Principal joins coalition against legalising cannabis

By July 3, 2020 Recent News

NZ Catholic 3 July 2020
Our additional comment: “Regulation has been a dismal failure with alcohol where binge drinking and drunk driving by under 18-year-olds remain significant problems. No one disputes that marijuana is a harmful, addictive drug that has adverse effects on the physical and mental well-being of users. These are accentuated on the developing teenage brain. Legalising cannabis is, in effect ‘legitimising it’, so we will see, inevitably an increase in its use by teenagers. My experience working in high schools for the last 35 years tells me we will see more students using it if it is legalised. This, in turn, will lead to more of the following in teenagers:- driving while drugged, depression, suicidal ideation, poor academic results, dropping out of school, and anti-social behaviour, including crime and violence.” Mr Walsh said SAM-NZ does not wish to criminalise teenagers who use cannabis. “Certainly the first options should be an educative and therapeutic approach.”

A Catholic secondary school principal is among community leaders who have signed up to a new alliance of people who will work to oppose any attempt to legalise cannabis in New Zealand. 

Patrick Walsh, principal of John Paul College in Rotorua, is among the those in Smart Approaches to Marijuana NZ (SAM-NZ), the formation of which was announced this month. 

Spokesman Aaron Ironside described the coalition as being made up of “a wide-ranging group of organisations and experts from all areas of society to come together to argue against legalising the recreational use of cannabis, based on reputable science and sound principles of public health and safety”. 

Among their members are ex-addicts, educators, ex-police, addiction counsellors, health professionals and community workers. The formation of the coalition was announced in a statement from Family First. 

The coalition is urging people to vote “No” in the referendum at the general election later this year, which will ask people if they support the “Cannabis Legalisation and Control Bill”.  

According to the Ministry of Justice, the proposed bill sets out a way for the Government to control and regulate cannabis. This regulatory model covers how people can produce, supply, or consume cannabis.
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