NZ Herald 5 May 2019
Family First Comment: Well said by John Roughan
“By the time we come to the referendum we might be seeing what the “health approach” to methamphetamine and other drugs really means. It means implied approval, causing increased use and public liability for addiction. At that point we might decide the criminal law gives the best, cheapest and healthiest message after all.”
Campaigners for legalising marijuana used to be amiable libertarians who asked for nothing more than the right to grow or buy their drug of choice and the freedom to smoke it without risk of prosecution as drinkers of alcohol can do.
Anyone who thinks that is all they will be voting for at a referendum next year is going to be surprised when the Government announces some details of what is proposed, possibly today.
The people who have been leading the campaign to legalise marijuana in recent years are definitely not libertarians. They probably don’t even smoke pot or anything else.
They are puritans who regard all pleasurable drugs as a problem demanding tighter regulation and much more health treatment.
The reason they give for wanting to decriminalise marijuana is that they believe the criminal law has failed to stamp it out and merely discouraged users from seeking the treatment they need.
But just quietly, they are also excited by the prospect of designing a regulatory regime that may be applied to all drugs, especially alcohol. A “model drug law” it was called in a report produced by the NZ Drug Foundation for the 2017 election.
It will be interesting to see how much of that report’s proposals have been adopted in the regime the Government will put to the referendum. One News has had a tip that a minimum purchasing age of 20 will be set for legalised marijuana.
That, of course, was the age public health professors urged Parliament to set for alcohol when they attempted to reduce its availability in 2010. They have never accepted that defeat and will try again at some stage with a new Parliament.
The Drug Foundation’s “model law” for marijuana goes much further than any restrictions the public health professors proposed to the previous Government for alcohol. Licensed outlets would be more strictly limited and be “as uninteresting as possible”.
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