Harete Hipango: Cannabis decriminalisation safer option to legalisation

By March 3, 2020 Recent News

NZ Herald 4 March 2020
Family First Comment: Excellent commentary by National MP Harete Hipango…
“This is the reality of the people and communities I have worked amidst throughout my almost 30 years in criminal, family, youth, child welfare and mental health law. Do I have a bias? Most definitely.
Cannabis addiction is a pre-cursor to ongoing and intensified harm, domestic and social problems, family violence, intra and inter-familial issues, mental health afflictions and inter-generational cyclical manifestations.”

The Whanganui Science Forum organised a public meeting last Tuesday as an opportunity to share views with the public – views from divergent speakers and contexts on the potentially soon to be smokin’ and hot topic of cannabis.

As the election approaches, so too does the referendum, where voters will be asked whether or not they support the proposed Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill.

There are two things worth pointing out – one, this bill (and debate) is different from the Medicinal Cannabis Bill which was passed into law last December, and two, decriminalising and legalising are two very different issues with their own implications.

I support decriminalising – in other words, users/consumers of small amounts of cannabis for personal use are exempt from criminal conviction, which has enduring consequences for many.

I am yet to be persuaded by and convinced of a robust and plausible argument in favour of the legalisation of recreational cannabis.

Cannabis is used by people from all socio-economic backgrounds, and while some consume it for “recreation”, others become dependent on and captive to it.

The “recreational” users – those who use for leisure and temporary sensory pleasure (often associated with higher socio-economic classes and/or “white privilege”), are not the same type of users as those most prone or predisposed to addiction – the need/desire to escape reality of economic and/or societal hardships and prejudice.
READ MORE: https://www.nzherald.co.nz/wanganui-chronicle/news/article.cfm?c_id=1503426&objectid=12313388