch them all together and we should focus only on education and health initiatives. We should maintain both,” says Mr McCoskrie.
Statistics obtained from the Ministry of Justice by Family First NZ under the Official Information Act show that less than 10 people have been given a prison sentence for cannabis possession offences in each of the last three years, and that even these sentences may be ‘influenced by their previous offending history’.
“While Family First welcomes a cautious approach based on extensive research and appropriate safeguards around medicinal marijuana, any hint of decriminalising or legalising marijuana is the wrong path,” says Mr McCoskrie.
“Families simply don’t want marijuana plants being grown next door in view of the children, or tinnie houses on street corners and in local shopping areas.”