Stuff co.nz 16 September 2019
Family First Comment: On this basis, we should probably legalise speeding, burglary, and Meth as well.
“You still need the coercion of the law to basically give a societal stamp of disapproval.” – Family First
The president of New Zealand’s criminal lawyers’ society supports legalising cannabis for personal use and says existing law criminalises too many people.
Len Andersen, Criminal Bar Association president, said banning cannabis created demand for more harmful drugs, including synthetic cannabinoids which have been implicated in at least 70 deaths.
He said prohibition put otherwise law-abiding people who chose to smoke cannabis “in the position of constant illegality.”
The association said its membership comprised 700 practicing criminal lawyers across New Zealand.
Family First national director Bob McCoskrie, currently running an anti-legalisation campaign, said cannabis’ illegal status kept its use relatively low compared to tobacco and alcohol consumption.
He said Family First supported “a level of discretion for police” in possession cases and believed health agencies could help drug addicts.
McCoskrie said that police discretion and incremental increases in available penalties meant low-level cannabis possession was effectively decriminalised anyway.
He said Family First polling showed many of its members supported liberalising medicinal cannabis use, but that was distinct from legalisation for recreational use.
McCoskrie said even if most voters chose legalisation at the next election, he would keep campaigning for prohibition.
“You still need the coercion of the law to basically give a societal stamp of disapproval.”
READ MORE: https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/crime/115818154/legalise-weed-criminal-lawyer-group-president-says